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Directed by Jacqueline Gares
87 min | 2016 | USA | Not Rated
* Local family law, criminal defense, and LGBTQ advocacy attorney Chris Wharton schedule to be in attendance for a post-film discussion.
CeCe McDonald is a black, trans woman navigating her life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While walking to Stewart Tavern, she and her friends are attacked by several men. CeCe is forced to defend herself, and in the process, she kills one of the attackers.
Free CeCe not only tells her story but also explores the workings of the prison industrial complex. Laverne Cox (actress/advocate), Angela Davis (activist/author), Katie Burgess (former executive director of Trans Youth Support Network), Chase Strangio (attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project), Dr. Karen Franklin (forensic psychologist), Reina Gossett (activist/filmmaker), and many others discuss the “inherently deviant criminalization” of black folks, where the structures of oppression are often mimicked by gender policing, and the exercise of power keeps people like CeCe imprisoned or—even worse—kills them. CeCe is the “girl who lived” by defending herself; her choice to fight back that night not only saved her life but marked the beginning of her fight against the much larger violence of the prison system.
Jacqueline Gares’ explosive documentary challenges the economy of outreach and sheds light on what it means to defend yourself and the people in your community. It affirms that it’s okay to stand up for yourself, to refuse to let others control the course of your life.
— Kathryn Nelson
Audience Award Winner: Feature Documentary–2016 Blackstar Film Festival