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Ada Gay Griffin & Michelle Parkerson
Producer: Third World Newsreel
52 minutes
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A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde

An epic portrait of the eloquent, award-winning Black, lesbian, poet, mother, teacher and activist, Audre Lorde, whose writings -- spanning five decades -- articulated some of the most important social and political visions of the century. From Lorde's childhood roots in NYC's Harlem to her battle with breast cancer, this moving film explores a life and a body of work that embodied the connections between the Civil Rights movement, the Women's movement, and the struggle for lesbian and gay rights. At the heart of this documentary is Lorde's own challenge to "envision what has not been and work with every fiber of who we are to make the reality and pursuit of that vision irresistible."

90 minute version also available.

"Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson's A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde, available in both 60- and 90-minute versions, has already proven a productive text in courses on feminist theory, queer studies, and black women's writing. The film uncovers the trajectory of Audre Lorde's literary, theoretical, and activist work, telling of her childhood; her years as a student at Hunter College; her involvement in the civil rights, women's rights, and gay and lesbian rights movements; her work as a teacher; and her battle with breast cancer. Strategically juxtaposing Lorde's own words and interviews with her partner, family members, friends, her students, and other poets such as Sonia Sanchez, Jewelle Gomez, and Essex Hemphill, the film imagines relationships, collaboration, and intimacy as the fuel for political and artistic labor."
- Erica R. Edwards, Films for the Feminist Classroom Journal

"An inspirational testimony and powerful portrait of a remarkable woman who continues to inspire a whole new generation of women today."
- Noelle Reilly, QFest, 2009

"... a mesmerizing documentary tribute"
- Ms. Magazine

"Lorde tells her story eloquently, too involved in the evolutionary struggle to waste time on regrets and bitterness, too involved in life to fear death."
- Time Out Film Guide

"Lorde's charismatic personality and her importance as a dynamic force and role model for younger generations make for an informative and enlightening documentary. The film interweaves interesting archival footage, evocative music and revealing conversations with her family, companions and friends. Extensive interviews with Lorde, conducted over the last years of her life, provide the core of the narrative, which is punctuated by recitations of her poetry. A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL exhibits the enchanting personality of an unusual woman, considered in some circles a counterpart to Malcolm X."
- Emanuel Levy, Variety

"Fierce, fighting passion pervades A Litany for Survival an affecting documentary...excellent both for those unfamiliar with Lorde's work, and for those who wish to hear Lorde's words read in her own rich, resonant voice."
- Seattle Times

  • Golden Gate Award for Best Biographical Documentary, San Francisco International Film Festival, 1995
  • Audience Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, 1995
  • Prix du Public, Creteil International Film Festival, 1995
  • OUTstanding Documentary Feature, Outfest: Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film & Video Festival , 1995
  • Best Feature Documentary, Philadelphia International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, 1995
  • First Place, Documentary, Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, 1996

  • Screenings
  • Sundance Film Festival, 1995
  • 45th Intl Berlin Film Festival, 1995
  • San Francisco International Film Festival, 1995
  • QFest, Philadelphia, 2009

    For educational streaming options, please email, call 212 947-9277 x 10, or fill out this form.

    Ada Gay Griffin & Michelle Parkerson
    Producer: Third World Newsreel
    52 minutes
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