‘What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?’ illuminates African-American lives in New Orleans and Jackson, MS

Judy Hall is a name that will be on everyone’s lips after the New York Film Festival premiere of Roberto Minervini’s What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? The Italian documentary filmmaker follows half a dozen African-American subjects in his beautifully shot black-and-white film, but Hall is his most charismatic. A New Orleans club owner who cares for her aging mother, she confronts many obstacles as her story unfolds, not the least of which is the rent hike that may cause her to lose her business. The result of neighborhood gentrification, it is also displacing others in Hall’s community, including her mom who lives in a rented home.

Hall appeared at a post-screening press conference before the September 30 premiere, along with Minervini and two other subjects from the…

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