Chisolm ’72 Unbought and Unbossed: Filmmaker Discussion

in Partnership with MFAH, Houston Public Library, and UH's Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies Department

with director Shola Lynch

Sep 24, 2020, 06:30 PM Virtual Screening Free Get Tickets

Hear from writer and director Shola Lynch, who also serves as curator of the Moving Image & Recorded Sound division of the NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in conversation with Houston Cinema Arts Artistic Director, Jessica Green. Presented as part of the MFAH’s “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” exhibition and the Suffrage Centennial Book Club.

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land.

Following Chisholm from her own announcement of her candidacy through her historic speech in Miami at the Democratic National Convention, the story is a fight for inclusion. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays, and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18. Chisholm's bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Period footage and music, interviews with supporters, opponents, observers, and Chisholm's own commentary all illuminate her groundbreaking initiative, as well as political and social currents still very much alive today.

Country, Year United States, 2004
DirectorShola Lynch
CastShirley Chisholm, Walter Cronkite, George Wallace
ProducerShola Lynch, Phil Bender, Ramon Hervey
Runtime76 MINS, SECS
GenreDocumentary
Event TypePanel
Special Guests

Shola Lynch

Shola Lynch is an award-winning and acclaimed filmmaker. She holds a Master’s in American History and Public History Management from the University of California, Riverside as well as a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University. She makes films about audacious women - and in particular black women.

She is best known for her documentaries Chisholm ‘72 - Unbought & Unbossed and Free Angela & All Political Prisoners. Chisholm ’72 follows Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s historic run for president in 1972 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS’s POV series. The film won two Independent Spirit Award nominations and a prestigious Peabody for excellence. Free Angela & All Political Prisoners received critical acclaim and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Excellence for Best Documentary Feature.

She has produced and scripted stories that have aired on BET, CNN, ESPN, HBO Sports, TV One, and PBS. In 2013, The Sundance Institute selected Shola as one of five women who show great promise to be mentored in their prestigious Women’s Filmmaker Initiative. In 2016, she was selected to the Documentary Jury of the Sundance Film Festival. Shola was also awarded a prestigious Creative Capital Award for her first scripted film - and the lead character is, of course, a black woman. Also in 2016, she was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In addition to her work in film, Shola is the Curator for the Moving Image & Recorded Sound Division archive at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Through the work of rediscovering this large collection, she hopes to inspire an army of storytellers from students and scholars to artists of all kinds.

She believes deeply in the value of preserving history and its power in storytelling.