Space Scientists of Color, and the “Afronauts”

What drives humankind to explore? There are several factors that can embolden a person to “seek out new civilizations” or “boldly go where no one has gone before,” to borrow from Star Trek’s famous opener. History has taught us that famine, war, strife, and persecution can drive people away from their home country, yet positive things like opportunity or hope for a better life can draw us towards the unknown. READ MORE

Wrestle

Wrestle goes inside the lives of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School–a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools. Teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan show that needing a win can be about much more than just beating your opponent on the mat.

Filmmakers Capture Young Men Wrestling to Succeed and Be Seen

The story of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School–a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools–and their tough-love coach coming to terms with his own past, Wrestle is “superb,” wrote Kenneth Turan in the LA Times. “Just as sports mirror society, so do the best sports films not only take us inside games and those who play them but also provide insight into our world and how it works.” He rightly adds, “One reason Wrestle is so effective is that [the directors] and cinematographer Sinisa Kukic made the decision to move to Huntsville for the duration of the shoot. What resulted was not only 650 hours of footage but the benefit of countless additional time spent just hanging out with the protagonists.”

Herbert and co-director Belfer spoke to us about how they came to make this film and that decision to move to Alabama for a long while, as well as how the kids are doing today.  READ MORE

High School Coaches Wear Many Hats to Make an Impact

Driving kids home from practice, taking them to visit colleges, running and lifting weights with them out of season, answering the phone in the middle of the night when something has gone wrong — these are just a few of the many roles sports coaches take on for their players. The player/coach relationship can be special, as seen in the film Wrestle, it can be a chance for young people to connect with a mentor who knows them individually and pushes them through their struggles. READ MORE

Wrestle – Sweating the Weigh-In – Clip

In this excerpt from the film Wrestle, on the night before a big meet, high school wrestling Coach Scribner and a supportive group of teammates and family stay up with an exhausted Jaquan who needs to drop 5 pounds overnight to make his weight class or he’ll have to forfeit. “You got this Jaquan,” the … READ MORE

Charm City

Filmed over a violent three-year period in Baltimore, Charm City profiles a group of police, citizens, community leaders and government officials who, with grit and compassion, survive in and work to improve the vibrant neighborhoods they call home.

What “The Wire” Got Right, and Wrong, About Baltimore (and How “Charm City” Fills in the Rest)

By Lee Gardner Baltimoreans who venture beyond the I-695 beltway always know it’s coming. We meet someone from another city, or another country. They find out we’re from Baltimore, and after a suitably polite length of get-to-know-you chat, they bring up the award-winning HBO series The Wire. And really, it’s okay. There are worse things than … READ MORE

Children Own Their Stories in Tre Maison Dasan

Denali Tiller has been an artist, a teacher, a world traveler, and was named one of 110 “Filmmakers to Watch” by Variety, but Tre Maison Dasan happens to be her feature film debut, even if it is so assured and naturalistic that this is hard to believe. The film is told in collaboration with its … READ MORE

Five Questions About Fred Rogers with Morgan Neville

“When I met Joanne Rogers, I told her I wanted to make a film not about Fred Rogers’ story but about his ideas,” filmmaker Morgan Neville wrote about Won’t You Be My Neighbor? “She smiled and said that sounded pretty good, because Fred had always said his own story was the most boring story of all … READ MORE

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Trailer

For over thirty years, American children grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS. Mr. Rogers offered a calm and stable presence, tackling life’s weightiest issues in a simple, direct way. Won’t You Be My Neighbor reflects on Fred Rogers’ legacy of kindness, and the profound and lasting effect his innovative approach to television had … READ MORE