In June Firelight Films launched AMERICA REVISITED-- an unprecedented, multi-year project for broadcast on public television's series Independent Lens. AMERICA REVISITED is a series of three films-- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and The Slave Trade: Creating A New World-- that will expand and deepen our understanding of African-American history, experience and life. More than just a film project, AMERICA REVISITED is a unique, multi-platform interactive journey through American history-- from the global trade in African lives that built empires; to the excitement, rage and determination embodied in the Black Power activism of the 60’s; through the jubilation of a high school senior opening up an acceptance letter to Howard University in 2014.
For each film, there will be exclusive interviews and clips from the films, interactive games and timelines, as well as background information and essays to bring the history to life. AMERICA REVISITED will seek user-generated content from audiences that can be viewed on our website and shared through social media platforms. And in the case of TELL THEM WE ARE RISING, audiences will be invited to contribute their personal stories, photos, home videos and memorabilia to the site for possible inclusion into the documentary film. Check out our AMERICA REVISITED website and Like our AMERICA REVISITED Facebook page.
Firelight is thrilled to announce that our latest film Jesse Owens, which aired on the acclaimed PBS series American Experience, won an Emmy for Outstanding Research at the 34th Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards! Firelight would like to congratulate Laurens Grant, Stanley Nelson, Stacey Holman, Aljernon Tunsil and the entire Jesse Owens team on this achievement!If you haven’t had a chance to watch the film yet, you can stream it online or purchase it here.
Recently, Firelight Films teamed up with Communities United for Police Reform to produce a video series, the Where I Am Going Campaign, which aims to show the real impact of stop-and-frisk on individuals and communities. Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing a number of stories from people directly affected by the policies, beginning with Kasiem Walters, a high school senior from Flatbush, Brooklyn. He has been stopped and frisked by the police eight times in his community. Watch his moving story here.
Documenting these stories is the first step in helping others understand the consequences of stop-and-frisk. If you have an experience with stop-and-frisk that you want to share, let us know through Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #WhereIAmGoing. Or simply share these videos and add your voice to a national conversation on racial profiling.
Before Spike Lee, Henry Hampton, Stanley Nelson, St. Claire Bourne, and many other successful black documentary makers, there was Bill and Bill. Steeped in black history and culture, the work of these two pioneers laid a firm foundation for many of today's black filmmakers who continue a proud tradition of storytelling that began with Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, and others.
This event is Co-presented by Firelight Media and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Although this event is free for public, registration is required. Click here to register today!
Food habits and traditions are hard to change, especially when they’re passed on from generation to generation and rich with family history and loving memories. Leaving behind the food you grew up with can seem like a rejection of family values and roots. In Soul Food Junkies, Byron Hurt (Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes) shares his journey from his New Jersey home through the South to learn more about African American soul food and its long-term effects on the community.
Hurt’s journey was inspired by his father’s unwillingness to give up his high-fat, calorie-laden traditional soul food diet, even in the face of a life-threatening health crisis. Although he’s been able to improve his diet and stay in shape, Hurt discovers that the love affair that his Dad and others have with soul food is deep-rooted, complex, and often deadly.
Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as doctors, family members, and everyday people, Soul Food Junkies reveals how the American culinary tradition of “southern” food began in West Africa, spread throughout the Americas during slavery, and was coined “soul food” in the late 1960s during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. The film also shows how the profit-driven fast food and processed-food industry, have replaced traditional home cooked meals more and more. This, along with the dwindling number of markets featuring fresh produce in many communities of color, has negatively impacted African American health.
But change is in the air. Faced with increasing obesity and rising diabetes rates, an emerging food justice movement is taking root: dynamic and passionate individuals are challenging the food industry, encouraging communities to “go back to the land” by creating sustainable eco-friendly gardens, advocating for healthier options in local supermarkets, supporting local farmer’s markets, avoiding highly processed fast foods, and cooking a healthier version of traditional soul food.
To learn more about the film, visit the companion website for Soul Food Junkies. Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker, and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section, where viewers can share their ideas and opinions.
Here is what Pete said in an interview with Variety:
"I can't tell you how many times we walked up to people and told them what we were doing, and they'd say, 'My story doesn't matter -- why does anybody care about my story?' This recognition is really special to me; it's a validation that their story does matter." Pete Nicks has also been nominated for the following prestigious awards:
2012 Gotham IFP nominee for Best Documentary
2013 Independent Spirit Awards double nominee: Best Documentary & Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award
2013 Cinema Eye nominee: Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
This film is currently in theatrical distribution in selected cities around the country and will broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in the 2013-2014 season. Please click here to see the current schedule.
The Waiting Room, which follows the life and times of patients and caregivers at Highland Hospital, a public hospital in Oakland, CA, was picked as New York Times and New York Magazine Critics Pick, won the Golden Gate and Audience Award at the San Francisco Film Festival, a Silver Docs and True or False official selection, and won the Guggenheim Emerging Artists Award at Full Frame.
A huge congratulations to Pete from Firelight Family!