“Down in the Delta” Film Screening and Discussion

By Chandra Allen

On Thursday, March 5, 2015 (that’s this week!) at 5:00pm, we will host the second event in our “Phenomenal Woman: That’s Me” Series with a screening of the film “Down in the Delta” followed by a discussion facilitated by Carolyn McDonald. The “Phenomenal Woman: That’s Me” series is an annual celebration of the contributions of women in art, politics, religion, science and social justice inspired by the life and work of Maya Angelou. The celebration includes a year’s worth of programs celebrating aspects of Maya’s activism and creative legacy as well as an annual gala honoring women within our own communities who have made significant contributions.

“Down in the Delta” is a feature film directed by Maya Angelou, best-selling author, acclaimed poet, actress, civil rights activist and much more. In an interview about the film, Angelou was quoted saying she was inspired to direct the film, because she has been “formed and informed by film.” Indeed, films have great influence on social consciousness. Furthermore, film is a powerful method of storytelling. “Down in the Delta” brings together an outstanding cast of stars in an uplifting story of family, community, and transformation. In a desperate attempt to changer her life, Loretta (Alfre Woodard) -a troubled single mother from a tough Chicago neighborhood- is sent to spend a summer at her family’s ancestral home in rural Mississippi. In “The Delta,” with the support and wisdom of her hardworking uncle Earl, Loretta finally begins to see a way to provide for her young children and reverse the downward slide of her life. A powerful, critically acclaimed motion picture – share in this remarkable journey to discover the strength of a family’s roots, the importance of ancestral legacy and the power of unconditional love!

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After the film, accomplished film maker and artist, Carolyn McDonald, will facilitate a discussion about the film’s themes. McDonald has an intimate knowledge of the movie’s script and cast and will bring wonderful insight to the inspiration behind the film as well as the motivation behind the cast of characters. Carolyn McDonald continues to expand her diverse career in the film industry. Some of her recent endeavors include executive producing, co-writing and directing P.N.O.K., a short film featuring Irma P. Hall, Danny Glover and Elle Fanning, executive producing Country artist Big Kenny Alphin’s (Big & Rich) documentary “Bearing Light”, directing the Shannon Sanders music video “Run” and co-writing the comedy RETURN OF THE SWEETBIRDS from her story for 20th Century Fox. While partner with Danny Glover at Carrie Productions, she executive produced the Emmy & Image Award-nominated TNT civil rights saga, FREEDOM SONG, written and directed by Oscar® nominee Phil Alden Robinson (FIELD OF DREAMS). Fresh out of NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program, Carolyn joined the East Coast advertising/publicity division of Warner Bros. Television in New York. Adding author to her diverse creative disciplines, Carolyn wrote and published her ‘memoir in essays’, INFLUENTIA: 50 YEARS ON EARTH AS IT IS IN CAROLYN, available as an ebook on Smashwords, and in paperback on Amazon. Carolyn has been a consultant for the American Film Institute’s Digital Content Lab and a mentor for FilmIndependent’s Project: Involve.

A light dinner will be available at 5:00pm and the film screening will start at 5:30pm, with a discussion to follow. General admission tickets are $10 and student / senior adult tickets are $5. Join us for a look at a powerful film and a discussion as we continue to celebrate the life and legacy of Maya Angelou. For more information or to register, click here. You can also contact, Chandra Allen, for more information.

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Chandra Allen is a native Nashvillian. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in German from Davidson College in North Carolina and a Master’s of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. She is currently an Assistant Director of Education, Programs and Connections at Scarritt Bennett Center where she plans programs focused on women’s leadership and women’s empowerment. Chandra is passionate about creating an authentic environment where women and men gather to explore and awaken the strength of their voices, experiences and creativity to effect positive change in their communities and themselves. Contact Chandra at