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 »

The Artisan

Alone in his studio a young craftsman makes a guitar. ... More »

THE LAND WHERE THE BLUES BEGAN

A documentary shot on location in Mississippi which presents the musical and sociological roots of Blues music It Includes footage of prison work songs railroad work gangs a Baptist revival service ... More »

BLACKS BRITANNICA

Blacks Britannica presents an analysis, from a black, working class perspective, of the systematic practice of racism in Britain. It reflects the growing militancy of the black community in response ... More »

Pencil Booklings

This experimental film explores the interaction between the artist and his creation: Kathy Rose, the maker of the film confronts her animated characters in a mixture of live action and animation. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director