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BrotherMen

Demetria Royals, writer, director, producer

Ms. Royals is an award-winning independent filmmaker whose work has received support from the National Black Programming Consortium, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the American Film Institute, among others.

Ms. Royals directed and co-edited the performance-based feature film documentary Conjure Women (1995, 85:00), which premiered at the 1995 Mill Valley Film Festival and was broadcast nationally on PBS in February 1997, and most recently completed the performance documentary, BrotherMen (2001, 56:00).

She was an Artist-in-Residence at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University (July 1999) and received an additional residency award, "Artist as Catalyst 2000," from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, as well as grants from the Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts Multidisciplinary Arts Program to collaborate on an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage," which she also directed.

She is the recipient of a Writers Fellowship from the Writers Guild of America, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Video and a writing development grant from The Funding Exchange Women's Project Scriptwriting Development Fund for her first dramatic feature.

Ms. Royals premiered her videowall installation on the images of African American women, "Inventing Herself," at the 1993 Mill Valley Film Festival and a re-mounting of "Inventing Herself" at the Majestic Theater of the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of an international arts festival there in the Spring, 1995.

She is the Director/Producer of "Mama's Pushcart: Ellen Stewart and 25 Years of La MaMa E.T.C.," which has won numerous awards and been presented at film and video festivals around the world. Ms. Royals is a Director in the Directors Guild of America (member since 1982) and is qualified in film and videotape.

She earned her Masters of Fine Arts degree from New York University's Graduate Institute of Film and Television and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism also from New York University.

Ms. Royals was a recipient of a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellowship (1994-97), a Research Fellow at the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University and Professor of Media Arts Production at Ramapo College in New Jersey since 1990.

Ms. Royals has also served on numerous arts panels and juries, including the Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. She is currently the Director of the Film Program at Sarah Lawrence College.

>> Demetria Royals' Complete Work List

>> Demetria Royals' Essays on the Artists Featured in BrotherMen

BrotherMen director Demetria Royals, with director of photography Ronald K. Gray

"BrotherMen is my love letter to Black men. It is for the Black men, both known and unknown to me, who brought me and continue to bring me safely across.

"If I were to believe 'the hype,' we as Black men and women are at war, or at best a cold peace, with each other, but to paraphrase the words of mother Maya Angelou, we survived the middle passage together, we stood on the auction block together, and we took the lash together, so how can we not stand with each other now?

"So now it is time for me in my own way and in my own discipline to say to my brothermen, thank you.

"Thank you, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, for helping me to keep the faith and to know that, even as I was sitting in a New England prep school, my experience --though not reflected around me -- was always there through your music.

"Thank you, Pops Staples and sister/daughters Mavis, Yvonne and Cleo Staples, for teaching me the values of always respecting my family tree and always remembering to call on the ancestors, because they would be there when no one else was.

"Thank you, David Roussève, for helping me to understand the cost and price Black men paid and continue to pay because they were not allowed to protect their own and yet still stayed open to love, hope, gentleness and grace.

"And thank you, Chester Higgins, Jr., for reflecting back to myself --starting many, many years ago in your first work that I discovered, 'Black Woman' -- that in your eyes, we as Black women are beautiful.

"Finally, I'd like to dedicate BrotherMen to a brotherman who entered and exited my life in two minutes and touched it forever. I was walking home from grocery shopping in Brooklyn when a man yelled from a truck, 'Hey, sister, can I help you?' I smiled and said, 'No, brother, I'm fine.' He said, 'I know you're fine; that's why I asked can I help you?' For you, wherever you are, and to all our brothermen, thank you."

Demetria Royals

Louise Diamond, producer

Ms. Diamond produced and co-edited the performance-based feature documentaries directed by Demetria Royals, Conjure Women (1995, 85:00, nationally broadcast on PBS in 1997) and, most recently, BrotherMen (2001, 56:00).

She is the Executive Producer of "Mama's Pushcart: Ellen Stewart and 25 Years of La MaMa E.T.C" (1988, 52:00), which won numerous awards, including at the San Francisco International Film and Video Festival, and was broadcast on PBS.

Ms. Diamond has produced the videowall installations by Demetria Royals, "Inventing Herself" (Mill Valley Film Festival, CA., 1993, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, NYC, 1995), as well as produced and collaborated with Ms. Royals on the adaptation of "Mother Courage" in residency workshops, starting at the Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard University (1999). She is a recipient of a 2002 Journalism Fellowship in Child and Family Policy from the University of Maryland.

Ms. Diamond earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Dramatic Writing from New York University.

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Producer Louise Diamond and director Demetria Royals

"It has been my privilege and honor to produce BrotherMen with Demetria Royals. The realization of Demetria's vision as a filmmaker was both supported and inspired first and foremost by the creative talents and extraordinary generosity of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Chester Higgins, Jr., David Roussève, Pops Staples and Mavis, Yvonne and Cleotha Staples, and as well as by their families, their colleagues and their extended communities. I am deeply grateful to all of them for their participation in making this project a reality.

"As independent producers, we benefited from a 'brain trust' created by working with our production funders. With NBPC and WQED Pittsburgh, we were able to receive funding from the Independent Television Service (ITVS) through the LInCS (Local Independents Collaborating with Stations) initiative. The collective insight, expertise and guidance gained by working with WQED, ITVS and NBPC was invaluable in shaping the project and bringing it to the national PBS audience. For their ongoing support, and the additional support of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), my deepest appreciation and thanks."

Louise Diamond

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