Legendary filmmaker Billy Woodberry (Bless Their Little Hearts) unveils a poetic collection of post-World War II black & white photographs portraying the dockworkers of Marseilles, many of whom were of African descent. Set in and around a 1947 strike protesting weapons shipments to the French in Indochina, the images evoke the life and work of Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembène, a former dockworker, and one of the founding figures of the New African Cinema of the 1960s.
Director’s Statement: Billy Woodberry
Five years ago, while I was searching the history of the National Maritime Union — a radical trade union of sailors founded in the 1930s — I came across a collection of photographs of the docks and dockworkers of Marseille. These photographs evoked a memory of Ousmane Sembène and of his 1956 book Le Docker Noir. While Sembène does not appear in the photographs, they represent the world he knew and experienced.
Director(s): Nick Hartanto and Sam Roden
For 20 years, photographer Nicholas Syracuse has chronicled people who travel the American back roads and train yards just outside our view, capturing stunning images of hidden places and people. His profound, mysterious images seem to always be in motion, luring him towards the freedom of the travelers, even as his loved ones call him back from the road. Gorgeous cinematography brilliantly incorporates Syracuse’s own photographs and Super 8 films.
Directors’ Statement: Nick Hartanto, Sam Roden
Nicholas Syracuse’s beautiful portraits of drifters, train hoppers, runaways and hobos are all self-portraits in a way. There is a deep sense of camaraderie between Syracuse and his subjects, both sharing the itch to remain in constant motion, approaching each day with a wide-eyed curiosity to discover what lies around the next bend. But where most of his fellow travelers have long ago shed society entirely, Syracuse struggles to maintain both a home life and traveler’s life. Photography protects this delicate balance as the work easily inspires a reason to leave and a reason to come home. The lifestyle can be extremely isolating but also carries with it a deep sense of self-discovery and personal growth. Syracuse’s life is quiet and simple, his artistic process pure; there are no deadlines, no projects, no schedules and no mass audience. His photography is a life’s work and will not be completed until he disappears over the horizon like so many of those he has captured on film.