2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: TELL THEM WE ARE RISING: THE STORY OF BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

tell them we are risingTELL THEM WE ARE RISING: THE STORY OF BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Stanley Nelson explores the pivotal role played by historically Black institutions of higher learning in American society.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

Veteran documentarian Stanley Nelson (FREEDOM RIDERS, 2010; THE BLACK PANTHERS, 2015) returns to the Festival to deliver yet another essential chapter of American history with his latest film, TELL THEM WE ARE RISING, the first-ever project of its kind on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

African Americans who would not be denied a higher education played an enormous part in propelling the epic journey toward liberation for Black people in the United States. Though much of their history was eclipsed by the explosiveness of the 1960s, HBCUs played a central role in the shaping of Black life, creating a Black middle class and dismantling segregation. Through this rich tapestry of archival photos, letters, diaries, home movies, a variety of never before seen or heard media, and memorable testimonials with key students, staff, faculty, and alumni, Nelson brings into sharp focus the pivotal role the 150-year history of HBCUs has played in American history, culture, and national identity.

Some Background:
Director/Producer:

  • Stanley Nelson
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION
    FREEDOM SUMMER (2014)
    WHEN I WALK (2013, executive producer)
    FREEDOM RIDERS
    WOUNDED KNEE (2009)
    HIP HOP: BEYOND BEATS & RHYMES (2004, executive producer)
    A PLACE OF OUR OWN (2004)
    THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL (2003, special jury prize)
    MARCUS GARVEY: LOOK FOR ME IN THE WHIRLWIND (2001)
    THE BLACK PRESS: SOLDIERS WITHOUT SWORDS (1999, award winner)

    The Firelight Media co-founder (together with the film’s writer, Marcia Smith) is a multi-Emmy Award winner, including a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Producers:

  • Cyndee Readdean
    Past Sundance docs:

    FREEDOM SUMMER

    Readdean has also directed and produced documentary and news content for PBS and other outlets over the past 20 years.

  • Stacey L Holman
    Past Sundance docs:

    FREEDOM RIDERS

    Holman also line produced FREEDOM SUMMER and worked with Nelson on other projects, including associate producing the Emmy Award-nominated JESSE OWENS for American Experience.

Editor:

Assistant Editor:

  • Jota Sosnowski
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE NEW YORKER PRESENTS (series) (2016)

Why You Should Watch:
Nelson’s dedication to telling the untold or otherwise marginalized stories of African-American history continues with his latest, which traces the development and vital importance of HBCUs from before the Civil War until the present day, when such institutions struggle with enrollment.

More Info:
Website
Faxcebook
Instagram

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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