On Screen/In Person, brings new, American, independent films and their creators to communities across the mid-Atlantic region. A total of six films and their filmmakers tour across the region each year. Carnegie Hall is proud to have been selected as a host site for the 2015-2016 series.
The second film of the Spring 2016 series is “Rebel,” the story of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, a 19th century woman of many disguises. Havana-born and New Orleans-raised she was a rebel from the start, a precocious Cuban tomboy who idolized Joan of Arc. One of the 1,000 women said to have fought in the Civil War, she altered her sex, her ethnicity, and her very identity in order to become a Confederate soldier (alias Lieutenant Harry Buford) to spy for the Confederacy. Velazquez, posing as Buford, then became a double agent for the Union, later to have her secret exposed in a memoir, “The Women in Battle,” which chronicles her often tragic life. Yet for the last 150 years, her story has been dismissed as a hoax. “Rebel” unlocks this mystery with a non-traditional approach that plays with form and style to create an impressive body of evidence. Using her memoir as the foundation, “Rebel” brings Velazquez’s story to life through dramatic period re-enactments, archival material and excerpts of her writing, and interviews with scholars and historians who provide persuasive historical, social, and political context.
The film will be shown in the Carnegie Hall Hamilton Auditorium on Thursday, Mar. 3, at 7 p.m. Cost of admission is $5. A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. where patrons will have an opportunity to meet the filmmaker, Maria Agui Carter, who will remain on site and conclude the evening’s activities with a question and answer session.
When asked about the making of the film, Agui Carter states, “As George Orwell has written, ‘Who controls the present controls the past. Who controls the past controls the future.’ The stories we tell about our past shape our national consciousness. My work is about the absences. People say that history is collective memory. I’m interested in exploring whose memory counts, in exploring what different groups choose to remember, and how politics and race affect the stories we tell about ourselves. My film ‘Rebel’ is an attempt to explore these questions in a nuanced way – Loreta Velazquez, the subject of the film, is a metaphor for the erasure of minority histories in the American national consciousness.”
Agui Carter immigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador, grew up an undocumented dreamer, and graduated from Harvard University. She is passionate about using media storytelling to inspire social change and specializes in visually arresting and complex storytelling, working in both English and Spanish language films and trans-media. She is an advocate for diversity in media, and believes in the power of media to effect social justice. She is a trustee of NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) and on the Advisory Board of the Filmmaker’s Collaborative. Over a dozen of her films have shown on PBS, on Cable, and in film festivals. Her film on censorship of Jazz and Hip Hop, “The Devil’s Music,” was hailed by the New York Times as a documentary that “addressing the complex interaction of race and class…engages viewers in a conversation as vigorous as the art it chronicles.” Her most recent works aired on national PBS are: “No Job For a Woman” (producer), about the first American women journalists accredited to report on War during WWII; and “Rebel,” awarded the 2014 Erik Barnouw Honorable Mention for best historical film in America, and the Gutsy Gals film award for best feature film/documentary of the Americas.
On Screen/In Person is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts.