Fort Mill Times

Film festival to celebrate Black History Month in Rock Hill

In honor of Black History Month, the Arts Council of York County will host the 2015 Underexposed Film Festival yc MiniFest, 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at at the Community Performance Center, 249 E. Main St., Rock Hill.

The world premiere of the Friendship 9 documentary, “Counter Histories: Rock Hill, S.C.,” filmed in Old Town Rock Hill and its surrounds, will be among six short films selected to honor Black History Month. Fr3deR1cK Taylor, a filmmaker whose films include “Counter Histories: Rock Hill, S.C.” and “After the Fall: HIV Grows Up,” moderates a panel discussion featuring African-American filmmakers immediately after the screenings. This discussion will focus on black filmmakers navigating the film industry.

Fr3deR1cK Taylor is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who graduated from Temple University’s documentary film program and has a master’s degree from Georgia State University in communications. His projects span the globe from Zambia to Romania to Mumbai to the U.S., including topics such as the pediatric AIDS epidemic in Romania to a redeemed “Gangster in Watts” and his latest film, “Boxing Chicks.”

The following films will be featured:

“Black Girls Code,” a 2012 documentary produced by Janet Robinson and directed by Shanice Malakai Johnson features Kimberly Bryant, Carol Fife, Kerrie Holley and Yolanda Rankin. Black Girls Code will change the world. By introducing young girls of color into the fields of science and technology, they are bridging the digital divide. These are the innovators of tomorrow.

“The Collegians,” a 2011 narrative produced by Adam Jordan Isaacs and Bryan B.A. Lewis and directed and written by Bryan B.A. Lewis, features Alexandria Collins, Stefond Johnson, Roderick Randle and Art Wallace. The film is a swinging drama based on the story of trumpet legend Erskine Hawkins during his college days during the Depression. As a young trumpet sensation with a big ego, he learns the hard way what it means to be a member of the ’Bama State College band, The Collegians.

“Counter Histories – Rock Hill, S.C.,” a 2015 documentary produced by Ellen Barnard, Stacy Mahoney and Kristin Raimondi, associate producers, and directed by Fr3deR1ck Taylor, features Clarence Graham, W.T. “Dub” Massey, Willie McCleod, James Wells, Brother David Boone, Mayor Doug Echols and Kimberly P. Johnson. On Jan. 31, 1961, 10 students from Friendship College requested service at the McCrory’s Five-and-Dime lunch counter. They were arrested and taken to jail. All but one refused to pay the $100 bail. The nine remaining men remained in jail for a month, refusing to pay the city for bail on sentences they believed unjust. They completed their mandated hard labor at York County Prison Farm. This “Jail, No Bail” tactic, piloted by the Friendship Nine, spread rapidly to other protests in the movement, which refused to continue funding city governments that oppressed black citizens.

“Eyes on the Stars,” a 2012 animation documentary produced by Lizzie Jacobs and Mike Rauch and directed by the Rauch Brothers, features Carl McNair. McNair tells the story of his brother, Ronald, an African-American kid in the 1950s who set his sights on the stars. On Jan. 28, 1986, NASA Challenger mission STS-51-L ended in tragedy when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff. On board was physicist Ronald E. McNair, the second African-American to enter space. But first, he was a kid with big dreams growing up in Lake City, S.C.

“Letters from Home,” a 2009 narrative produced, written and directed by Karen Keyes, features Wyatt Belton, Bryce Hayes, Mark Hergott, Anthony Paderwski and Jamie Smithson. The film is a 35mm short that introduces a team of U.S. Army soldiers deployed to remote base in Afghanistan. Prior to a mission, the always-anticipated mail call occurs. It’s through this encounter we get to know team members and witness the effects the letters have on them.

“Tobacco Burn,” a 2014 narrative produced by Alvaro R. Valente; Nicole Delaney, co-producer; and Julien du Plessis, associate producer; directed by Justin Lieberman and written by Lieberman and Ajani Josef Jackson, features Stephen Tyrone Williams, Jaralyn Jay, Julien Rozzell Jr., Law Crimlis and Timothy Roselle. Based on an oral history from the W.P.A. Writers, “Tobacco Burn” is set 35 years before the Civil War, at the height of American slavery. When two of the enslaved weigh the complexities of killing their brutal overseer, each develops a different understanding toward violence – which could cost all of them their lives if they take action.

Tickets are $6 per block in advance, $8 at the door. Tickets and more information may be found at the Underexposed Film Festival yc website:

The Underexposed Film Festival yc is made possible in part by partnerships with Carolina Fresh Farms and the Cheesecake Carousel.

For information, contact the Arts Council of York County at 803-328-2787, by email at, or go to