Race in America: documentaries to watch, curated by Firelight Media

In solidarity with Black and POC communities, Realscreen has partnered with Firelight Media to amplify documentaries that educate and inform.⁠ Founded by Peabody- and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Firelight is ...
June 5, 2020

In solidarity with Black and POC communities, Realscreen has partnered with Firelight Media to amplify documentaries that educate and inform.⁠

Founded by Peabody- and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Firelight is a premier destination for non-fiction cinema by and about communities of color. Firelight produces documentary films, supports emerging filmmakers of color, and cultivates audiences for their work.⁠⁠

⁠The non-profit’s new film initiative, announced Thursday (June 4), examines how filmmakers of color can move forward in an unstable economic industry. Registration for the first session, scheduled for 4 p.m. ET/PT today (June 5), is currently open.

Join us in our work to listen, learn and unlearn by watching films selected by the team at Firelight:

Whose Streets? (2018)

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In 2014, when unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of the St. Louis area and beyond.

From Magilla Pictures, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson, Missouri uprising. As the national guard rolls in, a new generation mounts a powerful battle cry not just for their civil rights, but for the right to live. It first premiered as part of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Sabaah Folayan is writer, director and producer; Damon Davis is co-director and producer. The film is produced by Jennifer MacArthur and Flannery Miller; Chris Renteria is co-producer.

The Feeling of Being Watched (2019)


In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11, code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.”

The Feeling of Being Watched follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.

Boundaoui and Jessica Devaney, a Brookyln-based producer and founder of Multitude Films, serve as producers. Justine Nagan and Christopher White are executive producers for PBS strand ‘POV.’

The Infiltrators (2019)


The Infiltrators tells the true story of two young immigrants who get purposefully arrested by Border Patrol, and put in a shadowy for-profit detention center. The film follows Marco and Viri, members of a group of radical Dreamers who are on a mission to stop deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention.

The film is an official Selection of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and a co-presentation of Latino Public Broadcasting.

It is directed by Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra, who also served as producer with by Darren Dean and Daniel J. Chalfen, founder of Naked Edge Films. Executive producers are Steve Cohen, Paula Froehle, Lagralane Group, Ken Nolan, Christina Nolan, Ken Pelletier, Katy Drake Bettner and Jim Butterworth.

Nancy Blachman, Lou Buglioli, Natalie Orfalea, David Ortiz and Robina Riccitiello are co-executive producers; Sarah Garrahan is co-producer.

Always in Season (2020)

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Always in Season tells the story of African American teenager Lennon Lacy, who in August 2014, was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina. His suspicious death was ruled a suicide by law enforcement, but Lennon’s mother, Claudia, her family, and many others believe Lennon was lynched.

Jacqueline Olive is director, writer and producer; Jessica Devaney is producer. The film is executive produced by Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen, Jim Butterworth, Daniel J. Chalfen, Patty Quillin, Joan Platt, Regina K. Scully and Geralyn Dreyfous

Leslie Fields-Cruz is executive producer for Black Public Media (BPM). Co-executive producers are Leslie Berriman & Nion McEvoy, Katy Drake Bettner, Nancy Stephens & Rick Rosenthal, Barbara Dobkin and Jodie Evans.

Lisa Valencia-Svensson and Anya Rous are co-producers; Noland Walker and Ann Bennett are consulting producers.

Always in Season is a co-production of Always in Season, LLC, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and BPM with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2016)

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In the turbulent 1960s, change was coming to America. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution 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 is written, produced and directed by Stanley Nelson. Laurens Grant is producer.

he Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution is a co-production of Firelight Films, Inc. and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Our 100 Days


An online documentary series from Field of Vision and Firelight, Our 100 Days tells stories from the perspective of vulnerable communities and explore threats to U.S. democracy in this current, polarized political climate. Episodes include directors Sofian Khan and Nausheen Dadabhoy’s “Act of Worship” (pictured), a behind-the-scenes look at CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a champion of civil rights for Muslims in the U.S. that finds itself in the cross hairs of a new administration’s policies.

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