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‘A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown' scene featuring MLK Day. Photo: Louis Massiah
‘A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown' scene featuring MLK Day. Photo: Louis Massiah

PhillyCAM continues the discussion with its ‘Philadelphia Stories’ retrospective, Feb. 17 panel

PhillyCAM is following up on its ‘Philadelphia Stories’ retrospective on Feb. 17 with Louis Massiah’s film ‘A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown.’

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Last month, PhillyCAM kicked off a collection of panel discussions related to its retrospective of the series, Philadelphia Stories.

The series originally aired between 2001 and 2011 on the now-defunct WYBE TV 35 channel, and spanned eight seasons.

In conversation with AL DÍA, Sarah Mueller — a producer and project manager for PhillyCAM — stated that Philadelphia Stories “[amplified] the work of really incredible independent filmmakers who [were] in Philadelphia” during its original airing.

Now, PhillyCAM is hoping to achieve something similar.

PhillyCAM’s Philadelphia Stories RETROSPECTIVE: 20th Anniversary Look Back had its first panel discussion last month before a subsequent airing of filmmaker Robert Mugge’s 1978 documentary, Amateur Night At City Hall.

Amateur Night At City Hall takes a look at the Frank Rizzo administration, analyzing the former Philadelphia Police Commissioner and eventual Philly mayor’s impact on the city at a time when he was still in office.

That PhillyCAM screening and discussion panel will be succeeded by Louis Massiah’s 2002 film A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown, which will get the same treatment.

“This film was chosen…as a time capsule of the activism that was happening on the ground when the film was produced,” said Mueller.

A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown will be available for streaming through PhillyCAM from Feb. 18-24.

PhillyCAM describes Massiah — who is the founder and director of the Scribe Video Center — as “incredibly influential” with a legacy of work in Philly that reaches far outside the city.

A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown deals with the history of activism in Philly, specifically youth activism and its relation to deep-rooted and contemporary struggles.

Discussions will take a look at the issues from the perspective of the documentary’s time, but will also consider how the issues have evolved today, creating an “inner-generation” conversation.

The panel discussion will be driven by the themes of Massiah’s film. The filmmaker’s work spans decades, reaching back to the early 2000s.

Looking back at the series, PhillyCAM Executive Director Gretjen Clausing, called Philadelphia Stories a series that “showed a fuller picture of Philadelphia through these very specific stories, whether they were personal stories or histories, examinations of a particular person or history.”

The panel discussion will be held on Thursday, Feb. 17, at noon EST, to be broadcast live on PhillyCAM TV and WPPM Radio. The documentary will air at 8:30 p.m. on PhillyCAM TV.

The panel will be held virtually, feature community organizers, and contain discourse on social justice movement-building in the past two decades, and the evolving fight against oppressive systems in and beyond Philly.

The discussion will also be broadcasted live, with a rebroadcasting at 9:30 p.m. 

Panelists will include Thoai Nguyen (SEAMAAC), Christopher Rodgers (Police Free Penn), Pep Marie (Our City Our Schools), and Grace Fan (Asian Americans United).

The discussion will be moderated by Amadee Braxton of DragonFly Consulting, formerly of the Philadelphia Brown Collective.

You can view the PhillyCAM series on Philadelphia County local channels Xfinity 66/966 HD and Verizon 29/30, on the PhillyCAM Roku and Apple TV channels, or by streaming PhillyCAM TV

Broadcasts of Philadelphia Stories episodes will be held every Thursday from 8:30-9:30 p.m. EST until March 31. 

There are still plans in PhillyCAM’s future for Philadelphia Stories, with ambition to continue presenting the series, but also interest in a possible revival.

“We would love to be able to have a reboot of Philly Stories and to be able to kinda continue on something like this in the future, but first we wanted to take an opportunity to really honor the work that was done before,” said Clausing.

A rebroadcast of the whole Philadelphia Stories series is being planned for the Summer.

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