Tag Archives: FOR AHKEEM

Berlinale FILM CAPSULE: For Ahkeem (Levine,Van Soest, 2017): USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest presented For Ahkeem, a new documentary, at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in Forum. For Ahkeem attempts to address and capture a young, black woman’s life pathway from footage accumulated over the course of approximately two years. In doing so, Levine and Von Soest limit a wider lens.

For Ahkeem tracks a roughly seventeen year-old African-American female, Daje, from the north side of St. Louis, Missouri, an area of the city notorious for its gun violence and innocent killings from drive-by shootings. The film is predominantly direct cinema.

Daje comes across as a rather representative, angry, militant teenager of the area. Daje has been expelled from school for the final time and has to make an appearance in juvenile court. The judge has read Daje’s not-so-promising juvenile record and decides to give her a refuge of last resort – an alternative school he started. It’s an offer Daje can’t refuse despite her best efforts.

It’s here Daje transforms from adolescent girl to young woman. With help from the staff and support from family and friends, Daje blossoms into a confident, independent young woman. As her graduation nears, Daje struggles with math, yet manages to overcome her obstacle and proudly receives her diploma. She’s persevered pregnant and birthing a child with another alternative schoolmate she felt was nice to her and to whom she could talk with and confide in.

Levine and Van Soest’s focus successfully captures the trajectory of young African-Americans in the North St. Louis ghetto, in my opinion. Footage from Michael Brown’s mother shouting into a camera shows the passion this cultural segment possesses. As Michael Brown graduated high school so did Daje. The tragic life of Michael Brown need not be repeated in Daje’s son Ahkeem. Efforts from community leaders allow troubled youths a way out. But, it’s not a one stop cure all.

 

 

 

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World Premiere FOR AHKEEM: A story about a girl that never gives up

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Nomination for the Glashütte Original Documentary Award at Berlin Film Festival

FOR AHKEEM (USA, 2017) is the coming-of- age story of an extraordinary young girl who never gives up as she strives to balance school, family, and trauma within the challenging world of being a Black teenager in America. This feature documentary by Jeremy Levine and Landon Van Soest will celebrate its world premiere at the section Forum of the Berlin International Film Festival and is nominated for the overall sections Glashütte Original Documentary Award. The prize will be presented during the official Award Ceremony in the Berlinale Palast. FOR AHKEEM is one of 16 documentaries that have been nominated for the Award.

Beginning one year before the fatal police shooting of a Black teenager in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, FOR AHKEEM is the coming-of-age story of Daje Shelton, a Black 17-year-old girl in North St. Louis. She fights for her future as she is placed in an alternative high school and navigates the marginalized neighborhoods, biased criminal justice policies and economic devastation that have set up many Black youth like her to fail. After she is expelled from her public high school, a juvenile court judge sends Daje to the court-supervised Innovative Concept Academy, which offers her one last chance to earn a diploma. Over two years we watch as Daje struggles to maintain focus in school, attends the funerals of friends killed around her, falls in love with a classmate named Antonio, and navigates a loving-but-tumultuous relationship with her mother.

As Antonio is drawn into the criminal justice system and events in Ferguson just four miles from her home seize the national spotlight, Daje learns she is pregnant and must contend with the reality of raising a young Black boy.

Through Daje’s intimate coming of age story, FOR AHKEEM illuminates challenges that many Black teenagers face in America today, and witnesses the strength, resilience, and determination it takes to survive.

Stay tuned for more on this poignant film!

(Source: rische & co pr)