Wilmington 10 – U.S.A. 10,000, dir. Haile Gerima, USA 1979, 120 min., English
While living in Washington, D.C. Norman made the acquaintance of legendary Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima, eventually leading to his role as Cinematographer on Gerima’s feature documentary Wilmington 10 – U.S.A. 10,000
. Centered on the wrongful 1972 imprisonment of nine men and one woman from the North Carolina city – then still incarcerated on trumped up charges of arson and conspiracy – the film traces both the background of the accusations and the groundswell of national and international support calling for their release. Boldly nonlinear in its assemblage and expansive in scope, Gerima connects the prisoners’ plight with the 1898 Wilmington Massacre, an unfinished civil rights movement, and contemporary liberation movements stretching from Chile to South Africa, interweaving interviews with members of the jailed group and fellow political prisoner Assata Shakur with an intergenerational symphony of voices from Wilmington locals – giving notable space to reflections of the community’s Black women. As with several of Norman’s own projects, the result is cumulative, chorus-like, and vivid, effortlessly locating intimate details within a macro understanding and critique of racist systems and structures.
Wilmington 10 – U.S.A. 10,000
Dir. Haile Gerima, USA 1979, 120 min., English
Director of Photography: Skip Norman
4K digital restoration courtesy the Academy Film Archive.
Courtesy of Haile Gerima, Merawi Gerima and the Academy Film Archives.