Baylor professor leads race and film festival virtually

Baylor English professor and author Greg Garrett will host his annual film festival, "A Long Long Way," online this year due to COVID-19. Photo illustration by Christina Cannady | Photographer

By Matti Pennington | Reporter

Baylor English professor Greg Garrett will be leading his annual film series “A Long, Long Way” at 8 p.m. Thursday night via Zoom.

Attendees will watch films touching on the topics of race, prejudice and justice like in previous years, but this year, after watching the films on their own, people are invited to participate in the conversation online.

In years past, Garrett had taken five undergrad students with him to the event in Washington D.C.

“Students in my race and film class this semester are required to attend,” Garrett said. “Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences and Truett Seminary have also pushed out the news that the festival is online this year, so I’m hoping we have our largest Baylor engagement ever.”

Normally the event is held at the Washington National Cathedral, which limits the crowd to 1,200 people. Garrett said with it being online this year, people across the country and around the world can attend, so it has the potential to be the biggest turnout ever. This year’s film lineup includes “Casablanca,” “Crash” and “Black Panther.”

Henry Vo attended the festival in 2019, and said he watched and had discussions over Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” andBlacKkKlansman.”

“This festival is important to me because I think it is an eye-opening opportunity to expose individuals to the art of film and allows us to acknowledge and appreciate the talents of the Black community,” Vo said. “The Long Long Way Film Festival shows necessity of art and film and their ability to influence racial healing and reconciliation in our community — something that is desperately needed in our country today.”

Garrett’s 2020 book on race and film for Oxford University Press will be a focus of the discussions at this year’s festival.

“I’m honored that this year we’ll be entering into discussion using my book, also called A Long, Long Way, which has grown out of these and other public programs on film and race, and I hope that the book and these conversations would help push us forward toward a more humane, more just nation,” Garrett said.

Growing up in the South, Garrett said racism is a central personal issue to him and is a huge part of the way he has been teaching at Baylor for over 30 years.

“In recent years, my department chair and my dean, Baylor’s Provost and President Livingstone have all supported this program financially or through their presence at the event,” Garrett said. “I could not be more proud of Baylor for being on the cutting edge of these anti-racism efforts on a national stage, and I look forward to years of involvement with A Long, Long Way.”