Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing to Restore, Distribute ‘Ashes and Embers’

Haile Gerima’s rarely seen 1982 drama follows an African-American Vietnam veteran

Ava DuVernay‘s Array Releasing has acquired Haile Gerima’s rarely seen 1982 drama “Ashes and Embers” and scheduled the film for restoration and distribution in February through a new initiative known as Array Classics, it was announced Thursday.

“Ashes and Embers” follows an African-American Vietnam veteran wrestling with a turbulent past and a chaotic political climate to make a future for himself.

The film won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1983. It has never been released in theaters, though it will screen on Feb. 25 as part of the Array @ The Broad bi-monthly film series in Los Angeles, followed by engagements at The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, NY, with additional locations to be announced.

“We, like many across the world, regard Mr. Gerima as a master filmmaker whose body of work asserts and amplifies the magnificence of black people in all our complexity,” said Array’s executive director Tilane Jones. “We are honored to release Mr. Gerima’s rarely seen jewel ‘Ashes and Embers’ at a time when the film’s themes of cultural anguish and political unrest mirror contemporary issues that we face today.”

Born and raised in Ethiopia, Gerima emigrated to the United States in 1967, becoming an educator and independent filmmaker known as a leading member of the LA Rebellion film movement based at UCLA.

“Ashes and Embers” marks the first film that will tour across the United States under the Array Classics banner, which identifies seldom-seen cinematic gems and introduces those works to new audiences.

Array Releasing is an LA-based film collective dedicated to the amplification of images by people of color and women. Founded as AFFRM in 2010 by “Selma” director DuVernay, Array’s partner organizations include Urbanworld (NYC), Imagenation (NYC), Reelblack (Philadelphia), BronzeLens Film Festival (Atlanta) and DVA (Los Angeles).

The collective‘s film releases to date include 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival winners “Out of My Hand” and “Ayanda”; 2012 Sundance Best Director Award winner “Middle of Nowhere”; 2011 Sundance World Cinema Audience Award winner “Kinyarwanda”; 2011 Sundance Film Festival official selection “Restless City”; official Slamdance selections “Vanishing Pearls” and “Big Words”; Jamaican gem “Better Mus’ Come” and 2011 Image Award winner “I Will Follow.”