Posted on IndieGoGo
This interrogation of a day in the life of Oakland, California, is focused on March 21, 2009, when a shoot-out between a young man named Lovell Mixon and members of the Oakland Police Department resulted in the death of Mixon himself and four Oakland police officers. Intimately following the day’s events, this documentary examination of the encounter’s underlying contradictions seeks to challenge the mainstream narrative of the shoot-out and shed light on the nature of racism in the contemporary United States.
The first trailer for the documentary:
“Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.”
This quote by renowned sociologist C. Wright Mills summarizes our documentary approach. To date, the dominant narrative of the shoot-out, propagated by the Oakland Police Department, state officials and the media, has been that Lovelle Mixon was a monster and a rapist and the slain officers were angels and heroes. This perspective, viewed through a liberal lens and reliant on misleading labels, pretends the shoot-out occurred in a vacuum, devoid of history and sociopolitical factors. This situation has resulted in an illusion through which the status quo has been reinforced and critical thought has been suppressed.
Our primary task has been to humanize Lovelle Mixon and demystify the encounter. To do this we’ve analyzed the confrontation in political and phenomenological terms. The film contextualizes the shoot-out by tracing the sordid history of the Oakland Police Department, the prison industrial complex and the Black experience in Oakland. At the same time, in so much as it is possible, it reconstructs the encounter through the eyes of Lovelle Mixon; where we find a haunted consciousness, shaped largely by the specters of injustice. Not only does The Ghosts of March 21 redefine the events of Oakland’s “bloodiest day,” it presents an even larger argument, one that challenges some of the most saliently held beliefs in contemporary American society.
Where We Are At
A twenty minute version of the film has been completed as part of the director’s Masters thesis. We are currently re-editing sections and expanding others so that it better embodies this complex issue. In addition, we will be adding a significant number of additional features that will be available on the website, including extra interviews, educational materials, source documents and related shorts, among others. We will also be producing a Spanish version of both the film and website. Our aim is to complete the project by December 2013.
It is our hope that the great many of you who desire a better world will find this film educational and, perhaps, inspirational. For those unfamiliar with the film’s contents, we hope you’ll find it informative and a catalyst of new thoughts and conversations. We intend to enter The Ghosts of March 21 into multiple film festivals and do seek the largest audience we can get. At the same time, we are committed to making sure it is readily available to the general public, and in particular, to individuals and groups who wish to use it for the purposes of political education and organizing.
How You Can Help
Your financial participation in this independent film is critical. Every dollar will be used for editing, post-production expenses, equipment, rights fees, honorariums and distribution. We have selected flexible funding because any money we receive is better than none, and regardless of what happens we will find a way to produce the film. On the other hand, if we reach our goal, the film will be produced faster (by our deadline) and be of a higher quality than would otherwise be the case. Any funds beyond our goal will be used for upcoming projects.
If you can’t afford to donate, but support the project, you can still help tremendously by spreading this campaign around on social media and by sharing it with people you think may be interested in contributing. All help is greatly appreciated!
Melina Corona, Researcher, Website: A lover of poetry and all things meticulous, Melina has an amazing talent for digging up information. She is also fluent in English, German and Spanish and spends her free time translating obscure feminist texts. She is currently working on a BA in German Literature at the UNAM in Mexico City.
Jacob Crawford, Cinematographer: Jacob is an Oakland based videographer and the founder of wecopwatch.org. He has more than 15 years of experience filming police with Berkeley Copwatch and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the Oakland Police Department. He currently works with the National Lawyers Guild as a video analyst/investigator.
Damon “Hooker Boy” Hooker, Cinematographer: The owner of Hooker Boy Filmz, Damon has been recording East Oakland musicians and street life for more than 20 years. His street cred and experience have granted him unparalleled access to the community and a style that is synonymous with the city itself.
Samuel Stoker, Director, Editor, Writer: A former firefighter turned journalist, Samuel now dedicates himself to the theory and practice of radical cinema. He has an MA in Social Documentation from UC Santa Cruz and a BS in Journalism/ Political Science from Northern Arizona University.