2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Pauli Murray Foundation


MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY
Betsy West and Julie Cohen profile a long unheralded legal pioneer.

Festival Section:
Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

It’s not often we’re introduced to a true luminary, and Pauli Murray was just that—as well as a lawyer, Black activist, feminist, poet, and priest. Murray questioned systems of oppression and conformity throughout the mid-twentieth century, with a radical vision consistently ahead of the times. Murray’s trailblazing legal foresight influenced landmark civil rights decisions and gender equality legislation that transformed our world.

Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen (RBG, 2018 Sundance Film Festival) return to Sundance with an illuminating portrait of an inspiring leader. Murray’s writings, photographs, and audio recordings, along with newly discovered footage and interviews, interlace to tell the story of a pioneer with a tenacious spirit. West and Cohen balance numerous professional accomplishments with a window into Murray’s full and complex private life. Murray’s personal letters reveal years of grappling with and resisting gender categories, affectionate exchanges with loved ones, and confident and resolute demands for justice. Pauli Murray has a legacy far-reaching and deep. This is a name you won’t soon forget.

Some Background:

Directors:
Betsy West
Past Sundance docs:
RBG

Filmmaker, Storyville Films. West is an Oscar-nominated, multiple Emmy-winning filmmaker who was previously a producer at ABC News and CBS News, working on NIGHTLINE, 60 MINUTES, and 48 HOURS, among other projects. She is also a professor at Columbia Journalism School.

Julie Cohen
Past Sundance docs:
RBG

Filmmaker, Storyville Films and BetterThanFiction. The Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning Cohen also comes from a television background, having produced for DATELINE NBC.

Producer:
Talleah Bridges McMahon
First Sundance credit. McMahon is News & Documentary Emmy nominee whose previous work has appeared on CNN, PBS, and WeTV.

Executive Producers:
Jeff Skoll
Recent past Sundance docs:
CITY SO REAL (2020)
AMERICAN FACTORY (2019)
AQUARELA (2019)
AMERICA TO ME (2018)
THE PRICE OF FREE (fka KAILASH) (2018)
AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (2017)
MELTING ICE (VR short, 2017)

Founder/chairman, Participant Media. Skoll is a philanthropist, social entrepreneur, and News & Documentary Emmy winner. His Skoll Foundation has been a major partner of the Sundance Institute for several years. Skoll also executive produced 2021 Sundance Premieres fiction feature title JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH.

Diane Weyermann
Recent past Sundance docs:
CITY SO REAL
AMERICAN FACTORY
AQUARELA
AMERICA TO ME
THE PRICE OF FREE
AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER
MELTING ICE

Chief content officer, Participant Media. The News & Documentary Emmy-winning Weyerman was previously the director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program for several years and the director of the Open Society Institute’s arts and culture program before that.

Elise Pearlstein
Past Sundance docs:
THE PRICE OF FREE
PROTAGONIST (2007)

EVP, documentaries, This Machine. Formerly SVP, documentary films, Participant Media. Pearlstein produced FOOD, INC, for which she received an Oscar nomination and won a News & Documentary Emmy.

Peggy Drexler
Past Sundance docs:
THE FIGHT (2020)
ASK DR RUTH (2019)
MIKE WALLACE IS HERE (2019)

Peggy Drexler PhD is a research psychologist and author focusing on sex and gender. As an investor in Impact Partners, she contributed to the funding of Sundance alums WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? and OF FATHERS AND SONS.

Co-Executive Producers:
Dana DiCarlo
First Sundance credit. DiCarlo is a philanthropist with a focus on community building through education and the arts. She oversees her family’s foundation, the DM DiCarlo and JS Plank Family Foundation, with her husband, impact investor Scott Plank, and their three children. DiCarlo previously executive produced the Oscar-shortlisted feature doc CHARM CITY.

Eve Plank
First Sundance credit. Plank, Dana DiCarlo’s daughter, also oversees their family foundation.

More Info:
Meet the Artists

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

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