Man and woman

One of the first feature films written and directed by a woman of color, Kathleen Collins's Losing Ground is a portrait of a marriage at a crossroads, between a philosophy professor (Seret Scott) and painter (Bill Gunn, whose film Ganja & Hess screens on February 18). Released four years before She's Gotta Have It but without a theatrical run, it took an ecstatically received 2015 national release to secure the film a place in the 1980s canon. Look for paintings by Jack Whitten, whose canvases memorably filled the Wexner Center's galleries in the summer of 2015. (86 mins., DCP)

Witness is an eclectic, five-night series exploring the African American independent filmmaking scenes in New York, Los Angeles, and beyond. Witness offers a much-needed focus on the pioneers who created landmark, often radical films with meager resources: from classics by Charles Burnett, Kathleen Collins, Spike Lee, Spencer Williams, and Billy Woodberry, to more recent works by Arthur Jafa and Khalik Allah. Spanning more than 70 years, the series explores a wide range of subject matter—poverty, faith, civil rights, and cultural identity—as told through a variety of distinctive directorial perspectives. Made at a time before African American directors received Hollywood support, the films featured here are not just major works of cinema, but vital acts of honesty, defiance, and in some cases, creative revolt.

Thursday, January 21
7 pm: She’s Gotta Have It, Spike Lee, 1986
8:35 pm: Field Niggas, Khalik Allah, 2014

Thursday, January 28
7 pm: Losing Ground, Kathleen Collins, 1982
8:40 pm: Bless Their Little Hearts, Billy Woodberry, 1984

Saturday, January 30
7 pm: The Blood of Jesus, Spencer Williams, 1941
8 pm: A program of shorts: The Cry of Jazz, Edward Bland, 1959, When It Rains, Charles Burnett, 1995, I Am Somebody, Madeline Anderson, 1970

Thursday, February 4
7 pm: Visiting Filmmaker Arthur Jafa brings Dreams Are Colder than Death, Arthur Jafa, 2014

Thursday, February 18
7 pm: Ganja & Hess, Bill Gunn, 1973

$8 general public, $6 students, Wex members, and seniors. (614) 292-3535.

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