Lisa Barrett | August 4, 2020

 It’s not unusual for people to turn to the Arts during tumultuous times.  After all, the Arts have the ability to heal communities because they allow us to be heard. 

On June 6th, the Black Lives Matter movement turned out a half-million people in 550 cities across America in protest. Several of the leaders of various Ridgefield arts organizations gathered together and asked the question – “What can we do to help families in our area foster a greater understanding of the Black Experience through the Arts?”  

When the state of Connecticut opened up with Phase 2, allowing theaters to show films, ten community organizations assembled and the Diversity Film Series at The Ridgefield Playhouse was created.  Led by The Ridgefield Playhouse, nine other organizations- ACT of CT, Ridgefield Allies, Compassionate Ridgefield, Ridgefield Library, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, The Ridgefield Chorale, Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, Ridgefield Independent Film Festival, and Keeler Tavern Museum- agreed to host a film screening every week at the Playhouse beginning September 9th. 

In addition to the film, there will be bonus content consisting of a post interview led by entertainment reporter Cheryl Washington, that will serve as a starting point for people to begin a conversation with one another, stimulate community dialogue, broaden awareness and encourage audience members to work toward mutual understanding.

The Diversity Film Series will screen a variety of films from documentaries, to historical subject matters and even pop culture, which will examine, celebrate and amplify the voice of Black Cinema.  The screenings, running every Wednesday beginning September 9th through November 10th, will be free to the community thanks to the generosity of sponsors such as Anita and Nick Donofrio, Ann and Steve Carlson, Allison and Jon Stockel, Julie and David Peck, Daniela Sikora and Keitha Kinne and the Town of Ridgefield. 

The series will consist of films that are poignant, insightful and topical, including “Malcolm X,” “Selma”, “I Am Not Your Negro,” “The Color Purple,” “Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes,” “Moonlight” and “Just Mercy,” among others (see below for the full schedule of films). “The goal is to create an expanded awareness about what is going on in the world today as seen through the eyes of Black Americans,” says Allison Stockel, Executive Director of The Ridgefield Playhouse.  “The Arts and culture represent one of the few areas in our society where people can come together to share an experience- even if they see the world in radically different ways.” 


September 9 – MALCOLM X – Directed by Fielder Cook; presented by Ridgefield Allies

September 16 – THE COLOR PURPLE: 1985 – Directed by Steven Spielberg; presented by ACT of CT

September 23 – JUST MERCY: 2019 – Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton; Presented by The Keeler Tavern

September 30 – I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO: 2016 – Directed by Raoul Peck; Presented by Ridgefield Library

October 7 – JINN: 2018- Directed by Nijla Mumin;  Presented by Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum  

October 14 – BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES: 2018 – Directed by Sophie Huber; Presented by The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra

October 21 – AKEELAH AND THE BEE: 2006 – Directed by Doug Atchison; Presented by Compassionate Ridgefield

October 28 – SELMA: 2014 – Directed by Ava DuVernay; Presented by Ridgefield Independent Film Festival

November 4 – GET OUT: 2017 – Directed by Jordan Peele; Presented by The Ridgefield Playhouse

November 10 – MOONLIGHT- Directed by Barry Jenkins; Presented by The Ridgefield Chorale