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What's Next for Firelight? -- A Word From Stanley Nelson

As we wrap up the summer, I am especially excited about our two newest projects: one film about the Black Panther Party and another one about Freedom Summer. This Fall promises to be exciting as we start doing interviews and collecting footage.

For me, these projects are so close together in terms of era—1964 and 1966, but they are incredibly different stories. In many ways they are about different paths to liberation for African Americans. These projects are important now because we want to capture the voices of those who were active in those struggles and are aging. They are also about how individuals can participate and make a call to action in very different ways: one group fighting for the vote and for change within the system and the other saying we need drastic revolutionary change in this country. In many ways, young people have mythologized them, but many don’t know the true story. We want to make these figures human and demonstrate that the people who participated were really young. Movements can happen if you participate and if you believe in them.

Firelight is continuing to grow. Part of our mission is to work with a new generation of filmmakers and get their voices out there. We do this through our Producers’ Lab. This season, we have a fantastic lineup of projects in the Lab. For example, Byron Hurt’s film Soul Food Junkies is finished and Christine Turner’s film Homegoings is almost done.

We also fulfill our mission through our direct film productions. In addition to the two major films mentioned above, we are executive producing several short pieces for WGBH and three short films on education reform for the Carnegie Corporation. The more projects we work on, the more people we can hire to ensure that an emerging generation of filmmakers gets access.

Finally, our Community Action Division has been on the ground educating and recruiting diverse audiences to reflect on important historical events and draw parallels with contemporary social justice issues. Our Community Engagement Campaign around the film Freedom Riders has come to a close. Check out our evaluation report.

Thanks for your continued support for Firelight. Check out our work and spread the word!

Stanley Nelson
Executive Producer, Firelight Films
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