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Lumina Theater puts a 'Shine on Black Stories' with outdoor movie series


The Lumina Theater, as pictured here on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, is launching a September series that will showcase Black-centered movies. A large portion of proceeds from this series will go the NAACP.

The Lumina Theater is hosting “Shine on Black Stories," a month-long movie series on Thursday nights showcasing films significant to Black history.

The series is part of “Movies by Starlight,” the Lumina Theater’s outdoor movie program, which started in July. After having to close inside seating in accordance with state safety guidelines, the theater has adapted by screening movies at sunset every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at an outdoor area in Southern Village. 

Each movie in the series will be preceded by a discussion starting at 8 p.m. moderated by Halona Patrick Shaw, who selected the films, and feature speaker Theodore M. Shaw, director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights.

Halona Patrick Shaw said films shown in the outdoor setting are required to be rated PG-13 or under, so she was limited in her choices, but the limitations provided an opportunity to be more thoughtful about how she wanted to shape the series.

“For some people, this is for better or worse an entrée into the conversations about race,” she said. “Some of us have conversations about race every day all day long, and we see ourselves in some of the incidents and stories we see and hear in the news. But because film is a way to start conversation, we wanted to spread out the subject in some ways as sort of a journey through time of African Americans in the United States.”

Halona Patrick Shaw said she hopes the discussions can be a safe space for those who might be shy about possibly saying the wrong thing or having their comments be misinterpreted or misunderstood. As a resident of Southern Village, she said she is grateful to have the theater in her neighborhood as a platform and to have been trusted to curate films for the project. 

“I think the subject is something that’s obviously very prominent today, and it’s something that everybody at the theater is passionate about, from the owners to the employees,” Lumina Theater's General Manager Doug Rowe said. “We just wanted to do something to keep it in the minds of people and maybe grow community ties, educate and raise a little money for a good cause.”

That cause is the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, to which the theater plans to donate a large portion of the proceeds. Rowe said donating to the fund seemed to fall in line with what they were looking to do with the movie series, and the idea sprung out of conversation with Theodore M. Shaw and Anna Richards, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP president.

“To the extent that we can promote knowledge and facts and information, which is kind of a rare commodity in our society today, we’re always interested in doing that,” Richards said about the partnership.

Shaw said she hopes to set a framework to explain to people who have come more recently to the Black Lives Matter movement why conversations about the historical oppression of Black Americans are still needed.

“It’s been a fascinating project to work on because it really seems right now that people are hungry to have these conversations, and we can’t have them only at our own dinner table,” she said. “It has to cross out of our homes and, really, out of our comfort zones so that we can start to have these challenging but hopefully heart opening conversations.”

@DTHCityState | 

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