Wilmington 10—U.S.A. 10,000
February 29, 2024 @ 7:00 PM PST
While living in Washington, DC, Skip Norman made the acquaintance of legendary Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima, eventually leading to his role as cinematographer on Gerima’s feature documentary Wilmington 10—U.S.A. 10,000. Centered on the wrongful 1972 imprisonment of nine men and one woman from the North Carolina city—then still incarcerated on trumped-up charges of arson and conspiracy—the film traces both the background of the accusations and the groundswell of national and international support calling for the release of the accused. Boldly nonlinear in its assemblage and expansive in scope, the film connects the prisoners’ plight with the 1898 Wilmington Massacre, an unfinished civil rights movement, and contemporary liberation movements stretching from Chile to South Africa, interweaving interviews with members of the jailed group and fellow political prisoner Assata Shakur with an intergenerational symphony of voices from Wilmington locals—giving notable space to reflections of the community’s Black women. As with several of Norman’s own projects, the result is cumulative, choruslike, and vivid, effortlessly locating intimate details within a macro understanding and critique of racist systems and structures.
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