The feature-length 16mm documentary James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket has received stellar reviews and awards. Honored at festivals in over two-dozen countries – including Sundance, London, Berlin and Tokyo – BALDWIN was described as “Splendid” by Variety, “A video page-turner” by The San Francisco Chronicle, and “A haunting, beautifully made biography” by the Los Angeles Times. “Stays with you after the program ends,” said the New York Times.
An emotional portrait, a social critique, and a passionate plea for human equality, James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket is now considered a classic. Without using narration, the film allows Baldwin to tell his own story: exploring what it means to be born black, impoverished, gay and gifted – in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.”
BALDWIN is a vérité feast. Intercutting rarely-seen archival footage from over one hundred sources and nine different countries, the film melds intimate interviews and eloquent public speeches with astounding private glimpses of Baldwin. The film also includes a rich selection of original footage: scenes from Baldwin’s extraordinary funeral service; explorations of Baldwin’s homes on three continents, including France, Switzerland, Turkey and Harlem; plus on-camera interviews with close friends, colleagues and critics. Witnesses include his brother David; biographer David Leeming; writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, William Styron, Ishmael Reed and Yashar Kemal; painter Lucien Happersberger and entertainer Bobby Short. Cinéma Vérité … Passé.
Back in 1989, James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket premiered on PBS/AMERICAN MASTERS. Since then, repeated PBS broadcasts have reached millions of people. The film has also been broadcast widely in Europe and Asia – and in 1998, an hour-long version was produced for French National Television. Today, in honor of the 25th anniversary of James Baldwin’s death, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, PBS/American Masters will be broadcasting this documentary film classic on August 23rd, 2013.