Magnolia Pictures and Amazon Studios Velvet Film, Inc., Velvet Film, Artémis Productions, Close Up Films In coproduction with ARTE France, Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), RTS Radio Télévision Suisse, RTBF (Télévision belge), Shelter Prod With the support of Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), Cinereach, PROCIREP – Société des Producteurs, ANGOA, Taxshelter.be, ING, Tax Shelter Incentive of the Federal Government of Belgium, Cinéforom, Loterie Romande Presents I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO A film by Raoul Peck From the writings of James Baldwin
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson 93 minutes
WinnerBest Documentary – Los Angeles Film Critics Association
WinnerBest Writing - IDA Creative Recognition Award
Four Festival Audience Awards – Toronto, Hamptons, Philadelphia, Chicago
Two IDA Documentary Awards Nominations – Including Best Feature
Five Cinema Eye Honors Award Nominations – Including Outstanding
Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking and Direction
Best Documentary Nomination – Film Independent Spirit Awards
Best Documentary Nomination – Gotham Awards
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In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.
Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material. I Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – RAOUL PECK I started reading James Baldwin when I was a 15-year-old boy searching for rational explanations to the contradictions I was confronting in my already nomadic life, which took me from Haiti to Congo to France to Germany and to the United States of America. Together with Aimée Césaire, Jacques Stéphane Alexis, Richard Wright, Gabriel García Márquez and Alejo Carpentier, James Baldwin was one of the few authors that I could call “my own.” Authors who were speaking of a world I knew, in which I was not just a footnote. They were telling stories describing history and defining structure and human relationships which matched what I was seeing around me. I could relate to them. You always need a Baldwin book by your side.
I came from a country which had a strong idea of itself, which had fought and won against the most powerful army of the world (Napoleon's) and which had, in a unique historical manner, stopped slavery in its tracks, creating the first successful slave revolution in the history of the world, in 1804.
I am talking about Haiti, the first free country of the Americas. Haitians always knew the real story. And they also knew that the dominant story was not the real story.
The successful Haitian Revolution was ignored by history (as Baldwin would put it: because of the bad niggers we were) because it was imposing a totally different narrative, which would have rendered the dominant slave narrative of the day untenable. The colonial conquests of the late nineteenth century would have been ideologically impossible if deprived of their civilizational justification. And this justification would have no longer been needed if the whole world knew that these “savage” Africans had already annihilated their powerful armies (especially French and British) less than a century ago.
So what the four superpowers of the time did in an unusually peaceful consensus, was to shut down Haiti, the very first black Republic, put it under strict economical embargo and strangle it to its knees into oblivion and poverty.
And then they rewrote the whole story.
Flash forward. I remember my years in New York as a child. A more civilized time, I thought. It was the sixties. In the kitchen of this huge middle-class apartment in the former Jewish neighborhoods of Brooklyn, where we lived with several other families, there was a kind of large oriental rug with effigies of John Kennedy and Martin Luther King hanging on the wall, the two martyrs, both legends of the time.
Except the tapestry was not telling the whole truth. It naively ignored the hierarchy between the two figures, the imbalance of power that existed between them. And thereby it nullified any ability to understand these two parallel stories that had crossed path for a short time, and left in their wake the foggy miasma of misunderstanding.
I grew up in a myth in which I was both enforcer and actor. The myth of a single and unique America. The script was well written, the soundtrack allowed no ambiguity, the actors of this utopia, black or white, were convincing. The production means of this Blockbuster-Hollywood picture were phenomenal. With rare episodic setbacks, the myth was strong, better; the myth was life, was reality. I remember the Kennedys, Bobby and John, Elvis, Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Dr. Richard Kimble, and Mary Tyler Moore very well. On the other hand, Otis Redding, Paul Robeson, and Willie Mays are only vague reminiscences. Faint stories "tolerated" in my memorial hard disk. Of course there was "Soul Train" on television, but it was much later, and on Saturday morning, where it wouldn't offend any advertisers.
Medgar Evers died on June 12, 1963.
Malcolm X died on February 21, 1965.
And Martin Luther King Jr. died on April 4, 1968.
