Ashes to Ashes

26 mins.
Directed by Taylor Rees

Playing through Thursday, August 27.

  • Ticket price: $5 general admission, FREE to Amherst Cinema Members. Tickets good for unlimited viewing through Thursday, August 27.
  • How to watch: Available to watch through the internet browser on your computer, phone, or tablet.

Questions about Virtual Cinema? Technical issues? Check our FAQ page. When you watch Virtual Cinema films, you provide direct financial support to Amherst Cinema during our temporary closure. Thank you.

On Wednesday, August 19 at 7pm EDT, join us for a Facebook Live Q&A with director Taylor Rees, subject Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker, and Amherst Cinema's George Myers.

America has yet to heal from the trauma of its darkest era, and Winfred Rembert is living proof of that.

Rembert, who lived on a plantation, joined the civil rights movement as a teen, and was put to work on a chain gang, is a rare survivor of a lynching attempt.

Decades later, he still carries the scars. “That lynching is on my back, and it’s dragging me down, even today,” he says.

As he etches the history, bloodsoaked and cruel, into leatherwork, fellow artist Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker organizes a different kind of ceremony to search for healing—a funeral service in Springfield, MA, to acknowledge and mourn the thousands of African Americans who were racially terrorized from the Jim Crow era through to this very day.

“It’s not just black history,” Dr. Whitaker says. “This is American history.”

This powerful short by Taylor Rees played to sold-out crowds at Amherst Cinema in February 2020. Join us for its virtual cinema premiere and a live-streamed discussion with Rees and Dr. Whitaker.

Watch Dr. Whitaker interviewed on WGBY in advance of the service documented in ASHES TO ASHES: