Inspiring Story of Blackfeet Treasurer Eloise Cobell’s 30-Year Fight for Justice Next Screening

Appreciating Diversity Film Series opens its 2019 documentary film series in Piedmont and Oakland with free showings of 100 Years-One Woman’s Fight for Justice.

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When Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet warrior from Montana, started asking questions about missing money from government-managed Indian Trust accounts, she never imagined that one day she would be taking on the U.S. government. But what she discovered as the Treasurer of her tribe was a trail of fraud and corruption leading all the way from Montana to Washington DC. 100 Years is the story of her 30-year fight for justice for 300,000 Native Americans whose mineral- rich lands were grossly mismanaged by the United States government. In 1996, Cobell filed the largest class action lawsuit ever initiated against the federal government. For fifteen long years, and through three Presidential administrations, Elouise Cobell’s unrelenting spirit never quit. This is the compelling true story of how she prevailed and made history.


The L.A. Times describes director Melinda Janko’s film as “a maddening but ultimately uplifting tale about a fearless woman who fought tirelessly for her people.” The Film Journal says, “…what emerges watching 100 Years is Cobell’s indomitable spirit and passion, her conviction in pursuing a case that seemed impossible to win.”


As a direct result of Cobell’s work, in 2009, President Obama announced the $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement. In 2010, Congress approved the Settlement and in June of 2011 the District Court of D.C. gave it final approval. Settlement checks began to go out to the beneficiaries in 2012. In addition to these payments, a $60 million Cobell Scholarship was established. Following the Settlement, the Obama Administration continued to buy back land from interested landowners, paying fair market price for the land. The purchased land has been returned to the Tribes to manage. With the finalization of the Cobell Settlement, now is the perfect time to tell the story of 100 YEARS: ONE WOMAN’S FIGHT FOR JUSTICE.

“If this type of egregious action had been inflicted on any other ethnic group, there would have been a tremendous public outcry.” — The late Senator John McCain (R) Arizona

“The United States government made a commitment, through solemn treaty obligations in 1887, to hold those lands in trust, to manage them wisely, and to give any income from the sale or lease of the land to its Indians owners. Our government has never fulfilled that promise.” — Former Senator Tom Daschle (D) South Dakota

“The Department’s handling of the Individual Indian Money trust has served as the gold standard for mismanagement by the federal government for more than a century.” —Federal Judge Royce Lamberth

100 Years- One Woman’s Fight for Justice will screen FREE:

IN PIEDMONT Thursday, January 24, 2019

@ Ellen Driscoll Playhouse / 325 Highland Ave / Piedmont

6:30 PM Doors Open, Reception

7 – 8:30 PM Screening

IN OAKLAND Sunday, January 27, 2019

@ The New Parkway Theater / 474 24th Street / Oakland

12:30 PM Screening

For more information, contact

Oscar-Nominated I Am Not Your Negro to Screen 11/28 and 12/1

“One of the best films you are likely to see this year.” The New York Times, (2016)

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I Am Not Your Negro envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words as read by actor Samuel L. Jackson. Alongside a flood of rich archival material, the film draws upon Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of his close friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., to bring an eloquent, personal perspective to the current racial narrative in America.

Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated documentary is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. Ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassinations of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.


The pre-eminent African-American author of his generation, Baldwin became famous both for his novels (Go Tell It On the Mountain and Another County among them) and for his essays that tackled black-white and homosexual relationships during the Civil Rights era.

Baldwin’s remarkable language reminds us of the power of both his thinking and his prose. His words seem particularly apt today:

  • “Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
  • “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her.”
  • “The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through vast forests, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”
  • “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed that is not faced.”

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO will screen FREE twice:

IN PIEDMONT Wednesday, November 28

@ Ellen Driscoll Playhouse / 325 Highland Ave / Piedmont (near Oakland Avenue)

6:30 PM Doors Open, Reception

7 – 8:30 PM Screening

IN OAKLAND Saturday, December 1

@ The New Parkway Theater / 474 24th Street / Oakland (between Broadway & Telegraph)

3 – 4:30 PM Screening 








ADFS Presents Hard Hitting and Important Documentary on Immigration: The Chinese Exclusion Act

“It is not a melodramatic or breathlessly hyperbolic thing to say that if you want to know about immigration in America and you don’t know the story of Chinese exclusion, it would be like saying you want to know about race relations in America but you’ve never heard of slavery.” – Filmmaker Ric Burns.

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The Chinese Exclusion Act explains the causes, consequences, and continuing impact of the only federal legislation in United States history to single out and name a specific race and nationality for exclusion from immigration and citizenship – a timely look at an episode in American history that resonates today.  Award-winning documentary filmmakers Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu shed light on the origin, history, and impact of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already here ever to become U.S. citizens. The first in a long line of laws targeting the Chinese for exclusion, it remained in force for more than 60 years.

Indiewire calls the film “a sobering and eye-opening look at a chapter in American history that not only reveals the way our nation did wrong by people who helped build it but also has clear parallels to today’s issues with immigration.”

Following the screening, well-known community advocate David Lei, who is featured in the film, will lead a discussion on this little-known part of American history and its relevance for 2018 and beyond. Lei’s passion for building communities, social improvements, youth education and the arts has led to his becoming a tireless Bay Area volunteer with many organizations, such as the Center for Asian American Media.

