A Reckoning in Boston (2020) by James Rutenbeck

Saturday | 25 Sept 2021 | 15:00 – 17:10 | + Panel discussion

Sunday | 26 Sept 2021 | 12:45 – 14:20 | Get your tickets right here!

Location: Het Ketelhuis, Amsterdam, Netherlands | Click HERE for more info

Film director: James Rutenbeck | Year: 2020 | Runtime: 83 min | Genre: Documentary | Country of Production: USA | Subtitle(s): English Language(s): English


NL | Kafi Dixon en Carl Chandler namen deel aan een strenge nachtcursus in de geesteswetenschappen in een buurthuis in hun wijk Dorchester in Boston. De witte filmmaker James Rutenbeck, zelf wonend in een buitenwijk, kwam naar Dorchester om de betrokkenheid van de studenten bij de Clemente cursus in de geesteswetenschappen vast te leggen. Maar na verloop van tijd wordt James gedwongen te ontdekken dat de focus van zijn filmpremisse verlegd moet worden en omdat hij wordt geconfronteerd met zijn eigen medeplichtigheid aan racistische structuren. Terwijl hij de tijd doorbrengt met Carl en Kafi, wordt hij als het ware wakker geschud door het geweld, racisme en gentrificatie die hun wijk in de stad bedreigen.

ENG | Kafi Dixon and Carl Chandler enrolled in a rigorous night course in the humanities at a community center in their Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. White suburban filmmaker James Rutenbeck came to Dorchester to document the students’ engagement with the Clemente Course in the Humanities. But over time James is forced to come to terms with a flawed film premise and his own complicity in racist structures. As he spends time with Carl and Kafi, he’s awakened to the violence, racism and gentrification that threaten their very place in the city.


  • Introduction: 5 min | Before the films start
  • Film screening: 83 min | Film: A Reckoning in Boston (2020)
  • Panel: 35 min | Gentrification: discrimination on a socioeconomic level | after the film
  • Panel date: Saturday, 25 Sept, 15:00h
  • Panelists: Mustapha Eaisaouiyen; Woonopstand | Nugah Shrestha; Insta: @Politieke Jongeren

Contact film

Biography filmmaker: James Rutenbeck’s

James Rutenbeck’s nonfiction films have screened at various forums including Cinema du Reel, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and Flaherty Film Seminar. James is a two-time recipient of the Alfred I. du Pont Columbia Journalism Award for his work as producer of the PBS series, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? (2008), about health disparities in the U.S. and Class of ’27 (2016), which he executive produced, directed and edited. Class of ’27, which explores the lives of young children in three rural American communities, is streaming as an Editor’s Pick at The Atlantic. The Sundance Documentary Fund, LEF Moving Image Fund, Southern Humanities Media Fund and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have supported his film work. Broadcast editing credits include Zoot Suit Riots, Jimmy Carter and Roberto Clemente for the PBS series American Experience andAmerican Denial and Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness for Independent Lens. James was a 2019/20 Fellow at the Film Study Center at Harvard University.

Biography Producer: Kafi Dixon

A Black Woman, an Urban & Rural Farmer and a Generational New Englander, in 2017 Kafi Dixon founded Boston’s 1st Cooperative for Women and its 1st Worker / Owner Urban Farm Food Coop. Initially named the Women of Color Co-op, in embracing women of all races, class and culture the co-op was renamed Common Good Co-op. In response to the socioeconomic experiences of lower resourced and impoverished communities, and the intimacy of community violence women in Boston experience, as producer of A Reckoning Boston Kafi shares her experiences, hopes, and perspective as she asks us to bear witness to the systemic violence and interrogate resolutions.

Biography producer: Carl Chandler

Carl is a baby boomer, a product of the Sixties. He was born in Boston, as was his grandmother, father, two daughters and a grandson. His ancestry is Black, Indigenous American and western European. He made the calculation early in life that he did not want to be a full participant in the so-called “American dream” since he felt that his people were not respected or embraced by America. As a consequence, he feels his education was incomplete. His lifestyle choices did not include lots of money. Originally poor by choice, then by necessity, he sees himself as poor but not impoverished. Throughout his life he has been able to give lectures and presentations on Indigenous culture in southern New England, which he believes is a small contribution to young people’s education. When his youngest daughter went away to college, he struggled with what to do next. A year later he found the Clemente Course in the Humanities. There, he received a first-rate education and a new direction in his life. He was elected class graduation speaker, and this honor confirmed to him that he should speak to the positive impact Clemente has on a person’s life. He has spoken in videos, public forums and small classes. This is his first film.