Gabriel's Daughter Screening with the Producers on Juneteenth

On Juneteenth this year we hosted a screening and Q&A with the co-producers of "Gabriel's Daughter, The Life and Legacy of Clara Brown" which had its television premiere FOX SOUL in February.  The documentary explores the life and legacy of freed slave Clara Brown as depicted in the opera, "Gabriel’s Daughter," which was performed to sold out audiences at the historic Central City Opera House, in Colorado in 2003. 

Clara is a freed slave from Kentucky who establishes herself as a laundress and cook at the gold mines of Colorado, settling in Central City, where she became an entrepreneur. The opera shares her journey looking for her only surviving daughter Eliza Jane who was sold away from her at auction, along with Clara's trials and successes as a former slave, woman, and active member of the community. Although the opera has not been staged in over twenty years, the documentary sheds light on Clara--her resilience, determination, and her legacy. The documentary also captures the both the history of Clara and the period, along with the opera as a means of sharing this history through song.

The documentary has won a number of film festival awards, including 2024 Winner-Feature Doc Film Moondance International Film Festival; 2023 Best Documentary Feature in The Artists Forum Festival of The Moving Image; 2023 Official Selection in Wales International Film Festival; 2023 Best Realistic Film in Reale Film Festival-Bi-Monthly Awards; and 2023 Exceptional Merit Docs Without Borders International Film Festival.

We are so grateful to co-producers Lori Brown Mirabal and Sharon Shepard Levine, both SOMA residents, for sharing their documentary and their experiences in creating this important work. Their passion for the art of opera, and for this particular moment of history came through in the Q&A before over 140 audience members. Lori Brown Mirabal is an award-winning performer, producer, entrepreneur and writer known for her exceptional storytelling and dedication to sharing powerful narratives with audiences around the world. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for authenticity, she brings stories to life in a way that resonates deeply with viewers. Sharon Shepard Levine is a seasoned producer with a wealth of experience in the entertainment industry. Her keen eye for detail and unparalleled creativity have earned her recognition and acclaim throughout her career. Sharon is committed to bringing important stories to the screen and making a positive impact through her work.

Thanks also to Cinema Labs at The Village at SOPAC South Orange for providing the theater space and to the Essex County Local Arts Program with support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State for our Integration through the Arts program grant.

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