In recent years, distributors have nabbed a select number of documentary films about artists whose works are considered to have mass appeal. Of those films, only a small percentage feature BIPOC artists either in front of or behind the camera.
Firelight Media hosted a Beyond Resilience conversation that dives into the particular privileges and challenges of pitching, producing, and delivering documentary films centered on artists of color, by artists of color. The conversation covers both the practical (how to secure access to artists and their estates, art and music licensing) and the creative (collaboration and experimentation with artists and their works), while seeking to uncover the compelling stories of identity shared between directors and their protagonists. The conversation also seeks to understand how a documentary director’s vision can both align with and remain distinct from that of their protagonist, be they a painter, poet, musician, or multidisciplinary artist.
Join four directors from season two of Firelight Media and American Masters’ series In The Making to discuss their process of profiling particular artists for this series, and how those collaborations led to short films that approach the sublime.
This Beyond Resilience event is co-presented by American Masters and moderated by Christine Turner (filmmaker, J’Nai Bridges: Unamplified). Panelists include filmmakers Alan Domínguez (Alejandro Jimenez: The Ground I Stand On), Sergio Rapu (Jonathan Thunder: Good Mythology), and Alicia G. Edwards (Walshy Fire: Pull Up). Introduced by In The Making Executive Producers Michael Kantor (American Masters) and Stanley Nelson (Firelight Media).
Accessibility Notice: This event includes ASL interpretation and live closed captions.
The Beyond Resilience Series is sponsored by Open Society Foundations. Beyond Resilience is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Field of Vision.
What happens when an artist holds up a mirror to the world? This documentary shorts series from American Masters and Firelight Media follows emerging cultural icons on their journeys to becoming masters of their artistic disciplines. Across seven episodes, meet creatives who are making work that explores and influences American culture today. Stream episodes via Firelight Media, PBS on YouTube, pbs.org/americanmasters, and the PBS Video App.
Michael Kantor is the Executive Producer for American Masters. Stanley Nelson, Marcia Smith and Monika Navarro are the Executive Producers for Firelight Media.
Major support for the In the Making digital series is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Anderson Family Charitable Fund, The Marc Haas Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and Edgar Wachenheim III.
Now in its 37th season on PBS, American Masters was recently nominated for an IDA Award, two Primetime Emmy® Awards and was awarded two News & Documentary Emmys. The series illuminates the lives and creative journeys of those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape—through compelling, unvarnished and impactful stories. Setting the standard for documentary film profiles, the series has earned widespread critical acclaim and 28 Emmy Awards—including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special—14 Peabodys, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards, an Oscar, and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of more than 250 masters past and present, the American Masters website offers full episodes, film outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the podcast American Masters: Creative Spark, educational resources digital original series and more. The series is a production of The WNET Group.
American Masters is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport.
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