Skip to main content

WILMINGTON 10 - USA 10,000

USA, 1978 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Haile Gerima

During racial disorders in Wilmington, South Carolina, in 1971, a group of black militants, led by Ben Chavis, according to witnesses, had organised armed forays, sniping and firebombings from a church. Two people died in the riot.

A bi-racial jury found the defendants guilty, and the court sentenced 9 blacks to terms from 23-34 years, a white woman to 19 years. Ben Chavis received a sentence of 25-29 years for firebombing of property, and 4-5 years for conspiracy to assault emergency personnel.

Subsequently, an appeal for a new trial was dismissed; during the hearing, several witnesses withdrew their testimonies against the accused, claiming that these were given under pressure from the prosecutor.

The case created wide national and international interest: members of Congress tried to intercede, and Amnesty International also probed the case.

Wilmington 10 - U.S.A. 10,000 is a documentary, made by Ethiopian-born director, Haile Gerima, with a black crew. The film deals with the Black experience in America, with special emphasis on the impact of racism as manifested through the criminal justice and the penal system. The film 'attempts to give voice to the people surrounding the case of the Wilmington 10 — the families, students, community members', and 'addresses the historical struggle of the Black people for freedom against historical, political, social and racial oppression in the US and the world'.

See also...

BUSH MAMA

Haile Genma shot Bush Mama in America before returning to his native Ethiopia to make Harvest 3000 Years (Melbourne Festival 1977). In both films he explores a complex social reality and the radical ... More »

HARVEST: 3000 YEARS

Haile Genma, an Ethiopian-born director, returned to his country to make this film in 1974, just before the fall of Haile Selassie Harvest is a dramatised documentary account of the struggle for ... More »

SONG OF THE CANARY

A probing documentary about the growing epidemic of occupational disease, told through the experiences of the workers themselves. The filmmakers play a unique role in uncovering a national scandal ... More »

BLUE COLLAR

Paul Schrader began as a film critic and went on to write the scripts for Taxi Driver, The Yakuza, and Obsession. This is his directorial debut. ... Zeke, Jerry and Smokey are close friends who work ... More »

Animato

An experimental film combining animation with pixillated live action. ... More »

PIRANHA (1978)

“What about the goddamn piranhas?” ... “They are eating the guests, sir.” ... A secret government plan involving flesh-eating fish causes havoc when, from a secluded secret pool, the leathal ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director