On the Downlow

On the downlow web.JPG
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Dirrected by Abigail Child, USA, 2007, 54 min
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Join us for an informal pre-film reception starting at 6:00 pm

On the Downlow presents an intimate portrait of four men negotiating their bisexual desire within the African-American community of Cleveland, Ohio. These men self-describe themselves as "dipping on both sides of the fence". The film showcases their secret lives and aspirations as it reveals the complex intersections of sexuality, race, class and family in contemporary middle America.

Filmed in surreptitious, staccato fashion, by a roving but unobtrusive camera, courtesy of cinematographer Arthur Jafa (Crooklyn, Daughters of the Dust) which penetrates the protagonists' familial spaces. Weaving these visuals together with startlingly frank on-camera narration by each protagonist, Child creates a compelling collective portrait of the physical, psychological and emotional travails of an underground lifestyle finally surfacing above ground.


International House
3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
See map: Google Maps
guest name: 
Abigail Child and Arthur Jafa in person
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abigail child headshot web.jpg
guest bio: 

Abigail Child has created a wide variety of experimental, narrative, and documentary films since 1970. Her award-winning art has been extensively exhibited in both solo and group shows, including The American Century, 1950-2000 at the Whitney Museum, the Whitney Biennial (1989, 1997), the New York Film Festival & Video Side Bar (1989, 1993).. Her work is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou. She is also a poet and author; her most recent book is This Is Called Moving: A Critical Poetics of Film. Child, who graduated with a M.F.A. from Yale University School of the Arts, has taught film/video production and history at various schools and is currently Chair of Film/Animation at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Arthur Jafa is cinematographer, filmmaker, producer, visual artist, writer, scholar, educator, a cultural critic/worker, and visual artist.

Short Film
short film title: 
A Glance Into the Life
short film specs: 
2007, Scribe Video Center & COLOURS Youth Group 40 Acres of Change, 20 min
short film description: 

The screening will also feature the short A Glance Into the Life illuminates the life and circumstance of LGBTQ youth of color, ages 16-22, through their personal stories. It also dispels myths and provides much needed community resources. COLOURS's, mission is to garner the strengths and talents of sexual minority people of color: male, female, transgender, African American, Latino, Asian American to construct an affirming and caring community.