‘Tell our story’: Film series explores the Black experience in Utah

Apr 4, 2023, 9:00 AM | Updated: Oct 26, 2023, 1:11 pm

The Ironbound — a 4-square mile neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey — seems a world away from co...

People take part in a post-film discussion as part of the Utah Film Center's 'Black, Bold, & Brilliant' series. (Utah Film Center)

(Utah Film Center)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Ironbound — a 4-square mile neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey — seems a world away from communities on Salt Lake City’s west side or in rural southern Utah.

But those multiethnic communities, each fighting against environmental injustices, have a lot more in common if you dig a little deeper. Those connections will be the focal point of the Utah Film Center’s screening and post-film discussion of “The Sacrifice Zone,” a documentary following Ironbound residents’ fight against the cycle of poor communities of color serving as dumping grounds for a consumer society.

“It is a film in which we were able to see a lot of the challenges that happen here in this state,” said Russell Roots, the center’s director of film exhibition. “It’s a story that can be very much about a community on the west side of Salt Lake. It can also be a conversation that’s very much about what happens in the Indigenous communities in southern Utah, particularly in regards to uranium mining.”

The screening takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Salt Lake City Public Library. A virtual screening of the film will also be available between Friday and May 7. It’s part of the film center’s Black, Bold & Brilliant series, which uses film to explore the experiences of Black Utahns.

“We’re looking for media that helps us tell our story, that highlight things that the community overall might not necessarily be aware of,” Roots said. “It’s important to us to find representation that suits the authenticity and the realities of Black Americans, particularly here in Utah since we’re such a small part of the community, 2% or so. It’s important and incumbent upon us to tell our stories in an honest and truthful way, so we look for films that do that.”

Please read Sydnee Gonzalez’ complete story on KSL.com.


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‘Tell our story’: Film series explores the Black experience in Utah