Director of Moonlight Coming to Bucknell

Bucknell’s annual Diversity Summit is scheduled to take place on March 28-29th, a two-day event complete with panels, workshops, dialogues, and more. Themed Identity, Inclusion & Social Transformation: Centering Gender, Power and Privilege, the summit is designed to bring together students, staff and faculty and get them talking about diversity-related issues that permeate both Bucknell’s campus and society as a whole.

To kick off the program, film director and writer Barry Jenkins will be delivering the summit’s keynote address. Barry Jenkins has been producing films for years, but he’s just recently been launched to the forefront of the industry for his 2016 drama, Moonlight. Moonlight has received vast critical claim in recent months, namely the Academy Award for Best Picture at the most recent Oscars.

Moonlight possesses all the qualities that make a historically Best Picture-winning film great: a compelling story, incredible actors, gorgeous visuals, etc. However, Moonlight’s significance as a cultural fixture and social statement transcends its pure cinematic merit.

Moonlight chronicles the youth, adolescence, and adult life of Chiron, a homosexual black man living in Miami. As he navigates a world of poverty and drug abuse, Chiron simultaneously grapples with his sexuality, struggling to solidify his identity as both a black and homosexual individual. The film deals largely with race, but it also pulls LGBTQ identities into the conversation, illustrating the ways in which marginalized identities can clash and conflict within a developing individual.

At the Oscars alone, Moonlight made some important historic breakthroughs. It was the first LGBTQ film – and the first film with an all-black cast – to snag the Best Picture title. Barry Jenkins also makes history by becoming the first African American director to win the coveted Best Picture award.

Although the film is not technically autobiographical, Moonlight is closely tied to Jenkins’s own life. The film tackles issues like race and sexuality, but it also wrestles with the question of being human, of how to reconcile our own inner world with the greater one in which live. Moonlight is also a perfect example of how art can be used to initiate difficult conversations and illuminate the authentic, real-life narratives that often go unheard in our society.

Bucknell’s Diversity Summit will also be a great way to get these conversations going. Although there is an overarching focus on gender, the summit will explore a vast array of issues, from racism to classism. Participation in the summit is an amazing way for people to learn about the many types of oppression that exist in the world today, and to become better equipped to deal with scenarios that demand behavioral change.

Jenkins will speak at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28. Make sure to come out and listen – you won’t want to miss it!

To learn more about the Diversity Summit, click here.