Filmmaker Ephraim Asili and Poet Sonia Sanchez Present Their New Collaboration, “Inheritance”

Troy, NY — Hudson Valley filmmaker Ephraim Asili is in residence at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to develop his first feature-length film, Inheritance. On Tuesday, January 23, at 7PM, Asili will present a free live performance of scenes from the film, including a cast of actors and Philadelphia poet, activist, and scholar of the Black Arts Movement, Sonia Sanchez.

Based on real events, Inheritance centers around a house in West Philadelphia that the film’s protagonist inherits and transforms into an urban collective for activists of color. Shot predominantly inside the house, the film’s tension builds as day-to-day domestic issues compete with the collective’s political agenda. The increasingly claustrophobic drama unfolds as the group attempts to live together and find consensus through Black political discourse and social philosophy—a commitment that climaxes in explosive action.

Asili is currently in residence to develop the film’s script before shooting begins later this year. Tuesday’s event will offer the audience a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s production, an opportunity to discuss the project with Asili and EMPAC curator Victoria Brooks, and will feature a live three-act performance of scenes from the film, as well as a reading by Sanchez.

Ephraim Asili is a filmmaker, DJ, and traveler whose work focuses on the African diaspora as a cultural force. His films have screened in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival Toronto International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and San Francisco International Film Festival. As a DJ, Asili can be heard on his radio program In The Cut on WGXC, or live at his monthly dance party Botanica. Asili currently resides in Hudson, NY, and is a Professor in the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard College.

Sonia Sanchez is a poet, activist, and scholar, most often associated with the Black Arts Movement. She has authored over a dozen books of poetry, as well as short stories, critical essays, plays, and children’s books. She is a recipient of the Pew Fellowships in the Arts and the Robert Frost Medal.

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The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is where the arts, sciences, and technology interact with and influence each other by using the same facilities and technologies, and by breathing the same air. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to produce and present new work in a building designed with sophisticated architectural and technical infrastructure. Four exceptional venues and studios enable audiences, artists, and researchers to inquire, experiment, develop, and experience the ever-changing relationship between ourselves, technology, and the worlds we create around us. EMPAC is an icon of the New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for cross-disciplinary research and learning at Rensselaer, the nation’s oldest technological research university.

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