Michael Franti's 'Stay Human' film explores optimism at MCL


MANCHESTER CENTER — In today's world of bitter partisan politics, a growing gap between rich and poor, and ongoing political strife between nations, a documentary slated for the Manchester Community Library might be the antidote.

Award winning musician Michael Franti takes the audience on a personal journey during which he meets extraordinary humans around the world who inspire him to overcome cynicism with optimism in today's challenging times and "stay human," at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 4, at Manchester Community Library.

Franti, a heralded musician, singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, documentarian and political activist, has created a documentary that was called "a visual love letter to hope and optimism," by the San Diego Union Tribune, "very powerful, moving, and uplifting," by the Maui News, and a "film that will leave you inspired" by the Arizona Daily Star.

Franti is the creator and lead vocalist of Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. Through his music and poetry, Franti tackles a range of peace and social justice issues.

Among the tales that Franti shares are those of Robin Lim, a midwife who opened a birthing clinic in the aftermath of a devastating typhoon in the Philippines; Steve and Hope Dezember, a young couple whose love carries them through Steve's battle with ALS; and Sive Mazinyo and Busisiwwe Vazi, who help inspire their community of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, through music and education.

A discussion will follow the 95 minute film screening, led by Julie Freebern of the Burr and Burton Music Department, and the Rev. Claire Longtin North.

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Freebern received her bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a full-tuition Chancellor's Talent Scholarship for clarinet performance. In 2007, she received the Distinguished Music Educator Award from the Yale School of Music and was the recipient of Burr and Burton Academy's Bigelow Fund for Excellence Faculty Grant.

She was honored by Burr & Burton Academy with the 2017 Rowland Faculty Chair Award. Her choirs have performed at both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall through Distinguished Concerts International New York and the World Strides National Honors Chorus.

Claire Longtin North is a writer, Minister of Spiritual Science, ceremonialist, and founder of A Community Ministry in the Mountains.

Over the past seven years, she has been involved in initiating poetry events and programming for National Poetry Month in Vermont and New York State through Poetry Salons with Guest Poets, The Poet Is In, and moderating the Gossamer Stone Poets.

She holds an MFA from Goddard College and has taught Creative Writing and facilitated writing retreats for a variety of populations, spanning middle school students to seasoned writers. Libraries are among her favorite and most beloved Temples for transformation through language, written and spoken.

The film screening and discussion are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

For more info, contact the Library at 802-362-2607.


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