DAVENPORT, IOWA (February 5, 2024) Azubuike Arts is honored to announce a landmark event celebrating Black History Month in collaboration with The Last Picture House (325 East 2nd Street, Davenport, Iowa, 52801). This exclusive evening, featuring Ava DuVernay's groundbreaking new film, Origin, will commence on February 10 with a reception at 5PM, followed by a VIP screening at 6PM. The film, inspired by Isabel Wilkerson's critically-acclaimed book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, explores profound themes of race and caste in America, offering a compelling, enlightening, and necessary narrative.

The evening will unfold at The Last Picture House, a venue synonymous with cultural significance and artistic expression. Guests will engage in a meaningful dialogue during the audience Talkback discussion, hosted jointly by Azubuike Arts and The Last Picture House, immediately following the screening. This interactive session promises to foster insightful conversations and deepen understanding of the film's themes.

Starting at 5PM, the reception is integral to the evening, setting the stage for the night's proceedings. Open to the public, it offers an inviting atmosphere where attendees can mingle, enjoy refreshments, and anticipate the night's main event. A cash bar will be available for those wishing to indulge in beverages.

"There will be an audience talkback directly after the film, featuring panelists Randy A Moore, Joy Shannon, and Avery Pearl, to provide insights and context."

About the Panelist:

Randy A Moore — President of Iowa-American Water Company Inc. Randy A Moore serves as the President of Iowa-American Water Company Inc, based in Davenport. He is recognized for blending his utility-sector expertise with extensive involvement in the Quad Cities area. His endeavors parallel his commitment to the industry to effect positive change locally through active engagement and contributions to community affairs.

Joy Shannon — Writer/Director and Independent Filmmaker Joy Shannon, a native of Rock Island and now based in Los Angeles, is an accomplished artist and filmmaker with a BFA from Howard University and an MA in Film from The American University in Washington DC. Her career highlights include serving as a CPB juror, receiving grants from AFI and WETA, and pioneering as the first African American woman to direct a feature film released on home video and in Blockbuster with Rags to Reality (also known as Uptown Angel).

Avery Pearl: Author and Community Advocate Avery Pearl is a 27-year-old Quad Cities native, a business owner, a published author, and an award-winning musician. He received a Bachelor's Degree from Augustana College in political science and Africana studies, received an RBSI Masters certificate from Duke University, has presented research at the American Political Science Association's annual convention, and is a certified restorative-justice circle-keeper. Assistant Director at one of Iowa's only Black-owned, -led, and -focused community centers, Avery is passionate about addressing the disparities in the Quad Cities. Through his urban development work in the Quad Cities, he's been associated with projects in the "West End" Rock Island and the "Watertown" East Moline communities. Avery is helping address the long-lasting effects of systemic neglect. In his free time, Avery enjoys spending time with Family, gardening, creating art, reading, and researching.

In a gesture of appreciation and acknowledgment, VIP guests of Azubuike Arts will receive complimentary admission to the screening, underscoring the organization's commitment to accessible art and dialogue. The VIP guest list is by invitation only.

Origin is a must-see film that delves into the complex layers of race and caste in America, based on the seminal work by Isabel Wilkerson. It is a powerful narrative that resonates with the ongoing conversations about equality, identity, and history. Azubuike Arts and The Last Picture House proudly present this film as a centerpiece of their Black History Month celebrations, inviting the community to engage, reflect, and be moved by the art of cinema.

To learn more about this not-to-be-missed event, please e-mail us at azubuikeartscouncil@gmail.com

Join us in honoring Black History Month through the lens of Ava DuVernay's Origin, and be part of a night that promises to be as educational as it is inspirational.

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