Free and open to the public, film series continues to explore social justice themes


On Wednesday, September 22, Emerson College’s Visual and Media Arts (VMA) Department kicks off its virtual Bright Lights Film Series for the Fall 2021 semester, screening 12 films highlighting social justice themes through December. Films will be available for a 24-hour window starting on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. EST, and the viewing period concludes with a live moderated conversation on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. EST. To view the complete schedule, and more information on how to access films and conversations, visit the Bright Lights website.

The first film to screen is “On These Grounds,” a work that examines the American power structure after an explosive video goes viral, in which a white school resource officer in South Carolina pulls a Black teenager from her desk and throws her across the floor. A discussion with director Garrett Zevgetis (MA ’05), cinematographer Christopher Lewis Dawkins (‘16), and activist Vivian Anderson will follow. The film is co-presented with the Roxbury International Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival Boston, and the Emerson College Alumni Association.

The series remains committed to crafting a diverse program including filmmakers of color, queer cinema, and films dealing with disability, and identifies those films with a special Bright Lights Series’ rating system. Ratings include W (made by women), F (feminist films), POC (produced by/featuring people of color), SJ (dealing with social justice themes), I (international), LGBTQ, D (by/featuring people with disabilities), and EC (made by a member of the Emerson community). New in 2020, all films and conversations have closed captioning available for the deaf and hard of hearing.

The films are viewable in a virtual Bright Family Screening Room, free, open to the public, and feature a 45-minute post-film live discussion. The discussions are moderated and managed by the director of programming, Anna Feder, and will allow audience members to participate in crucial conversations and submit their own questions. Attendance is capped at 175.

Registration takes place through the ArtsEmerson website starting at noon on Wednesdays. All conversations will take place on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. EST and will stream to Cinesend. In order to facilitate more engagement with these conversations, everyone will have the option to join via Zoom and interact with guests directly.

About the College

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic as well as its new Global Portals, with the first opening last fall in Paris. The College has an active network of 51,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit