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A/perture Cinema in action

Things are buzzing at a/perture cinema, Winston-Salem’s premier destination for independent and foreign art-house films. With the 2016 RiverRun International Film Festival opening next week, a/perture’s also got a special event scheduled for the night before the festival’s opening: a screening of the acclaimed documentary In Our Son’s Name on Wednesday, April 6.

Produced and directed by Gayla Jamison, the film follows Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez, whose son Greg was one of the many victims to perish in the World Trade Center bombings on Sept. 11, 2001. Although devastated by their loss, the Rodriguez’ find themselves thrust into the public eye.

Rather than express a desire for retribution, however, Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez instead spoke out publicly against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. They opposed the death penalty for 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and even befriended his mother, Aicha el-Wafi. They continue to speak out on behalf of reconciliation, as a way of better understanding ourselves and those around us. This ongoing, sometimes painful, and often-enlightening, process has also brought the Rodriguez’ a deeper respect and affection for their late son, with whom they had a sometimes-rocky relationship.

In Our Son’s Name has been screened at the Atlanta Film Festival, the Global Peace Film Festival, Peace On Earth Film Festival, and by the American Sociological Association. The film is scheduled to air nationally on PBS stations beginning this September.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to screen In Our Son’s Name at a/perture and to have the opportunity to have a conversation with the director and featured subject,” says a/perture curator Lawren Desai. “It’s an inspiring documentary and one that encourages thought and dialogue, especially as we approach the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11 (2001), and in this current global political climate.”

There will be a post-screening discussion with Phyllis Rodriguez and filmmaker Gayla Jamison, who will also introduce the film.

“I watched this powerful and healing documentary in a lecture theater filled with utterly transfixed undergraduates – literally the ‘9/11 generation’ – and you could have heard a pin drop in the room,” said Shadd Maruna, the dean of the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in New Jersey, following an earlier screening of In Our Son’s Name. “None of us could help but be moved – even transformed – by Phyllis and Orlando’s remarkable courage and dignity.”

Added Renny Cushing, executive director of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights: “(The film) offers a compelling message that further violence does not ease the pain of victims’ family members and that we must above all work to maintain our own humanity and to see the humanity of others.”

Later next week, a/perture will once again be one of the major venues for the RiverRun festival, as it has been since opening its doors in 2010. According to Desai, RiverRun introduces as many audiences to a/perture as a/perture introduces audiences to RiverRun.

“I think both sides truly benefit from new audiences when RiverRun comes around every year,” she says. “It’s 10 days to celebrate films and filmmakers, and the entire community benefits from the increased excitement level. Film is vital as an art form, and both RiverRun and a/perture have to continue to push the need to support it as such.”

Indeed, she adds, “we are offering an ‘a/ perture festival survival kit’ this year – full of all sorts of items necessary to sustain the serious and devoted festival-goer.” !

WANNA go?

In Our Son’s Name will be screened 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 6 at a/perture cinema, 311 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem, Tickets are $12.50. For advance tickets or more information, call 336.722.8148 or check out the special events link at aperturecinema.com. The official website for the film is http://www.inoursonsname.com/, and you can follow the film on Facebook: https:// www.facebook.com/InOurSonsName/.

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