The Black Rock: New Film Explores Racism on Alcatraz [VIDEO]

By Jamilah King Feb 12, 2010

The San Francisco Chronicle has a great piece up today on San Francisco filmmaker Kevin Epps’s new documenrary The Black Rock, which chronicles the experiences of Black prisoners at Alcatraz in the ’40s and ’50s:

The documentary filmmaker walks San Francisco’s South of Market streets like a politician, shaking hands, giving daps and pounds, saying "what’s up" to nearly everyone on the street. Though he grew up in Hunters Point housing projects, Epps now calls this industrial and nightclub district home. He’s like a tour guide. "Young homey right there, he just got out of jail. He takes care of his mama," he says, pointing to a young man crossing the street. "I have real conversations with cats that are really living life and trying to figure out how to wiggle through and live for the next day," says Epps, dressed casually in sunglasses, a white button shirt, blue jeans and tattered white sneakers. "No film I make can ever really capture what people are going through in their everyday life. That’s where I draw all my inspiration from."

Read more. You may remember Epps from his previous work, most notably 2002’s Straight Outta Hunter’s Point, a documentary that explored the impact of violence in Black communities in San Francisco. He also has strong views on Black History Month, as expressed with our very own Tammy Johnson on a recent radio segment. If you’re in San Francisco the film’s being screened tonight, February 12 at Artists’ Television Access at 8pm.