A Dream is What You Wake up From

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Originally released in 1978, A Dream is What you Wake up From explores the role of Black families in American society. The everyday lives of three Black families with different approaches to their struggle for survival in the United States are represented through a mix of fiction and documentary scenes, a docudrama style inspired by the work of Cuban filmmaker Sara Gómez.

Filmmakers Larry Bullard and Carolyn Y. Johnson relied on a mix of documentary and drama to record families engaged in their day to day activities at home, at work and in school. This material was juxtaposed with a sound track on which family members discuss their individual thoughts, values and aspirations. With this hybrid film style, the filmmakers were able to reveal and examine the gaps between everyday reality and the way in which it is perceived by each individual. (Carolyn Y. Johnson and Larry Bullard, USA, 1978, 60 min.)

A Dream is What you Wake up From was first screened at Lightbox in 1980. The soundtrack features pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs who died earlier this year.

"Even as this incisive docudrama confounds the border between reality and fiction, its ideas about gender imbalance and the societal prejudice that locks Black families outside of the American dream remain crystal-clear." - Matthew Eng, Tribeca News

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