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Thad, Jessica and Gabriella at BAM

Anomaly was well-received in February at its West Coast Premiere in LA and its Brooklyn Premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Director Jessica Chen Drammeh, and Gabriella Callender and Thad Rutkowski, featured in the film, were on hand at BAM for a Q&A after the screening!

Later this month, we’ll premiere in Atlanta at the Women of Color Arts & Film Festival. In April, we’

ll be headed to Seattle for another festival screening. Stay tuned for details soon!

* ATLANTA PREMIERE *

WOCAF: Women of Color Arts & Film Festival

>When: Saturday, March 27 at 1pm

>Where: Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture & History

Heritage Education Center Auditorium, Fourth Floor

101 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303

>For more info, check out  http://www.iyalodeproductions.com/wocaf/wocaf-festival-2010/film-festival/anomaly-2/

The Women of Color Arts & Film Festival is the only one of its kind in the southeast of the United States to exclusively present, promote and celebrate the artistic talents of women of color filmmakers and artists. Community partner: Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.

Thad Rutkowski (one of the characters in Anomaly), has a daughter, Shay, of Chinese, Polish and Russian roots. Thad recently told me the following story. -JCD

 

Thad's daughter, Shay, at home in NYC

Thad's daughter, Shay, at home in NYC

Thad: This fall, Shay will be entering fourth grade at N.E.S.T. + M. (New Explorations in Science and Technology, Plus Math), a public school on E. Houston St. in New York City. One of her assignments [in third grade] was to write a biography of a family member, and she chose her maternal grandmother, whom I believe is descended from one of the Russian areas.

When her teacher read the bio, he said, “I thought your mother was Hungarian.”

“No,” Shay said.

“Then why were you in Hungary?”

“We were on vacation,” Shay said. (Actually, we’d gone because I had some readings in Budapest last fall.)

“So let me get this straight. One grandmother is Chinese, and the other grandmother is Russian?”

“Right.”

Candid. Thought-provoking. Compelling. Anomaly interweaves the thoughts and experiences of the participants with the director’s narration, creating a rich tapestry of mixed dynamics. Unlike prior works on mixed race issues that focus on one ethnic mix, Anomaly is truly multiracial. Our participants come from many diverse backgrounds and multiple generations. Meet the voices and spirit of Anomaly here…

Gabriella Callender

Gabriella performing her song, "It's You"

Gabriella performing her song, "It's You"

 

“Genealogically, I’m multiethnic. Culturally, I’m African American, with European influence…  Once upon a time I used to say ‘I’m black’ because that’s how I was raised and to say anything other than black meant you’re trying to pass, and if you’re trying to pass then that is just it: you do not belong in our community, how dare you! It was a big taboo.”

Gabriella Callender is a singer/songwriter who was raised in Queens, New York, by an adopted family during the 1960s and 1970s. In Anomaly, she performs her autobiographical song, “Black and White,” which tells the story of growing up in a family where “it was all about the black and white.” In the film, Gabriella speaks about her adoption and journey of self-discovery to find her birth mother. To hear Gabriella’s work, visit the Mahina Movement website at www.mahinamovement.com.

Michelle Myers

Michelle on location in Philadelphia

Michelle on location in Philadelphia

 

“Epic memory awakened, I remember you: you are the land of my birth. I will return to you.” –from Michelle’s piece, “Arirang”

Spoken word artist Michelle Myers, who grew up in rural New Jersey, reflects on the intense alienation she experienced in her childhood from peers and the white side of her family for being half Korean. Through her work in the duo Yellow Rage and the collective Asians Misbehavin’, she confronts stereotypes and myths about Asian Americans in an outspoken, controversial way. She is also the mother of three mixed race children featured in Anomaly. To sample Michelle’s pieces, such as “I’m a Woman (Not a Flava),” visit www.yellowrage.com.

Pete Shungu

Pete on trumpet

Pete on trumpet

 

“I’ve found my way, comin’ from parents of completely different heritage/So I got a problem with you if you got a problem with interracial marriages…” –from Pete’s piece, “Third Eye-dentity”

Pete is a musician/poet based in Boston. His mother is Caucasian from Kansas, and his father African from the Congo. Showing a younger generation coming of age, Pete was born in the early 1980s. Like Michelle, he grew up in New Jersey, but found a more supportive family life for acknowledging both of his heritages. Through his poems and music, like “Third Identity” and “Other,” Pete challenges the social categorization of mixed race people, while exploring both sides of his rich family identity. Pete’s website is at www.afroDZak.com.

Thaddeus Rutkowski

Thad Rutkowski

Thad Rutkowski

 

Thaddeus Rutkowski is a spoken word artist and poet who grew up in central Pennsylvania and lives in New York. His work has appeared in numerous publications and he has been a resident at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and Ragdale. He is a winner of the Poetry Slam at the Nuyorican Poets Café, and performs pieces like “White and Wong” in Anomaly. Thad identifies as biracial; his mother is Chinese, and his father was Polish American. Find out about his first book, Roughhouse, and his latest novel, Tetched, at www.thaddeusrutkowski.com.

Rona Taylor

Rona hails from the Bay Area and took one of the first people of mixed heritage courses in the U.S. at UC Berkeley in the 1980s. In Anomaly, she recalls her childhood navigating Filipino and African American/Native American heritages. Early on, she identified as a “world citizen.” She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and is raising two daughters and a son.

Additional participants include:

Sabrina Margarita Alcantara-Tan, Jazz Biancci, Ella Mei Yon Biggadike, Kiyomi Burchill, Brenda Gannam, Stephanie Nokes, Ajani Schuster,  Rebecca Schuster, and James Spooner

Key experts contextualize the issues:

Jennifer Chan
Former Adjunct Professor, “Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage” course, A/P/A Studies Program and Institute, New York University.

Jen Chau
Founder/Executive Director, Swirl, Inc., a national community organization founded in 2000 that serves the mixed race community.

Michele Elam, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English, Director of African American Studies at Stanford University; author of Race, Work and Desire in American Literature and the forthcoming Mixtries: Mixed Race in the New Millennium.

Eric Hamako
Doctoral student in the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Social Justice Education Program. Eric has been involved in mixed-race community organizing since 2000.

Ann Morning, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University, specializing in race and ethnicity, especially racial classification; the multiracial population; and demography. Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow.

Maria P.P. Root, Ph.D. (advisor)
Clinical Psychologist; Editor of The Multiracial Experience; Author of Love’s Revolution: Interracial Marriage and “The Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People.”