The theme of black male responsibility is the subject of the timely Black Nation, a 90-minute feature doc premiering today at the Dubai International Film Festival.
Tom Powers, executive producer at Toronto-based Open Door Co., tells realscreen the interesting background of the doc.
Swedish filmmaker Mats Hjelm who is an internationally renowned installation film artist, directs this film, which stemmed from his relationship with his father. Lars Hjelm made documentaries in the ’60s, and his footage of race riots in Detroit led to his son, 35 years later, going through his now-deceased father’s footage in the basement. The younger Hjelm picked up a long-distance relationship that his father had with the controversial church Shrine of the Black Madonna and upon Hjelm’s first visit to the Detroit church, he knew he had something, says Powers.
The film follows five main characters to explore the theme of black male responsibility in America through the past and present of Detroit and through the Church of the Black Madonna.
Powers says they met with representatives of DIFF at the Toronto International Film Festival, and discovered that, although DIFF doesn’t often program docs, the film was too timely not to add it to the lineup. At a time with both Barack Obama about to enter the White House and Detroit’s automakers at a collapse, the film is incredibly relevant, which should help the Herrlander Pictures film, in association with Open Door Co., get into the other film festivals in the US.