Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-10-18
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



MOVIES Filmmakers discuss documentary about Ferguson uprising
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Whose Streets? is a powerful documentary about the Ferguson, Missouri, uprising, as told by activists of the movement. An unarmed teenager named Michael Brown is killed by police and left in the street for hours in St. Louis, Missouri. Residents—such as lesbian Brittany Farrell—react and protest along with people from around the country.

Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis chronicle the story. Folayan is the director and producer from South Central, LA; she has a history in theater and attended the Lee Strasberg Institute of Theatre and Film. Davis' background includes music, film and public art; he is the co-director and producer for Whose Streets?

Windy City Times: How did Whose Streets come together?

Sabaah Folayan: I was going to a school in New York when my friend was killed. I was going to apply to medical school and was deciding if this was what I wanted to do so I went to St. Louis.

I was getting a lot of feedback on social media for things I was posting. I thought it was something I should continue writing about. I wanted to add to the conversation and bring it back to my community.

Once we got the story, it organically started to form. We wanted to work with someone from the community. Damon already wanted to make a film. People connected us together.

Damon Davis: Now we are here.

WCT: When did you start on the project?

SF: December of 2014.

WCT: I read you have a permanent collection in the Smithsonian. That must be an honor.

DD: Yes. That actually happened during Ferguson. The pieces they took were around the protest and the movement.

WCT: Was this the first time you did a documentary, Damon?

DD: I did one prior to this, but it was not that good.

I won an Emmy for one that was done about me, but this was the first time of working with a co-director, with any budget, and making a full-fledged movie.

WCT: Where did the footage come from?

DD: We shot a lot of it.

We had an archival producer that was amazing, and also some community members got us footage, too.

SF: We shot most of it with over 30 archival sources used in the film. Our editor Christopher McNabb did a really great job of bringing all of that material from citizen journalists into a cohesive world to create a moment. It was a team effort.

A lot of local journalists who were on the ground there filming were able to help us, and share their footage with us as well.

WCT: What can you tell our readers about Whose Streets?

SF: They might come in with certain expectations about activists, but we really wanted to make this a work an art, something creative that got to the truth of the matter underneath the facts and journalistic reporting.

People should know that this film is meant to be a work of art. It is a tribute to Black people and Black resistance, really a representation of what St. Louis is like—what the people of St. Louis lived through at that time, and what their truth was.

It is not an activist film, and not prescriptive. It is not telling anybody what to do, what to believe, or how to act. We are just offering people opportunities to see what this was really like for the people who lived it.

DD: I would like to add that we are showing the negative space that never gets seen when you look at activists. You see them activated, but you don't see them at home, and being human beings with their family.

We really worked hard to show the duality of being a Black person in America. The fact is most of us have to be activists because of our survival.

I think we worked really hard to show these people as human beings and not just caricatures of what people who are yelling in the street act like.

WCT: You chose to focus on a lesbian named Brittany Farrell in the storyline. Where did you find her?

SF: When people see the film, they can feel the energy and power she has coming through the screen. When we got out there she was one of the first people we approached just because of all of the energy around her.

I asked her, "What would you say to women that want to become activists and part of the movement? How do they find their place?" She said, "You don't wait for anyone to give you a place. You take your place."

That really changed my life personally just hearing that. I knew from the first interview that she was the person we needed to stick with.

Her relationship with Alexis Templeton just happened. Gay marriage was legalized while we were in production. They were some of the first people to take advantage of that in St. Louis.

WCT: They will always have that moment captured on film. Do you still keep in touch with Brittany?

DD: We both do.

WCT: What do you hope to accomplish with Whose Streets?

DD: For Black people, specifically, [the goal is for them] to see the majesty and beauty in themselves. I hope they see themselves represented in a holistic way, especially for those who are very active in this movement.

When you turn on the TV you only see yourself portrayed in one way usually. I think that is something both of us really wanted to capture, to show how beautiful, strong, and resilient Black people are every day.

There is normality in just being you. Everything is being emphasized with people being superhuman or subhuman, again there is a negative space, and a gray area with being a human being. I think we captured that at least a little bit.

SF: I hope the film can be as transformative to people to see it as the experience was. I think it has that power. I don't think so far we haven't seen people of color who have lived through these experiences in these towns who are activists and part of movements go through these things, and never see it represented. I think there is a catharsis when you see your own experience. We tried to make sense of that experience, and place it in the context of something positive and hopeful.

I think people who feel that they are outsiders, who didn't know this happened, and it is new to them, have a catharsis also. They can finally understand why people are so frustrated and where this energy is coming from.

What we see after the film is ended and after the Q&As is people are ready to act. They wanted to get involved and asked what to do. I don't have the answer to that question. That answer is different for everybody, depending on skills, and access. Asking that question is a really important step in society. I hope it continues to have that impact. I want people to see the power that nonfiction storytelling can have, how it can be viable and engaging. It can be consumed on a mainstream level just like narrative stories.

Whose Streets? will be released Friday, Aug. 11, at select theaters, including AMC River East, 322 East Illinois St. Go to to sign up for the newsletter or to donate to the impact campaign.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Senators criticize Sessions for urging courts to immunize discrimination against LGBTs 2017-10-19 - Washington, DC — Today, Lambda Legal blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Senators challenged Sessions' efforts to ...

Gay News

Lyft joins fight against domestic abuse 2017-10-19 - Lyft has unveiled a new program, in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in partnership with Allstate Foundation Purple Purse to increase ...

Gay News

New Study: Attitudes toward gays, lesbians changing in developing world 2017-10-18 - Washington — Today, Center for Global Development Senior Fellow Charles Kenny and Researcher Dev Patel released a new studythat finds that just as ...

Gay News

FILM Big names show up for 'Marshall' event 2017-10-18 - The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival opened Oct. 12 with a red-carpet event before the screening of the new flick Marshall at AMC ...

Gay News

'50s return in Pride Films' 'Arrangement' 2017-10-18 - Pride Films and Plays is now presenting Perfect Arrangement, by Topher Payne, through Oct. 22, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. It's 1950, and new ...

Gay News

World news: Sydney cops, torture victim, suicide study, Prince Harry 2017-10-18 - Four cops in Sydney claim they were singled out for investigation on drug charges simply because they are gay, reported. In early ...

Gay News

Kathy Bates gets personal at Lynn Sage event 2017-10-18 - Actress Kathy Bates was the guest speaker at the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation's 32nd annual luncheon on Oct. 2 at the Hilton ...

Gay News

Film festival to honor Alfre Woodard 2017-10-18 - The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced that actress Alfre Woodard will be honored with a Career Achievement Award as ...

Gay News

Global Medical Body Condemns Forced Anal Exams, Homosexuality Tests 2017-10-18 - ( Nairobi, October 17, 2017 ) — Doctors, medical professionals, and national medical associations should heed the World Medical Association's October 2017 resolution ...

Gay News

GLAD and NCLR Call Out Trump Administration For Transgender Military Ban 2017-10-18 - Former Top Military Leaders File Powerful Statements of Support, As 15 State Attorneys General, National Advocacy Groups, and Leading Health Care Organizations Join ...


Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.