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‘Agents of Change’ kicks off Ruston’s Southern Film Circuit

September 22, 2016
– Photo courtesy of Films with a Purpose

– Photo courtesy of Films with a Purpose

Kacie Kaufman
Staff Reporter | kjk019@latech.edu

The screening of the independent film “Agents of Change” at the Dixie Center for the Arts brought about a convergence of community members and students from Grambling, Louisiana Tech and University of Louisiana-Monroe.

The film detailed the movement at college campuses in the late 1960s for black studies programs. It was the first film shown as part of the Southern Film Circuit Tour at the Dixie.

Abby Ginzberg, who co-produced the film along with Frank Dawson, said the film took seven years of work.

“It was a total labor of love getting this film made,” Ginzberg said.

She said the two producers wanted to tell the story because they were both present during the protest advocating greater opportunities for black students at Cornell. The 1969 protest involved the occupation of a school building by black students. 

“Frank was a black student who was inside the building during the takeover, and I was a white student supporting on the outside,” Ginzberg said.

She said the story resonated with college students because it was about what happened on college campuses 45 years ago and if there were issues concerning ethnic or black studies or race on campus, the film still felt relevant.

“I think that there is a lot to learn from this. It’s information that people don’t have,” she said.

The film was followed by a question-and-answer session. Representatives from Grambling, Tech and ULM discussed the film and its applications to modern students.

Elisabeth Sanders, a sophomore family and child studies major, said the film and panel were informative to her and showed the actual purpose of the civil rights movement, especially on college campuses. She said this information made it relatable to college students.

“It can educate people to be better, and it can open people’s eyes to another perspective,” Sanders said.

Jessica Slaughter, executive director of North Central Louisiana Arts Council, said each person comes from their own experience and sees that as the primary experience – until they go to college and see a wide range of cultures and experiences.

“As students of the university, it’s important when you’re there to get as much variety of experience as you can,” Slaughter said. “The more you know about different people, the greater of a life experience you’re going to have.”

She said that the documentary was important to bring to the community as an art form and because of its subject matter.

“It’s an important piece of history we need to be aware of. I feel like it connected with everyone that was there,” Slaughter said.

She said “Agents of Change” will be followed by screenings of five more films. The next film, “Donald Cried,” will be shown Oct. 3 at the Dixie.

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