In the course of five years, these three men were assassinated.
These three men were black, but it is not the color of their skin that connected them. They fought on quite different battlefields. And quite differently. But in the end, all three were deemed dangerous. They were unveiling the haze of racial confusion.
James Baldwin also saw through the system. And he loved these men. These assassinations broke him down.
He was determined to expose the complex links and similarities among these three individuals. He was going to write about them. He was going to write his ultimate book, Remember This House, about them.
I came upon these three men and their assassination much later. These three facts, these elements of history, from the starting point, the "evidence" you might say, form a deep and intimate personal reflection on my own political and cultural mythology, my own experiences of racism and intellectual violence.
This is exactly the point where I really needed James Baldwin. Baldwin knew how to deconstruct stories. He helped me in connecting the story of a liberated slave in its own nation, Haiti, and the story of modern United States of America and its own painful and bloody legacy of slavery. I could connect the dots.
I looked to the films of Haile Gerima. Of Charles Burnett. These were my elders when I was a youth.
Baldwin gave me a voice, gave me the words, gave me the rhetoric. All I knew through instinct or through experience, Baldwin gave it a name and a shape. I had all the intellectual weapons I needed.
For sure, we will have strong winds against us. The present time of discord and confusion is an unavoidable element. I am not naive to think that the road ahead will be easy or that the attacks will not be at time vicious. My commitment to make sure that this film will not be buried or sideline is uncompromising.
We are in it for the long run. Whatever time and effort it takes.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
“For a project like this one, a lot of patience, time and risks are involved. And at the early stage it’s almost impossible to convince anyone about the film to come. And than after a lot of research, writing and editing, in that order, there comes a time when what you really, really need and above all is: trust. In this case, it was ITVS and executive producer of Independent Lens, Lois Vossen who came at the right time, with courage and conviction. This is rare today among funders.”
When Raoul Peck first met Gloria Karefa-Smart, James Baldwin's sister and executor of the Estate, one of the first items she gave him was a letter written by her brother to his literary agent Jay Acton, in which he informs him of his decision to write, as his next book, and possibly his last: Remember This House. For the next ten years, he would have the rights to Baldwin’s entire body of work. He knew that he wanted to bring Baldwin to the screen, even if it would be a painful and complex endeavor.
Initially, he planned to create, as with his project Lumumba, a narrative film and a documentary. After several unsuccessful runs in Hollywood to get the project into development, he decided to concentrate on producing the documentary first. But he wasn’t sure how to go about this.
Then one day, Gloria, gave him a pile of neatly (and partly crossed out) typewritten pages and a letter. “You’ll know what to do with this,” she said. That was it, the film to be: To assume that the book did exist. It was buried everywhere in Baldwin’s body of work and public presentations. Our job was to find it and recreate it from all the pieces.
Peck’s intent with I Am Not Your Negrois to lead viewers along the complex political road of the “memorable” lives of Malcom, Medgar and Martin, using only Baldwin's own words, and leaning heavily on the text of Remember This House.
I Am Not Your Negro exists at the intersection of films like Celluloid Closet and Concerning Violence. It pulls still and moving images from a variety of sources to weave an immersive audiovisual tapestry. From young black Dorothy Counts confronting a large, aggressive, white mob by herself on her way to attend her first day of school, to Peck’s peculiar filmic analysis of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Sidney Poitier's role in Hollywood cinema, I Am Not Your Negro immerses itself in the fabrication of the black image in news reports, reality TV, music videos, and Hollywood legends.
I Am Not Your Negro is an essay about images, their origins, discourse and ultimately their impact on our collective consciousness.
Why James Baldwin?
James Baldwin (1924-1987) was one of the greatest North-American writers of the second half of the twentieth century. He was raised in Harlem and, at age 24, frustrated by the state of race relations in America and regular incidences of harassment, left the U.S. for France where he would live for most of the rest of his life.
A prolific writer and brilliant social critic, he foreshadowed the destructive trends happening today in the western world and beyond, while always maintaining a sense of humanistic hope and dignity. He explored palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies and the inevitable if unnamable tensions with personal identity, assumptions, uncertainties, yearning, and questing. He had an unrivaled understanding of politics and history, and above all, the human condition.
