What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire?

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What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire?

original title:

What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire?

italian title:

Che fare quando il mondo è in fiamme?

directed by:


Judy Hill, Dorothy Hill, Michael Nelson, Ronaldo King, Titus Turner, Ashley King, Kevin Goodman, The New Black Panthers Party for Self Defense


Okta Film, Pulpa Film, Shellac Sud, Rai Cinema, with the support of ARRI – International Support Program, Fondo Audiovisivo Friuli Venezia Giulia





film run:




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What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire is the story of a community of black people in the American South during the summer 2017, when a string of brutal killings of black men sent shockwaves throughout the country. A meditation on the state of race in America, this film is an intimate portrait into the lives of those who struggle for justice, dignity, and survival in a country not on their side.

I have told stories of the American South which were unfolding before my eyes in unexpected ways. I have documented clusters of today’s America where the seeds of anti-institutional, reactionary anger (which gifted the country with Donald Trump as the new president) were already planted, but no one cared to notice. This time, I intended to dig even deeper into the roots of social inequality in America, by focusing on the condition of African Americans. While preparing the film, we were able to establish deep bonds with several people, and gained access to neighbourhoods and communities that are off-limits to most. I soon realised that most of the people I met felt strongly about two dramatic events in Louisiana’s recent history: Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the killing of Alton Sterling (2016). Both events are the result of institutional negligence, of a socioeconomic divide between rich and poor, and of strong endemic racism. Moved by anger and fear, people wanted to get a chance to tell their stories out loud. I hope that this film can facilitate a much-needed discussion on race and the current plight of African Americans who, now more than ever, are witnessing the intensification of hate crimes and discriminatory policies.