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Blackfin, Firelight to produce Stanley Nelson-directed Tulsa Massacre docuseries

Blackfin, an eOne company, has partnered with Peabody- and Emmy award-winning director Stanley Nelson and NBA player and philanthropist Russell Westbrook to produce the docuseries Terror in Tulsa: The Rise and ...
June 10, 2020

Blackfin, an eOne company, has partnered with Peabody- and Emmy award-winning director Stanley Nelson and NBA player and philanthropist Russell Westbrook to produce the docuseries Terror in Tulsa: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street.

The series will be directed by Nelson (pictured) and produced by Blackfin and Firelight Films, Nelson’s non-profit organization dedicated to supporting emerging filmmakers of color. Westbrook of the Houston Rockets serves as executive producer.

In development for nearly a year, the docuseries will include input from historical organizations including the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, and the Historic Vernon AME Church among others.

Terror in Tulsa: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street will tell the story of “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history” set to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the event that originally took place in May 1921.

The series is both an exploration of America’s past and also an “urgent, sobering  look at the social, economic and political lines that continue to divide the country.” It will feature both past and present-day narratives in order to tell the “definitive version” of this tragic event and its continuing impact.

“There is no story more poignant or relevant to the racially charged events unfolding before us today, the frustration, the outrage, the outcry for justice in the wake of the George Floyd killing. The story of Tulsa reveals a significant chapter in the American experience leading up to this moment. It is a story that needs to be treated with dignity, grounded in cultural authenticity, and portrayed with historical accuracy in order to truly understand the impact it has had on our nation. From the cover-ups of the massacre in 1921, to the uncovering of the mass graves left in its wake, the story of Tulsa is the harsh example of not only the history of violence against black people in America, but also the great American sin of burying it out of sight, and pretending that it never happened. For many, it is hard to believe such an atrocity occurred. For others, these atrocities are simply part of the American journey,” Nelson said in a statement.

Over the course of his career, Nelson’s accolades include a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, five Primetime Emmy Awards and lifetime achievement awards from the National Academy of Television Arts Sciences, and IDA. In 2013, Nelson also received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Barack Obama.

His latest film, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, premiered at Sundance in 2019.

Blackfin’s slate of past and current productions includes Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (Netflix), Murder Tapes (ID), and Finding Escobar’s Millions (Discovery), among others.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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