He worked across many genres: essays, novels, autobiography, plays. His major works include Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time and If Beale Street Could Talk. His output was massive. For Peck, “His prose is laser sharp. His onslaught is massive and leaves no room for response. Every sentence is an immediate cocked grenade. You pick it up, then realize that it is too late. It just blows up in your face. And yet he still managed to stay human, tender, accessible.”
Why Now? Today James Baldwin’s words still catch us unprepared and with the same violent truth. There will hardly ever be anything as precise, as just, as subtle, as more percussive, than the writing of this man. He understood all: politics, history, and most of all, the human factor.
Baldwin survived the magicians, the gurus and the smooth talkers of his time, black or whites. His thoughts are as effective today as when they were first expressed. His analysis, his judgment, his verdicts are even more percussive today than when originally written.
There has been an evolution, but within today's context of extreme violence in America, especially against blacks, I Am Not Your Negro attempts to analyze and understand the deeper structural explanation. Peck again: “Despite progress, Martin seems quite lonely on the mountain top.”
The cycles of violence and confusion condemned by Baldwin continue, trivialized and distorted by the influence of the press, television, Hollywood, and angry partisan politics.
How do we break these cycles when we never touch the real issues themselves? How do we address the fundamental problems of America? Never before has Baldwin's voice been so needed, so powerful, so radical, so visionary.
Dramatic Construction I Am Not Your Negro reclaims James Baldwin's quest. Through this quest, Peck also re-appropriates his own story. It is James Baldwin's words that viewers hear, but it is Peck’s experience that provides the foundation, structure, rhythm, and turning points of the film. It is the director’s own emotional syntax.
By documenting these three 'memorable' lives (Evers, King, Malcolm), Peck aims to dissect Obama's America and revisit the central argument of a so-called "Negro problem in America." Obama unfortunately did not erase the dominant storyline. The brief euphoria of Obama's emergence, did not suddenly heal all wounds of a country built on blood (especially the blood of others).
Against Obama’s undeniable presence, Peck sets the reality, no less essential, of decades of myths and one-sided storytelling. For Peck, “Despite any real or perceived ‘progress,’ we cannot avoid questioning the accuracy of the new symbols of change.”
A Subjective Filmic Approach Inspired by other filmmakers such as Chris Marker, Alexander Kluge, and even Jean-Luc Godard, Peck wanted to return to his roots as a filmmaker (i.e. Lumumba, death of a prophet). For him it was a time when innocence allowed him to take risks, when political and aesthetic experimentation had no limits, when there was no model, no margin, no mark, and no dogma that couldn't be pulverized. His goal was to, “question everything again and reclaim my freedom and my subjectivity.”
The result is a rare experiment with words, form, images, music, humor, poetry and drama that is up to the task of capturing the harsh reality of violence, rape, racism, exploitation, abuse, massacre and injustice.
Voice The narrator of the film is Baldwin himself, with his violent, inescapable, insurmountable prose. Every word in this film is Baldwin's, from his books, essays, interviews, broadcasts, speeches, films (with only very limited “technical” adjustments). They are words which come from another era, but which still resonate deeply today.
To speak these words, Peck needed a “personality,” a familiar voice and presence that would not distract from the essential. He chose Samuel L. Jackson who wholeheartedly embraced the film and its approach.
The film is primarily visual and musical. I Am Not Your Negro uses archival images from private and public photos; film clips, Hollywood classics, documentaries, film and TV interviews, popular TV shows, TV debates, public debates and contemporary images. It is a kaleidoscope, featuring a frantic and poetic assemblage (a medley), all in Baldwin's very own, peculiar style.
The images punctuate the words and the music and vice versa. By revisiting the traditional “Black” iconography, with its clichés, the unspoken, the fundamental errors of interpretation and even, at times, the paternalistic prudery, I Am Not Your Negro redefines their meaning and impact.
