Press Release

 Film Night – the Art of Political Change – The Union of Concerned Artists

Film night will start with the screening of a short film, winner of UNESCO’s Prix de Tolerance, “At the Second Traffic Light”, by award winning independent filmmaker and educator, Lucy Gebre-Egziabher. Made in 2000, this film is being used to date in classrooms, by organizations and state agencies as a tool to facilitate dialogue on race relations, diversity and tolerance and cultural sensitivity.

Synopsis: At the second traffic light is a story that unfolds in the course of two traffic lights. An accident causes a traffic jam. Characters, who would ordinarily not have anything to do with each other, are forced to interact in order to get out of the situation. Will this experience change them?

Screening will be followed by Q & A with the filmmaker.

Followed by, a panel discussion on the role of film as an art form used to promote, aspire and instigate socio-political change in society. Panelists are:

Lucy Gebre-Egziabher is an award winning, independent filmmaker and an educator who lives in Virginia. She earned a BS in Journalism and International Relations from Wilson College and a MFA degree in Film from Howard University. Lucy delivers workshops and guest lectures on film, in the area of critical studies as well as in film directing & screenwriting, in the US and abroad. She recently joined the faculty of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Alexandria campus. She teaches Film Studies in the Communication Studies and Theater Department. Lucy has produced & directed narrative films as well as organizational videos for Teret Productions (, a production company she founded in 1999.

Lucy will moderate the film panel and discuss the role of Third Cinema – Cinema of Liberation in the struggle for independence in Africa and Latin America.

Lama Hamdan, is a professor of Arabic at Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus.  She obtained her BA is in Management Information System from George Mason University. She has two Master’s Degrees, one in Education from Marymount University and the other in Arabic Languages and Literature from the Lebanese University. She is currently working on a PhD in Public Policy with two concentrations: Terrorism Mediation and Peace and Homeland Security. Her dissertation topic is Framing Islamophobia and Civil Liberties: A Content Analysis of Congressional Discourse in the Post 9/11 Era”.

 Lama will focus on Cinemas of the Middle East and the role film played in aspiring political and social change.

Nicholas Gaffney holds a PhD in American History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a MA in African-American Studies from Ohio State University.  His research and teaching interests include the intersecting histories of African American political, cultural, and social movements.  He is a former Smithsonian Institution Fellow and has taught courses in American history and African American studies at Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, Bowie State University, and Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria, where he is an Assistant Professor.  His doctoral dissertation, Mobilizing Jazz Communities: The Dynamic Use of Jazz Music as a Political Resource in the Modern Black Liberation Struggle, presented a historical examination of the ways in which African-American social justice activists politically mobilized culture—using jazz music as a case study—to achieve the goals of the movements in which they participated.  He has presented portions of his research at numerous academic conferences.

Nick will discuss the role film has played in the African American socio-political struggle for greater incorporation into American society.

Comments are closed.