Firelight leads and manages a select number of national impact campaigns - from strategy to implementation to evaluation per year


The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, directed by Stanley Nelson, is the first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. The film broadcast nationally on the
PBS series Independent Lens, in February 2016.


Throughout the yearlong release the film sparked a national conversation on the legacy of the Black Panther Party leading up to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Party and the parallels to today’s movement for Black lives. Over a dozen national organizations and high-profile artists, writers and activists partnered with Firelight to maximize the reach and impact of the film from the festival release, crowdfunding campaign, theatrical release to the national broadcast.


Over twelve months the film screened at over 60 film festivals, in over 20 theaters, and raised over 65k in a crowdfunding campaign for the theatrical release.  The PBS broadcast was the highest rated and most social documentary in PBS’s history, the hashtag trended for 5 hours worldwide, and Black viewership to the PBS system increased by 400% for that time period as a result of the impact campaign. The impact campaign has been featured as a case study at numerous festival and foundation events


Freedom Summer


Freedom Summer, directed by Stanley Nelson, chronicles the summer of 1964, when hundreds of activists took to the streets and schools of Mississippi. The film broadcast nationally on the PBS series American Experience in June 2014.


Firelight Media’s FREEDOM SUMMER NOW campaign leveraged the documentary film, FREEDOM SUMMER, and the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, to increase civic participation among college-age youth, immigrants and people of color; support voting rights and GOTV efforts; and support multiracial and intergenerational coalition building.


The FREEDOM SUMMER: Get Out the Vote Toolkit is a free resource developed to educate people on the historic fight for voting rights, inspire GOTV volunteers, and mobilize a new generation of voters and voting rights advocates. The Toolkit, which included a booklet on voting rights, a history of Freedom Summer, and tips for unlocking the youth vote; and a DVD or flash drive with seven clips from FREEDOM SUMMER, available in English and Spanish, was distributed to over 400 civic engagement and voting rights organizations across the country.


Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes, directed by Byron Hurt, provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. The film broadcast nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens in January 2006.


The national broadcast of HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes was supported by a comprehensive national Community Engagement Campaign designed to educate both young consumers and media makers about issues of gender, race and community values, support media literacy, and encourage young men and women to reflect on the impact of frequently violent and sexual imagery on themselves, their relationships, and their communities.


The Community Engagement Campaign aimed to:

Engage young people in reflection, discussion, critical thinking, and problem-solving around the causes and effects of sexism, homophobia, and violence within hip-hop culture

Support the work of local organizations that serve youth by providing a media tool along with expert training, resources, and connection to their peers

Generate a national conversation on an increasingly violent, materialistic, and sexually explicit American culture using hip-hop culture as a point of reference

Provide opportunities to sustain conversations catalyzed by the film and move audiences from dialogue to action on the issues raised in the film

Drive new, young, diverse and retain conventional audiences to the national PBS broadcast while disseminating resources to those target groups + Emphasize the positive, creative contributions of hip-hop, one of the most pervasive and dynamic global art forms engaging young people worldwide

Firelight Media worked closely with the filmmaker and Independent Lens to recruit and manage 16 national partner organizations, coordinate a pre and post-broadcast screening tour, and develop and deploy community resource materials.The campaign led to new alliances among the campaign partner organizations and new audiences to PBS.