Afrofuturist Sci-Fi is next theme of Epsilon Spires’ Backlot Cinema

BRATTLEBORO — Epsilon Spires will present Afrofuturist Sci-Fi, the second installment of Backlot Cinema, July 10, from 8 to 11 p.m. at 190 Main St. The outdoor event will feature films from Ethiopia, Ghana, and the African Diaspora: Crumbs (2015), directed by Miguel Llansó; Afronauts (2014), directed by Nuotama Bodomo; and Robots of Brixton (2011), directed by Kibwe Tavares.

Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine will be available from A Taste of Abyssinia restaurant of Burlington.

Bolanle Austen Peters describes Afrofuturism as something that “reimagines the past and envisions what can be. ... The term, coined in 1993, seeks to reclaim black identity through art, culture, and political resistance. It is an intersectional lens through which to view possible futures or alternate realities.”

The night's feature film is Crumbs, a post-apocalyptic tale set in a future Ethiopia many years past the 'big war' that left a scattered population scavenging through the wreckage of civilization.

Afronauts is a 14-minute dreamlike work of speculative fiction based on true events of the Zambian Space Program, which in 1964 aimed to land 16-year-old Matha Mwamba, an astronaut-in-training, on the moon.

The animation Robots of Brixton follows a member of London's new robot workforce, designed to carry out tasks deemed unsuitable for humans, through the trials of surviving inner city existence with the rest of the impoverished mechanical population.

When the police invade their space, violence erupts in an echo of the Brixton Uprising of 1981 during which predominantly black youth rioted against police brutality. Directed by Kibwe Tavares of London, this film is 5 minutes long.

Doors open at 8 p.m. and films start at 8:45 p.m. The backlot will be empty and have a series of circles painted on the ground. Each circle will have at least 7 feet around it on all sides so as to be a socially-distanced space.

Guests are encouraged to come as if to a picnic, bringing their own folding chairs, blankets, or cushions to sit on in their circle. A bar and food vendors will be onsite, and restrooms will be available.

Space is limited and advanced booking is encouraged. Entry includes a raffle ticket for a gift certificate to a local business. Ticket prices for a space that fits your group size are as follows: up to 2 people: $20; up to 4 people: $40; up to 6 people: $60. In the case of rain, the event will be moved to the Sanctuary, which will be socially-distanced and safely sanitized.

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