Los Angeles’ recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Watts Uprising gives us a unique opportunity to better understand the recent violence underscoring the continuing practices of inequality in our country. Join us for a screening of I BUILD THE TOWER, Edward Landler and Brad Byer’s definitive feature documentary on the Watts Towers and their creator, Sabato Rodia. Made with exclusive access to Rodia’s family and the cooperation of the Watts community, the film follows Rodia’s life through the creation of his monumental mosaic-covered spires and their recognition as an architectural and sculptural masterpiece.
I BUILD THE TOWER also tells the story of Watts. Showing this story as Rodia saw it over the 30 years of his work on the towers, the film details the growth of the conditions that led to the violence of 1965 - and to Watts embracing the Watts Towers as a symbol of freedom and initiative.
Following the screening, panelists with perspectives drawn from long-term experience with Watts and the Watts Towers - for some going back to before 1965 - will address the issues raised in the film about our local history that are still influencing our society today.
Ben Caldwell – Filmmaker, founder of the Kaos Network, community multimedia training and arts center in South Los Angeles
Charles Dickson – Sculptor, community activist, Artist-in-Residence at the Watts Towers Arts Center
Luisa Del Giudice – Oral historian and ethnographer; founder, the Watts Towers Common Ground Initiative; director, Italian Oral History Institute; editor of Sabato Rodia’s Towers in Watts
Gerald Horne – Historian, professor, University of Houston, author of Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s
Edward Landler – Writer, media educator and filmmaker, I BUILD THE TOWER
Ojenke – Poet and a founding member of the Watts Writers Workshop
Judson Powell – Artist, co-founding director of Watts Towers Arts Center (1964), creator of the Hearts of Watts Project
Moderator – Rosie Lee Hooks – Actor, singer, filmmaker, current director of the Watts Towers Arts Center