ADFS screenings are always FREE.

IN PIEDMONT: Ellen Driscoll Playhouse / 325 Highland Ave / Piedmont

Wednesday, October 17

            5:30 – 7 PM Chinese Food Truck outside

            7 – 8 PM Screening

            8 – 9 PM Discussion

IN OAKLAND: The New Parkway Theater / 474 24th St (btw Broadway & Telegraph) 

Saturday, October 20

          3-4 PM Screening

           4-5 PM Discussion

           Food is available for purchase at the theater

For more information about this screening, contact:

EMERGE Rep to Speak at 9/5 Screening of Political Animals

Join us for our Diversity Film Series kickoff screening! Come see how civil rights laws we now take for granted were made, and the importance of electing great women to office. POLITICAL ANIMALS is the California story of the fight for LGBT rights by four female legislators, starting in 1994. Variety calls it, “Engrossing…white-hot political theater.”

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Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Christine Kehoe and Jackie Goldberg

Following the Piedmont screening, Ellie Schaffer, current leader of Emerge California, will talk about what it takes for women to win elections. Schaffer is a former Special Assistant to President Obama who was selected for the inaugural class of Obama’s Leadership Academy. In her current role leading Emerge CA, Schafer will share what Emerge is doing to “inspire women to run, and hone their skills to win.” 

Political Animals celebrates the legendary civil rights victories of the first four openly gay elected California state politicians – all women — Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, and Christine Kehoe.  It documents the tough struggles they endured and the compromises they made, while celebrating their pioneering success in the fight for LGBT rights.

Fierce and determined, these unforgettable women passed laws in the 1990s that paved the way for other states, such as the first anti-bullying law to protect gay students and the first legal domestic partnership registry. These laws were passed 20 years before the momentous 2015 Supreme Court decision that gave full marriage rights to all LGBT Americans.

Political Animals inspires us by showing how these courageous women, working together, changed history. It’s a great lesson on how laws are made and how important our lawmakers are. As we enter the midterm election season, this screening could not be more timely.

Wednesday, September 5

6:30 Doors Open

7:00 Screening

8:30 – 9 PM Discussion

Ellen Driscoll Playhouse

325 Highland Avenue

Piedmont, CA 94611

(near Oakland Ave)


Saturday, September 8

 3:00 PM Screening

4:30 – 5 PM Discussion

New Parkway Theater

474 24th Street

Oakland, CA

(between Broadway & Telegraph)

See the film’s website at

Questions? Email



Celebrate Summer with a Food Truck Dinner and Free Film June 7

Kick off summer by joining the Diversity Film Series for the documentary film Soufra, an inspirational story of women in a Lebanese refugee camp who start a successful catering business. Come early with the family to enjoy dinner at a middle eastern food truck that will be available outside of the venue.

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photo by Lisa Madison

A stirring tale of women’s empowerment, Soufra shows how societal change can begin with small steps. Directed and produced by Thomas Morgan with executive producer Susan Sarandon, Soufra follows the unlikely and wildly inspirational story of intrepid social entrepreneur, Miriam Shaar — a refugee who has spent her entire life in the decrepit and dangerous Bouj El Barajneh refugee camp just south of Beirut, Lebanon. The film follows Miriam as she sets out to change her fate by launching a catering company with a diverse team of fellow refugee women. She calls the catering company ‘Soufra’, an Arabic word meaning a long table filled with many good things to eat, or dining table.

Miriam Shaar    photo by Lisa Madison

As the documentary unfolds, the women begin to share recipes from their homelands, which leads to the creation of original dishes. At one point, Miriam takes her staff to a cooking class to improve their skills in food presentation and delivery. She also hires a marketing manager. The documentary chronicles Soufra’s first contract to supply food to schools, and the establishment of a stand at the souk (market), then the burgeoning business of catering for parties, and, finally, the purchase and equipping of a food truck.

The women find that the dignity that their work lends to them and to their families allows the women to see beyond the despair of the camp, to buy necessities they have not been able to afford, or to send a child back to school. Miriam’s own toughness in the face of these multiple delays and setbacks is remarkable to see, and it soon becomes clear that its importance reaches beyond her immediate circles — she carries the hopes of thousands. This wonderful film acknowledges these issues — and the bleak context of those who despair setting out to sea in tiny boats in an attempt to reach Europe –while maintaining an intimate atmosphere that brings personal stories to the fore. It’s a documentary full of small details that open up broader perspectives, and it serves as a reminder that refugees have the same ambition and desire to improve their own lives and others’ as people lucky enough to come from stable countries


“Just don’t watch it when you’re hungry.” Jennie Kermode,

“A stirring tale of empowerment.” New York Times

“The film deftly balances the personalities and culinary creativity with the fundamental matter of day to day political struggle.” Hollywood Reporter

Only ONE screening! 

Thursday, 7, 2018, @ Ellen Driscoll Playhouse / 325 Highland Ave / Piedmont 94611

5 – 6:30 PM: Middle Eastern FOOD TRUCK will be parked outside Ellen Driscoll (see menu, below!)

6:30 – 7:30 PM, SCREENING (NB: EARLIER than usual, to coordinate with the food truck!)  Film has subtitles.

food truck menu
Popular Oakland “Shrimp Falafel” Food Truck!