Waking the Sleeping Giant

Waking the Sleeping Giant

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 6:30pm
Friday, May 12, 2017 - 12:30pm
Trailer(s)
Cultural Partner(s)
Jacob Smith, Jon D. Erickson and Kathryn Goldman | 
US |
 2017 | 
93 minutes

THE MAY 12 SCREENING IS PART OF THE RATED Y SERIES. BOTH SCREENINGS WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A FILMMAKER Q+A.

NO MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED. OPEN TO YOUTH UNDER 18.

Five people — including a school bus driver from LA, an anti-poverty activist from West Virginia, the organizers of Democracy Spring, and Senator Bernie Sanders — all come together in an intersectional coalition that offers a glimmer of hope in these dark days.

The struggle for racial justice, economic equality, and women’s rights was hard enough in the US, but then the American election came to its final shocking conclusion. As the results rolled in, the full scope of the fight ahead was revealed. Van Jones describes the election night: “The Trump nightmare begins to emerge, Trumpzilla just crushing the villagers... He has stranded the entire political culture inside an entertainment culture, that the political class doesn’t understand.” Or Amy Goodman says, “He is ripping open the underbelly of hate in America.”

But in crises, there is also opportunity. As the New York Times’ Bob Herbert says about the growth of populist groups like Black Lives Matters, and low-wage workers, “I would like to see leadership emerge that could knit some of these movements together so that they form alliances.” Sometimes that leadership comes from the most unlikely direction. Witness: Sabrina Shrader, a third-generation Virginian who decides to run for political office, or Jan Williams, a school bus driver who grew up in LA. For Williams, the flashpoint was the murder of Mike Brown and ensuing Ferguson riots. A choir of activists, thinkers, and media voices including Van Jones, Amy Goodman, Robert Reich, Lawrence Lessig, and Bob Herbert offers articulate and thoughtful analysis. Or as the mighty Amy Goodman says, “Look at the past, the abolitionist movement, the suffrage movement, to the environment movement, to gay rights movement, the women’s movement, Civil Rights, Black Lives Matter, the anti-war movement. These are the movements that rock the planet... These are the movements that will save us, and these movements don’t stop on election day. In fact it’s that point that has to be their launching pad.”

Waking the Sleeping Giant is part of our special Spotlight on Troublemakers that celebrates the people who act up, resist, and fight on. The film is a powerful companion to Free Lunch Society, Dolores, Ada for Mayor and PACmen, and most importantly, the political films of Chris Marker. -DW

Rated Y Panelist

Jacob Smith

Jacob Smith is an award-winning filmmaker, a former mayor, and a former U.S. Senate staffer. He is currently the director of campaigns with a Colorado-based environmental nonprofit and a principal with Purple Frog Productions. His films include the fiction short Chasing Rabbits (with filmmaker Julia Myers, which received the Audience Choice Award for Best Live Action Short at the Children's Film Festival in Seattle) and his documentary 48 Hours in Baltimore (with filmmaker Kate Williams). Jacob is the co-director of Waking the Sleeping Giant.