Little Theatre

The top grossing films over the last 10 years have had a total of 1,114 directors. 45 were women. Why aren’t there more female directors in Hollywood? The question is the subject of a new film called “Half the Picture.” The film – part of the One Take Documentary Series – celebrates the groundbreaking work or women in film, and explores the systemic discrimination in the industry.

We’re joined by local female filmmakers who discuss the film, their work, and the challenges they’ve faced (and overcome). In studio:

The One Take Film Festival will celebrate its second year at The Little Theatre next month. This year’s films cover a range of subjects, including fracking, race riots, Rochester’s history as a photo city, and more.

We preview the films selected for this year’s festival, and we talk about the art of documentary filmmaking with our guests:

The Black Cinema Series at The Little Theatre continues this month with the documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor. Oprah recently mentioned Taylor’s name during her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, saying Taylor never got justice after she was raped by six white men. Taylor’s case – and others like hers – helped spark the civil rights movement.

We discuss Taylor’s legacy, race relations in 2018, and issues surrounding sexual assault. In studio:

  • Kevin Hicks, journalist and vice president for print for the RABJ
  • Allison O'Malley, chief executive officer of RESOLVE
  • Moiet James, development administrative assistant for WXXI, co-coordinator for the Black Cinema Series, and member of the RABJ
  • Ericka Wilson, producer for WHEC-TV, co-coordinator for the Black Cinema Series, and member of the RABJ

A new documentary explores the aftermath of the 2015 mass shooting at the Boys and Girls Club in Rochester. Raekwon Manigault, Jonah Barley and Johnny Johnson Junior were killed during the shooting, which took place during a Stop the Violence basketball tournament. In Move, first-time filmmaker Tam Little speaks with the victims' families and with community members who came together to reduce the violence in their neighborhoods. The film will be screened at The Little Theatre on December 12 and December 15. It's part of the One Take Documentary Series and the Black Cinema Series. The screening on December 15 is sponsored in part by the Association of Black Journalists. 

Little joins us to share what she learned, and we'll hear from the victims' mothers about how they are carrying on their sons' legacies. Our guests:

  • Tameakia Little, filmmaker
  • Anita Barley, mother of Jonah Barley 
  • Lentory Johnson, mother of Johnny Johnson
  • Tammy Burnett, mother of Raekwon Manigault

The new film The Big Sick explores the challenges when Muslims decide to date outside of their own culture and religion. Based on the real-life relationship of writer and star Kumail Nanjiani, the film centers on a Pakistani-American and his white, non-Muslim girlfriend.

We discuss the themes of the film and the occasionally uncomfortable issues that can arise. Our guests: 

  • Ilhan Ali, intersectional feminist, activist, and stand-up comedian
  • Imad Abid, 25-year-old Muslim American
  • Sareer Fazili, president of the Islamic Center of Rochester
  • Doug Kester, teacher, actor, and traveler

The Little Theatre is getting ready to show a powerful film called I Am Not Your Negro. Here's how the filmmakers describe it:

"In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his new endeavor: the writing of his final book, Remember This House, recounting the lives and successive assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin was not able to complete the book before his death, and the unfinished manuscript was entrusted to director Raoul Peck. Built exclusively around Baldwin's words, Peck's I Am Not Your Negro delves into the complex legacy of three lives (and deaths) that permanently marked the American social and political landscape. Framing the unfinished work as a radical narration about race in America, Peck matches Baldwin's lyrical rhetoric with rich archival footage of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and connects these historical struggles for justice and equality to the present-day movements that have taken shape in response to the killings of young African-American men including Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, and Amir Brooks."

Our guests discuss the film, and this particular American moment. In studio:

  • Richard McCullough, meteorologist and president of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists
  • Dr. David Anderson, history re-enactor and community leader
  • Bri Merkel, artistic director for The Little Theatre

We discuss the realities of friendship, especially when one friend becomes more successful than the rest of the group. It's the focus of the new film, Don't Think Twice, by comedian Mike Birbiglia. The film follows an improv team in New York City called The Commune, and chronicles how the group dynamic changes after one member leaves to be featured in a late night television show.

We talk about what success and failure mean to different people, what it's like to dream...and the realization that sometimes you must give up, and we have a little fun discussing improv comedy. Our guests:

We open the hour with a conversation with Noam Chomsky, the scientist, linguist, philosopher, and social critic. Chomsky will have events later this week at the University of Rochester and The Little Theatre.*

Then we talk to University staff and students about the Chomsky visit. Our guests:

  • Ted Brown, professor of history, medical humanities, and public health and policy at the University of Rochester
  • Jeff Runner, professor and chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Rochester
  • Jesse Bernstein, class of 2018

*Please note: The event at The Little Theatre is sold out.

"The Central Park Five" Forum at Little Theatre

Feb 6, 2013

WXXI News and the Little Theatre hosted a forum after a screening of "The Central Park Five". The forum, hosted by Innovation Trail's Matthew Leonard, discussed racial profiling, race issues with police, and justice on race issues. The full forum can be seen below:

Walls are painted all the time – but not often in the manner used to redecorate one wall in the Rochester’s East End cultural district.

Artists created a mural on the back wall of the Little Theatre as part of the ongoing WALL\THERAPY project. The mural is entitled "See the Forest for the Trees."

WALL\THERAPY is designed to be a public community-level intervention using mural art as a vehicle to address a collective need for inspiration. Artists say their work is different from graffiti because they get permission from building owners first.