The Black Rock

(Dir. Kevin Epps, US 2009, 60m)

By Kevin Kunze

The Black Rock tells the untold story about the black inmates of Alcatraz and their struggle to survive in a primarily white maximum-security prison. Superbly directed by local filmmaker and activist, Kevin Epps (Straight Outta Hunters Point), the film examines the lives of the few African-American prisoners who were important figures in the history of “The Rock” from the 1930s to the 1960s. Interviews with historians, archival footage, as well as photographs and re-enactments are used to present an entirely new perspective on the most feared prison of its time during a frightening period of racial prejudice and discrimination.

Teaming up with the Golden Gate National Park Service, Epps’ was able to premiere the film on Alcatraz at night to a small VIP audience of about 300 people. A ferryboat took the audience over and before the screening they receive a special guided tour through the infamous prison. Setting up the projection and audio for the event, I was able to experience what may have been the largest movie screening to ever occur on the island.

On February 27th, The Black Rock will be having its theatrical premiere at the Red Vic Movie House (1727 Haight) where speakers include director Kevin Epps, historian and author John Templeton, and other prominent figures. The film continues to run at the Red Vic until March 5th.
Tickets: (415) 668-3994

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