If Jeff Bellamy wants to establish a recurring series of black cinema in Atlanta, he’s off to a helluva start. Bellamy is the creative force behind the inaugural Black Vintage Movie Series, which kicks off Saturday with screenings, a round-table discussion and a lecture from the man who’s written the book(s) on the subject.
It all starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Balzer Theatre at Herren’s (traditional home of Theatrical Outfit), with a screening of the 1959 version of “Imitation of Life” starring Lana Turner and Juanita Moore. Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall will then host a discussion about Bellamy’s plan to make this a continuing series.
That will be followed by Donald Bogle, author of (among other books) “Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films.” Bogle will deliver a talk titled “Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams,” also the title of his 2005 book about black Hollywood.
“Carmen Jones” (1954), Otto Preminger’s adaptation of a Broadway musical (itself a reinvention of the Bizet opera “Carmen”), will be shown at 7 p.m. Bogle, who wrote a 1999 biography of “Carmen Jones” star Dorothy Dandridge, will host a Q&A session after the screening.
“We wanted to make sure we presented the best-quality films from this classic era, a very good representation of African-Americans in the film industry,” Bellamy said. “At the same time, we wanted to screen well-done movies that really touched on the human experience — not just African-American people, but everyone.”
Single tickets are $19 in advance, $21 the day of the event; all-day tickets are $28 in advance and $34 at the door. Group discounts are available.