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Sunday, June 16
6:00 PM - 7:45 PM

Landmark E-Street Cinema

555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Ain’t No Back to a Merry-Go-Round


Ilana Trachtman

Executive Producers

Barbara Dobkin, Rick D'Avino, Pamela Murphy, Jeffrey Z. Slavin


Ilana Trachtman


Sandra Christie, Ann Collins


Slawomir Grunberg, Dominic Mann

When five Howard University students sat on a segregated Maryland carousel in 1960, the arrests made headlines. When the largely Jewish community near Glen Echo Amusement Park joined the Black students in picketing, the first organized interracial civil rights protest in US history was born. The pickets attracted Nazis, Congressman, and a press avalanche. Picketing together for these unlikely allies led to partying together, and union organizers mentored student activists. Ten 1961 Freedom Riders, including Stokely Carmichael, were incubated on the Glen Echo picket line, and the carousel arrests were challenged in a Supreme Court case. With never-before seen footage, and immersive storytelling by Emmy-award winning director Ilana Trachtman, four living protesters rescue this untold story, revealing the price, and the power, of heeding the impulse to activism. Acclaimed actors Jeffrey Wright, Mandy Patinkin, voice the Black and mainstream presses, respectively, with additional voiceover by Bob Balaban, Lee Grant, Peter Gallagher, Dominique Thorne, Alysia Reiner and Tracie Thoms.

Director, Ain't No Back to a Merry-Go-Round

Ilana Trachtman has made Emmy award-winning nonfiction programs for over thirty years. For PBS, HBO Family, ABC-TV, Showtime, Lifetime, Discovery, A&E, and the Sundance Channel, she has explored worlds such as the legacy of slavery in Latin America, activism among Gulf Coast shrimpers, glassblowing with at-risk youth, and transgender parents. Prime-time directing credits for PBS include the independent feature Mariachi High (Imagen Award Nomination;) Black in Latin America hosted by Henry Louis Gates and Texas Ranch House. Ilana was a supervising producer on PBS’ History Detectives and the Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Small Planet. Ilana began her career in the documentary unit of PBS’s Reading Rainbow. Ilana’s independent feature documentary Praying with Lior played theatrically in over 60 cities in the US and abroad, garnered six Audience Awards for Best Documentary, the Grand Prix at the International Disability Film Festival, and was a critic’s pick of the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Washington Post. Ilana produced and directed The Pursuit: 50 Years in the Fight for LGBT Rights for WHYY, which won the Mid-Atlantic Emmy for Best Documentary. Most recently, she co-produced Stand Up and Shout: Songs from a Philly High School (HBO.)