African American Pioneers: "The Learning Tree" with talk by Steve Ryfle

  • February 21, 2019
  • Chazen Museum of Art Auditorium
  • Downtown
  • 750 University Avenue
  • MADISON, WI 53706
  • Phone: (608) 263-4421

6 p.m.: Discussion with Q&A by Steve Ryfle: “Desegregating Hollywood: Film and the Civil Rights Era”

Prior to the film, Steve Ryfle will provide context by highlighting some of the archival materials showing just how difficult it was for the Hollywood studios to address racial politics through film; to hire African-American filmmakers, writers, and cast; and how certain people within the industry worked actively to reverse decades of institutional racism. Steve Ryfle’s reporting and criticism has been published in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and other publications. A visiting independent scholar, Steve is in Madison on a Friends of the Libraries research grant, utilizing the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research to work on a nonfiction book project.

7 p.m.: Film Screening of THE LEARNING TREE, a 1969 drama

THE LEARNING TREE, the directorial debut of legendary photojournalist and writer Gordon Parks, is adapted from his semi-autobiographical novel about his adolescent years in Fort Scott, Kansas. Parks became the first African American to direct a feature film for a major Hollywood studio (Warner Bros). This film depicts the coming-of-age of teenager Newt Winger (Johnson) in rural Kansas of the 1920s.

WRITER/DIRECTOR: Gordon Parks
CAST: Kyle Johnson, Alex Clarke, Estelle Evans, George Mitchell, Richard Ward, Malcolm Attenbury, Russell Thorson, Dana Elcar, Joel Fluellen

Presented in partnership with the Chazen Museum of Art and UW-Madison Cinematheque

  • Times: 6:00 PM to 8:45 PM
  • Admission: Free