DJ Spooky is one of the biggest thinkers in the music today and one of his most ambitious projects was when he obtained the rights to the (in)famous DW Griffith film Birth of a Nation. He "remixed" the film and dubbed it "Rebirth of a Nation" and has been performing it across the country for a few years. It was just released on DVD on Election Day and now he's looking for people to host screenings of it. From an e-mail I had gotten last week (I'll quote it in its entirety in case anyone is interested):
Hello people – I have a quick favor I'd like to ask to the thousands of people on the mailing list. Many of you are artists, writers, musicians, creatives, and many of you know that over the last couple of years I've toured my live "remix" of D.W. Griffith's infamous Birth of a Nation film around the world. I'd like to invite you to participate in a unique experiment: Would you host a screening of my new film in your hometown and invite friends over to check out the new project? Details below:
Paul aka Dj Spooky
During Black History Month in February 2009, we would like to help grassroots organizations in cities across America screen Rebirth of a Nation.
In light of this year's historic election, it is difficult to acknowledge that not even 100 years ago, D.W. Griffith's propaganda film Birth of a Nation, that sympathetically portrayed the rise of the KKK in the post-Civil War South, was screened in the White House, and judged by President Wilson to be "like writing history with lightning."
On Election Day, 2008, Anchor Bay Films/Starz Media released on DVD Paul Miller's (aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid) Rebirth of a Nation, a film that began as a live remix project in which Griffith's film was dissected, deconstructed, and reformed. The DVD features an original score by Paul performed by Kronos Quartet.
The tremendous energy generated by the mobilization of grassroots organizations in America influenced the outcome of this year's elections. It is an opportune time for the same organizations to take stock of recent history and target the socio-political conflicts that still exist and are referenced in Rebirth of a Nation.
The plan is simple: you think up a plan for your community to view the film. Locate a venue with enough space to screen the film and enough time to host a discussion afterwards. (This might be a local gallery, or student center, or even your own living room.) Think about who you will invite, and how. The first respondent in every city to come back to us with a plan, will host the screening in his or her city, and will have our help in publicizing the event.
Contact us here about your ideas for a screening.
Here's an excerpt from the film: