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BlackRock Center to Screen REBEL the True Story of Confederate Soldier Turned Union Spy, Loreta Valazquez

March 3, 2016

BlackRock Center for the Arts will screen the documentary film REBEL directed by María Agui Carter, as part of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s On Screen/In Person program on Sunday, March 6 at 4:00 pm. A conversation with the director will follow the screening.

   REBEL tells the story of Loreta Velazquez, Confederate soldier turned Union Spy — one of the Civil War’s most gripping forgotten narratives. Who was Loreta? Why did she fight? And what made her so dangerous she has been virtually erased from history?

   Loreta Janeta Velazquez was a 19th century woman of many disguises. Havana-born and New Orleans-raised, she was a rebel from the start, a precocious Cuban tomboy who idolized Joan of Arc. One of the 1000 women said to have fought in the Civil War, she altered her sex, her ethnicity and her very identity in order to become a Confederate soldier (alias Lieutenant Harry Buford), to spy for the Confederacy then become a double agent for the Union, and then exposed her secret in a memoir, The Woman in Battle, which chronicles her often tragic life.

   Yet for the last 150 years, her story has been dismissed as a hoax. REBEL unlocks this mystery with a non-traditional approach that plays with form and style to create an impressive body of evidence. Using her memoir as the foundation, director María Agui Carter brings Loreta’s story to life through dramatic period re-enactments, archival material and excerpts of her writing, supported by interviews with scholars and historians who provide persuasive historical, social, and political context. Loreta risked being tried for treason for her masquerade and was ultimately branded a liar and erased from history. In her search for family, nation, and identity, she instead became a fascinating illustration of the politics of memory.

   To view the film’s trailer please visit rebeldocumentary.com.

   Tickets to see REBEL and attend the post-screening discussion at BlackRock are just $5 and are on sale at the BlackRock Box Office, online at blackrockcenter.org, or over the phone by calling 240.912.1058.

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