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Weekly Rec: Rivertown Film Streams an Experimental Black Soap Opera and Panel Discussion

Using a classic American daytime TV genre, director Bill Gunn and acclaimed writer Ishmael Reed created Personal Problems an “experimental soap opera,” that will stream on Rivertown Film’s Virtual Theater for one week from Friday, February 17 through Thursday, February 23. Nyack based composer Samuel Waymon stars in the project and will participate in a panel discussion on Tuesday, February 21 at 6:00pm, moderated by NyackNewsandViews’ Bill Batson.

Operating in defiance of the racially exclusive Hollywood studio system, Reed, Gunn and a renegade group of artists banded together to film the “meta soap opera” about the struggles of a working class African American couple in New York City in 1980.

Personal Problems appeared once on PBS. It was rediscovered in 2015. Although video restoration has been done, the result reflects the affordable 3/4″ videotape it was recorded on, and the image does not meet modern standards.

You can purchase tickets to stream Personal Problems here. You can register for the discussion here.

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