Lerron R. Wright
– Writer – Scholar – Educator -
Originally from the Boogie-Down, I grew up alongside hip-hop, playing Sugar Hill records on me and my brother's Mickey Mouse turn-table in a 10th-floor apartment bedroom in the Soundview section of the Bronx, New York; subversive expression that spoke to stories of America’s broken promises plainly visible all around you in 70s and 80s Bronx.
But I also grew up in the era when George Lucas dropped his galactic bomb on generations to come and irrevocably changed pop culture, especially for those of us with a bent toward sci-fi cinema.
Story has always been that connecting element between local and pop culture for me. It lead to a career in journalism, teaching K – 12, as a college adjunct, in corporate creative writing, freelance and travel writing, web content development, marketing ... telling, hearing, writing, reading, studying, talking about or simply making up stories.
The logical conclusion for me was to begin study of those stories that have shaped whole societies for thousands of years as an inter-religious theological scholar; big stories that leave big questions that every person everywhere at any time has ever asked.
So ... what does all that gotta do with with Dystopian films?
My scholar’s vocation is to connect people through pursuit of truth through knowledge and knowing of each other and knowing ourselves and the stories we share.
It's not just me who's noticing how living in today's society is like watching a reel of some of our favorite modern sci-fi movies. Back then, we loved the creep factor because it seemed so ... distant ... yet left that lingering, luring question of “What if?”
Part of our current dread is knowing that some of those remembered futures are now and present.
So instead of just settling into fond reminiscence and nostalgia of days and entertainment future-past, maybe we can actually gain some valuable insights from these dystopian films that can give us some sense of direction on how and why we navigate through what looks like the possible cusp of our favorite nightmares becoming not-so-distant at all.
Rafael Reyes III
– Scholar – Writer – Educator -
I was born and raised in Queensbridge projects in New York. But I also grew up riding the subways back and forth, traveling to Jackson Heights, downtown Manhattan, Bronx and Spanish Harlem. So my I consider myself a child of the interstices, what connects all the boroughs together, the trains.
Trains are an important connection, as it is the space where I could keep up with films. FIlms would be posted on the walls of trains and stations. Whenever I would go to work, school or hang out with friends, films bombarded my vision. Early on in my life my father would sit down with me and ask the one important question, “What is the motif of...?”
This question is what I carry as I watch films with my philosophical and theological frameworks; what are films trying to grasp the viewer into seeing, and what are its implications in life, both spiritual and physical?
I use these two forms throughout my own work as a scholar and theology/religion professor in both under/graduate spaces. As we look at certain discussion points in its history, a story forms as to its becoming, and provides a framework of understanding the past, why we think in the present, and its implications for the future.
By taking the time to evaluate film, I hope to lay out its motifs and value for today.