In August of 1978, I took a summer school class in filmmaking at Temple University. The film MOVE: Confrontation in Philadelphia was the result. One of the people I met in the process of making the film was the now famed prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal. Just this year, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences began the process of restoring this documentary. We are very excited about the result.
Remembering MOVE on film and in life. Mumia, I remember you first saw the film when you were president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Journalists Association. What was your first reaction and why did you decide to quote unquote liberate the film from Temple University?
How do we remember MOVE? Well, it depends on how we met them, or first learned them. By that I mean, what form of media did you consume to learn about MOVE? If you read local papers at the time, you probably detested MOVE. For the papers did their level best to dehumanize, and in fact, to demonize them.
During the screenings at Holmesburg Prison and other prisons, What were the responses from the audience? What were their reactions? Why were you passionate about distributing the film and making sure it was viewed by Philadelphians after Temple University banned the film?
If you viewed the film MOVE: Confrontation in Philadelphia, I bet you had a more nuanced and perhaps more positive point of view. For the film allowed MOVE People to speak their own minds. And once it got banned by Temple University, I resolved to liberate it and let the people of the city see it in its entirety. And when people, regular people, saw the film, it blew them away.
For here were MOVE people, not just in brief soundbites, but in extended discussions, giving their ideas, insights, and arguments. In a word, the film humanized MOVE. The film broke through the demonization imposed by the local press in helping. Build support for the MOVE organization and their fight for freedom.
With love, not fear. This is Mumia Abu Jamal.