Preacher and Poet | Spotlight | Indy Week

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Preacher and Poet

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"In 1967, the Igbo people seceded from the national government of Nigeria and established the independent state of Biafra. ..." Thus begins Paige Reece McCormick's courageous documentary, exploring the lives of two men whose visions of religion and art intersect as they are caught up in the devastating civil war following the bloody birth of Biafra. Preacher and Poet is a tender, dual portrait of Don Reece, a Baptist missionary to Nigeria who risked his life to stay throughout the conflict and offer aid to Biafran refugees, and Chimalum Nwankwo, a poet and teacher who as a teenager fought in the fledgling Biafran army. Reece, a North Carolinian who happens also to be McCormick's father, speaks of his faith and commitment to those in need, while the Nigerian Nwankwo recites his poems brimming with the horrors of war, the naked reality of mass starvation, and the stubborn refusal of humans to give themselves over to the chaos ever nipping at the heels of civilization. Nigerian-born McCormick, who has come to see herself as an "American-African," will be on hand after the showing to field questions and discuss the creation of her vision of undying faith in the dignity of humanity. You will see images you will never forget, images we must always remember. See "Special Showings" for details. --L.D. Russell

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