A series of screenings presented in collaboration with Louverture Films that seeks to generate discussions about cinema as a strategy of complexity and plurality and as a resistance to constructed realities


Strong Island

A film directed by Yance Ford about the violent death of the filmmaker's brother 25 years ago, and the judicial system that allowed his killer to go free

Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Memory
  • Public culture
  • Social Justice

Opens to public





Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

On the web


Slought and the SP2 Social Justice and Arts Integration Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce a special screening of Strong Island (2018) on Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 6-9pm at the Barnes Foundation's Auditorium. It will be followed by a conversation with director Yance Ford and scholar and organizer Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. This event is free and open to the public, however registration is requested. Please plan to arrive early as registering does not guarantee you a seat. Seating is first come, first served.

Strong Island chronicles the arc of a family across history, geography and tragedy - from the racial segregation of the Jim Crow South to the promise of New York City; from the presumed safety of middle class suburbs, to the maelstrom of an unexpected, violent death. It is the story of the Ford family: Barbara Dunmore, William Ford and their three children and how their lives were shaped by the enduring shadow of race in America. A deeply intimate and meditative film, Strong Island asks what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice, and how one grapples with the complicity of silence, which can bind a family in an imitation of life, and a nation with a false sense of justice.

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Yance Ford is a Sundance Institute Fellow, a Creative Capital Grantee and featured in Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film. A graduate of Hamilton College and the Production Workshop at Third World Newsreel, he is a former series producer of the PBS anthology series POV.

The Root 100 recently named Ford among the most influential African Americans of 2017 and in December the International Documentary Association will present him with their Emerging Filmmaker Award. Ford became the first trans filmmaker to win an Emmy after his film was honored for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (2016), an examination of the history and politics of Black America and the development of the social movement Black Lives Matter in response to police violence in the United States. Taylor's most recent book is How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective (2017).

Reservations Requested

This event is presented in collaboration with Louverture Films and produced by Slought. It is presented in partnership with the Barnes Foundation and the School of Social Policy & Practice, Department of Fine Arts, Cinema & Media Studies Program, and Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.