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Across his three feature films to date (Medicine for Melancholy, Moonlight, and If Beale Street Could Talk), Barry Jenkins has devised a new cinematic vocabulary for the portrayal of Black experience in the United States. With sumptuous imagery and hypnotic soundscapes, Jenkins has embraced aesthetic beauty as a strategy for addressing the past and present injustices that bear on the lives of marginalized characters. His 2021 miniseries, The Underground Railroad is adapted from Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. A haunting, atmospheric account of two runaway slaves in the Antebellum South, the series is Jenkins’ most daring directorial work yet. 

First virtual screening

Tuesday, September 21, 8-10pm 

“Chapter 1: Georgia”

“Chapter 2: South Carolina”


Second virtual screening

Tuesday, September 28, 8-10pm

“Chapter 8: Indiana Autumn”

“Chapter 9: Indiana Winter” 


Due to unforeseen changes in the artists’ schedules, we have had to cancel “Spellbinding: The Cinematic Virtuosity of Barry Jenkins.” The watch party and second virtual screening is still scheduled for Tuesday, September 28, 8-10pm.

Our virtual roundtable will feature two of Jenkins’ longtime collaborators: Joi McMillon (editor, and the first Black woman to be nominated in the Best Editing category of the Academy Awards) and Onnalee Blank (re-recording mixer/supervising sound editor). Join us for a conversation with these artists about how they work together to make such intensely affecting sounds and images, saturated with emotion and keyed to social consciousness.

This round table will be pre-recorded; students in Carolina film classes will submit questions for the Q&A.

These virtual screenings and the roundtable are co-sponsored by the Ackland Film Forum and the Department of English and Comparative Literature in celebration of the department’s 225th anniversary.