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"Personal Problems" Introduction by writer Ishmael Reed

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"Personal Problems" Introduction by writer Ishmael Reed

  • Jacob Burns Film Center 364 Manville Road Pleasantville, NY, 10570 United States (map)

This film was first brought back to the public's eye in February 2015, during the critically acclaimed series, "Tell It Like It Is", co-programmed by Michelle Materre and Jake Perlin. This program was presented by Creatively Speaking in collaboration with Lincoln Center Film Center. A rare appearance by writer and cultural critic, Ishmael Reed.

Personal Problems retains a vitality and an integrity that practically bounds off the screen.” (New York Times)

This entirely African American–conceived and –produced drama comes from the pioneering writer Ishmael Reed and filmmaker Bill Gunn, who wrote and directed the underground classic Ganja & Hess. Originally intended to air on public television in 1980, it went unseen for many years; the original tapes have been carefully restored and this experimental, challenging film about married life in New York City at the time is now available in its full-length version for the first time in decades.


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Ishmael Reed is the winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (genius award), the renowned L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award. He has been nominated for a Pulitzer and finalist for two National Book Awards and is Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley; and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, which promotes multicultural American writing. The American Book Awards, sponsored by the foundation has been called The American League to the National Book Awards’ National League. He also founded PEN Oakland which issues the Josephine Miles Literary Awards. PEN Oakland has been called “The Blue Collar PEN” by The New York Times.
Ishmael Reed is the author of thirty titles including the acclaimed novel Mumbo Jumbo, as well as essays, plays and poetry. Titles include: The Freelance PallbearersThe Terrible ThreesThe Last Days Of Louisiana RedYellow Back Radio Broke DownReckless EyeballingFlight To CanadaJapanese By Spring, and Juice!.