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February 13, 2014

Mario and Melvin Van Peebles to Open Second Season of JustFilms at AtriumFlix on February 25 at Lincoln Center

David Rubenstein Atrium

Date: February 13, 2014

Lincoln Center Press Contact:  Kate Merlino



Ford Foundation Press Contact: Joshua Cinelli







Free screening of “Baadasssss!” followed by discussion with director Mario Van Peebles,

and musical performance by Melvin Van Peebles wid Laxative

Free and Open to the Public at the David Rubenstein Atrium


JustFilms at AtriumFlix, a popular, free series at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium, presented by Lincoln Center and JustFilms of the Ford Foundation and which offers powerful movies and rich discussions that advance social justice, returns for its second season on Tuesday, February 25, when filmmaker Mario Van Peebles will screen his 2003 feature “Baadasssss!” about the making of his father Melvin Van Peebles’s groundbreaking 1971 film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song”.


The screening will be preceded by a discussion with both Mario and Melvin Van Peebles, moderated by noted journalist and musician Greg Tate. Prior to the screening, at 7:00 pm, Melvin will perform with his band Melvin Van Peebles wid Laxative, with music ranging from jazz to blues to R & B and funk. The discussion will begin at 7:30 pm, followed by the screening at 8:00 pm. Admission is free to the public, and seating is on a first come, first served, basis.


JustFilms, the co-presenter of the series, is an initiative of the Ford Foundation that supports emerging and established filmmakers whose work addresses the most urgent social issues of the time. “As JustFilms continues to evolve, our work with AtriumFlix and Lincoln Center aims to highlight exceptional films and the creative minds behind them, offering a unique experience that combines the power of film, music, and engaging discussion,” said Cara Mertes, director of JustFilms. “We’re committed to supporting social justice storytelling that has the power to inspire and build community among viewers.”


Mario Van Peebles, 57, is a director and actor whose work includes directing the films “New Jack City” and “Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power,” and episodes of the TV series “Damages” and “Nashville”. As an actor he has appeared widely in films and on television, including episodes of “L.A. Law”, “All My Children”, “Rude Awakening”, and “Law & Order”. In 2003 Mario wrote, directed, produced, and starred in a “bio-pic” about his father making “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” entitled “Baddasssss!.” It was a hit on the festival circuit and garnered Best Picture and Best Screenplay nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards.


Melvin Van Peebles, 81, is recognized as “the godfather of modern black cinema” and has enjoyed a wide-ranging career as a writer, director, composer, and Broadway musical producer.  He is an Emmy-winner, a three-time Grammy nominee and an eleven-time Tony nominee. After 43 years, his seminal film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss’ Song” remains on the list of Variety’s all-time top-grossing films. That film, which Melvin wrote, directed, produced, scored, and starred in, was the first self-affirming film in African-American cinema.  It combined street sensibility, avant-garde imagery, and black political militancy and was considered revolutionary for both its political and sexual content.  


In recent years Melvin has been working in music with members of the group Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, several members of which are now part of Melvin Van Peebles Wid Laxative. While Melvin’s music career includes writing two Broadway musicals – “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death” and “Don’t Play Us Cheap,” both Tony-nominated – his new group plays jazz and R&B-inflected songs, many laced with Melvin’s wit and infectious sense of humor.


Future JustFilms at AtriumFlix discussions and screenings:


Tuesday, April 1, 2014 

After a performance by Sibongile Khumalo*, filmmakers Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza will discuss their work with a moderator (TBA), followed by a screening of “Dear Mandela.”


“Dear Mandela” is not a film about Nelson Mandela but rather one about his spirit and how it affects the new generation of South Africans.  The film follows the lives of three residents who live in Durban's vast shantytowns who refuse to be moved by the government. “Dear Mandela” follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela's example and become leaders in a growing social movement. By turns inspiring, devastating and funny, the film offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and it is a fascinating portrait of South Africa’s coming of age.


*Sibongile Khumalo will also perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 3 – 6. Her appearance at JustFilms at AtriumFlix is a collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center.


-Dates and selected films for May and June will be announced on


About Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community relations, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers 15 series, festivals, and programs including American Songbook, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and the White Light Festival, as well as the Emmy Award-winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations. In addition, LCPA led a $1.2 billion campus renovation, completed in October 2012. 


About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


About JustFilms

JustFilms' goal is to lift voices from outside the mainstream, build audiences for social justice stories, enlarge conversation on critical issues, and encourage new modes of social justice storytelling.  As a part of the initiative, JustFilms has supported over 70 films since the launch in 2011, including the critically acclaimed films How to Survive a Plague, The House I Live In, and the Half the Sky series, with the intent of inspiring the imagination and new understanding while encouraging civic dialogue and engagement. Partners in collaboration have included: Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute and Independent Television Service.



Major funding for JustFilms at AtriumFlix provided by the Ford Foundation.


Generous endowment support provided by Alice and David Rubenstein, Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Oak Foundation.


Target® is proud to sponsor Target Free Thursdays at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center


The Wall Street Journal is Media Partner of the David Rubenstein Atrium


MetLife is the National Sponsor of Lincoln Center


Movado is the Official Sponsor of Lincoln Center


United Airlines is the Official Airline of Lincoln Center


WABC-TV is the Official Broadcast Partner of Lincoln Center


William Hill Estate Winery is the Official Wine of Lincoln Center





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