The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Taipei American School hosts 25th year of African-American Film Festival

On Friday and Saturday, films related to African-American history were shown in numerous rooms in the third floor of D Block. The film festival is a part of Taipei American School’s celebration of African-American History Month, which is celebrated every February in the U.S., U.K., Canada and other European nations.
The main movie shown on the first day in the lecture hall was called “BlackKKlansman.” The movie following the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan.
Other featured movies included “Black Panther,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “I am Not Your Negro,” “The Help,” “Klansville U.S.A.,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Loving”  and “Fruitcake Station.”
Numerous child-friendly films were also shown, including “The Piano Lesson,” “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” “John Henry” and “Sounder.”
“I really liked it last time, so I came again,” Isaac Chen (‘20) said. Some Honors American Literature teachers gave extra credit as an incentive for students to learn more about African-American history.
During the event, history teacher Mr. Richard Arnold, and student volunteers Fiona W. (‘19), Charlotte L. (‘20), Yasmin L. (‘20), Allie C. (‘20), Jessica W. (‘20) and Ian H. (‘20) ran from the history office to the various rooms showing movies, carrying juice boxes, popcorn and various snacks to serve to the audiences.
The event has always depended on the help of students and the involvement of the TAS community. The film festival started 25 years ago when Mr. Arnold took some students to downtown Taipei to view movies that he believed were important for the students to see.
“It was much bigger in the olden days because we did African-American History Month,” Mr. Arnold said. In the past, Mr. Sean O’Neil, Food Service Director, would bring fried catfish, sweet potato pie and fried chicken for the movie“soul food,” as Mr. Arnold called it. About 15 years ago, head of the music department Mr. Stephen Abernethy held an African Drumming workshop that taught African-American songs. An AIT director once attended the festival as well.
However, fried fish are no longer served at the film festival due to health concerns. A rule restricting outsiders from attending in-school events reduced the number of attendees.
African-American History month is also an opportunity for people within the TAS community to consider the history of Asian, Latin American and other groups. “You always have to be wondering what did Asians or Hispanics or whatever kind of people in every moment of U.S. history,” Mr. Arnold said.

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