There is power in place, there is power in a home. The films for Local Legacies are about how places shape the lives of the people who live there and how the people have the power to shape their environment.
6:00 PM Leo’s Legacy
6:48 PM Pittsburgh’s Underground Railroad
7:13 PM Woogie
7:20 PM Give Him Sky
LEO’S LEGACY tells the little known story of an multicultural entertainment venue in Cleveland, OH, Leo’s Casino, which was a testing-ground for Motown acts and a popular venue for leading African American entertainers like Redd Fox, Otis Redding, and Dizzy Gillespie in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the youth that frequented the venue.
Director - Leah C.K. Lewis
Leah C.K. Lewis heads Three Butterflies Entertainment & Press LLC. Leah is a writer, documentary filmmaker, social entrepreneur, and event producer. Currently, Leah is directing and producing two documentaries, Black Buckeyes: A Tale of Two Cities, an independent production examining the lived and historical realities of African Americans in Cleveland and Cincinnati, and Leo’s Legacy for MidTown Cleveland Inc, which highlights Cleveland’s famed Leo’s Casino nightclub of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Her articles and commentary have appeared in The Christian Century, Cleveland Scene, Blavity.com, ForHarriet.com, and a host of other outlets. A former community organizer, minister of community engagement at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, elected official, and adjunct faculty at Tri-C and Georgia State University, Dr. Lewis now fully focuses on projects that promote equity and justice for African American people in arts, culture, philanthropy, and technology.
With degrees from Ashland Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, Howard University School of Law, and Bowling Green State University, Leah brings her whole being to every task she undertakes. She has also done coursework with the Sundance Institute, the San Francisco Institute of Art, and the Tri-C Film Intensive. Justice, equity, and eliminating knowledge deficits, her own and others, are always her focus.
Pittsburgh's Underground Railroad
This film was made in 2019 to commemorate the 400th year acknowledgment of the first documented Africans who were enslaved in Jamestown Virginia in 1619.
The objectives of the film are to identify the people and places in Pittsburgh who are associated with assisting runaways, encourage courageous conversation about this period in the history of the USA, support activism for freedom, peace and justice for all people as well as to pay tribute to Harriet Tubman, famous for her courage, strength, sensitivity and intelligence in leading many to freedom via the underground railroad.
Woogie is a young man growing up in the hood. Despite his fathers efforts he goes down a wrong path and finds himself incarcerated and must endure many obstacles before turning his life around.
Give Him Sky
Pittsburgh, PA is considered one of the most livable cities in America, but as lifelong residents, the producers saw that this was not the case for the city’s predominantly black neighborhoods. In order to understand what it's really like to grow up in these communities, with the drugs, violence and a failing educational system, they ventured into Wilkinsburg and befriended two men, both named Anthony.
Anthony Johnson, 26, knows he is a criminal. A drug dealer in the poorest neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, he has been in and out of jail and doesn't have any margin for error; he knows that one mistake out there will kill him. As we first meet Anthony, he is enrolled in a masonry program - and his teachers are impressed with his hard work and talents. His girlfriend Amber worries that the lure of dealing and his friends will suck him back in.
Anthony Conley, 13, lives in one of the neighborhoods in which Anthony Johnson does business. He sees the drug dealing and violence in his neighborhood on a daily basis, but there is a hopeful spirit in young Anthony. It comes in part from his mother who leaves before dawn for her minimum wage job, which is an hour bus ride away. and her love of reading which she imparts to her kids. Not only does Anthony have to navigate the worst school in Pennsylvania in its final desperate years of operation, but he has obligations at home watching over his 7-year old sister, and older brother with autism. A local prep school may be the best shot for Anthony, but he needs to earn a scholarship to afford it and he is two grades behind academically.
The film shows firsthand the complexities and stark realities of the two Anthonys trying to navigate a world that most don't see or choose not to see. Their stories are complemented by community voices who further articulate the challenges and impediments that the two Anthonys face. As one of them summarizes for us: “What’s at stake for these kids are not just their lives, but the lives of their children and their children’s children.”