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Completed in: 2020 | 60 min.

Section: HIFF Talks


Languages: English



Missed the Conversation? Click HERE to view the discussion via the HIFF Facebook Page. 

Stories about Black Lives are vital to inspire social change. We look at how films about Black-led social movements impacted the narrative of race and equality in America. Featuring Stanley Nelson, a trailblazing documentary filmmaker, Firelight Media co-founder and MacArthur “genius” Fellow, panelists discuss themes of cultural resistance, collective action and the power of nonfiction media. We also delve into the reverberations of his work and The Black Panthers inspiring the next generation of filmmakers and activists.

Moderator: Dr. Akiemi Glenn, Executive Director of Popolo Project

Stanley Nelson, filmmaker, co-founder of Firelight Media
Nailah Jefferson, filmmaker, Firelight Fellow
More Panelists TBA

This event is part of The Way Forward: Conversations about Race and Reckoning in Hawaii
Hawaiʻiʻs multicultural identity draws many people to its ethnically diverse shores, but institutional racism and colonialism still live on in the islands. In this unique 3 day event, participate in conversations centered on films challenging and expanding notions of race and equality in Hawaii and beyond. These free panels will reflect on Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements as we push toward a more fair, equitable world.

Film Screening: In tandem with this panel, HIFF is presenting a special screening of Stanley Nelson's BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION available on demand November 5 -29.

Suggested reading: The Popolo Project: Where will you be? Why Black Lives Matter in the Hawaiian Kingdom 

About The Panelists

Stanley Nelson 

Stanley Nelson is today’s leading documentarian of the African-American experience. His films combine compelling narratives with rich historical detail to illuminate the under-explored American past. A MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, Nelson has received numerous honors over the course of his career, including five Primetime Emmy Awards for his films, as well as lifetime achievement awards from the Emmys, the Peabodys, and IDA. In 2013, Nelson received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Barack Obama. His latest film, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, premiered at Sundance in January 2019. 

In 2000, Mr. Nelson, along with his wife, Marcia A. Smith, founded Firelight Media, a non-profit production company dedicated to using historical film to advance contemporary social justice causes, and to mentoring, inspiring and training a new generation of diverse young filmmakers committed to telling underrepresented stories.

Nailah Jefferson 

Nailah Jefferson is a native New Orleans filmmaker intrigued and inspired by the enduring human spirit, whose films span fiction and nonfiction. Her acclaimed work has been distributed domestically and internationally on the film festival circuit, theatrically and televised. Nailah’s debut documentary Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache, told the story of the little known African American oyster fishing community in Louisiana in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Oil Spill. The film streamed on Netflix and is now available on the Urban Movie Channel. In 2017, Nailah’s short documentary Essence Magazine’s Black Girl Magic Episode 4 was nominated for a National Magazine Ellie award. That same year, Nailah’s first narrative film Plaquemines was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and streamed on HBO/ Cinemax platforms. Nailah is currently working on her forthcoming documentary Commuted-the story of Danielle Metz, a woman whose triple life plus twenty year drug sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2016 after serving 23 years in prison. The project is also supported by the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Perspective Fund, Southern Documentary Fund, Black Public Media, ITVS and Firelight Media.

Dr. Akiemi Glenn

Akiemi Glenn is the founder and executive director of the Pōpolo Project. She holds an MA and PhD in linguistics from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a BA in linguistics from New York University. Akiemi is a scholar and community worker who specializes in studying culture and facilitating community change on large and small scales. With genealogical ties to the forest and coastal areas currently known as North Carolina and Virginia, her research and work in Indigenous language revitalization in the Pacific and in community-based culture education centers the experience of diaspora and the potential of radical connection for profound change.

Online Access

Nov 18th 12:00 PM - Nov 29th 11:00 PM GET ONLINE ACCESS Get Tickets

Film Available

Screening information is not available for this film.

Cast & Crew

Moderator Dr. Akiemi Glenn
Panelist Nailah Johnson, Stanley Nelson
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