Peck changed not only the framing of his images, but their traditional use and their “editing” as well. He changed the backgrounds, detached portions, enlarged a smile, scratched out a tear. The goal was to deconstruct original intentions and thus expose a new meaning to accepted iconography, unveil buried secrets or unknown truths of the time. Familiar B&W images were colored, actual current images were transferred to B&W.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS Raoul Peck (Director/Producer/Writer)
Raoul Peck’s complex body of work includes feature narrative films like The Man by the Shore (Competition Cannes 1993), Lumumba (Director’s Fortnight, Cannes 2000, bought and aired by HBO), Sometimes in April (HBO, Berlinale 2005), Moloch Tropical(Toronto 2009, Berlin 2010) and Murder inPacot (Toronto 2014, Berlin 2015).
His documentaries include Lumumba, Death of a Prophet (1990), Desounen (1994, BBC) and Fatal Assistance (Berlinale,Hot Docs 2013) which was supported by the Sundance Institute and Britdoc Foundation (UK) and broadcast on major TV channels (Canal+, ARTE, etc.)
He has served as jury member at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and at the Berlinale, is presently chairman of the board of the National French film school La Fémis, and has been the subject of numerous retrospectives worldwide. In 2001, the Human Rights Watch Organization awarded him with the Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award.
He recently completed shooting his latest feature film, The Young Karl Marx, a European coproduction, shot in Germany and Belgium (produced by Velvet Film, in coproduction with Agat Films).
FILMS BY RAOUL PECK
1988 - Haitian Corner Locarno, Forum - Berlin
1993 - The Man by the Shore Official Competition Cannes Film Festival
2000 - Lumumba Director’s Fortnight, Cannes
2005 - Sometimes in April (HBO) Official Competition Berlin
2009 - Moloch Tropical (ARTE) Toronto, Dubai, Berlin, Tribeca
2014 - MurderinPacot Toronto, Berlin
2017 - The Young Karl Marx (Canal+, France Télévisions, SWR, RTBF) Script by Pascal Bonitzer and Raoul Peck. Velvet Film, Agat Films (France), RohFilm (Gerrmany), Artémis Productions (Belgium)
Documentaries 1991 - Lumumba - Death of a Prophet Award for Best Documentary, Festival de Fribourg, New York Film Festival, Cinéma du Réel
1994 - Desounen, Dialogue with Death (BBC, ARTE)
1994 - Haiti, Silence of the Dogs (ARTE)
2001 - Profit and nothing but! (ARTE, RTBF)
2013 - Fatal Assistance (ARTE, Canal+ Overseas, RTBF, RTS, Sundance Documentary Film program, Channel 4 BritDoc Foundation) Berlin, San Francisco, Hot Docs
2016 - I Am Not Your Negro (ARTE, Independent Lens, RTS, RTBF)TIFF
1997 - It’s all about love Festival de Montréal
2006 - L’AffaireVillemin (6x60’, ARTE, France 3) Price of the Union of French Critics
2008 - L’écoleduPouvoir (4x60’, CANAL+, ARTE) Festival Européen des 4 Ecrans
Samuel L. Jackson (Narration)
Appearing in well over 100 films, Samuel L. Jackson is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. Jackson’s portrayal of ‘Jules’, the philosopher hitman, in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” made an indelible mark on American cinema. In addition to unanimous critical acclaim, he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations as well as a Best Supporting Actor award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Jackson recently appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s highly anticipated Western “The Hateful Eight.” He starred as Major Marquis Warren, alongside Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Channing Tatum and Kurt Russell. In addition, Jackson appeared in Spike Lee’s newest film “Chiraq,” which released in December 2015. This summer, Jackson was seen in David Yates’ “The Legend of Tarzan,” starring alongside Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie and Christoph Waltz and was most recently seen in Tim Burton’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which was released in September. Jackson completed production on the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures film “Kong: Skull Island” which will release in March 2017 and just wrapped production on Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” with Ryan Reynolds and Gary Oldman.
In 2012, he co-starred in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” as ‘Stephen,’ with Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio. He also starred in “The Avengers,” which is part of his 9-picture deal with Marvel Studios. The highly anticipated film opened on May 4, 2012 to a record breaking $200 million opening weekend.
Jackson reprised his role as ‘Nick Fury’ in both Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which was released in April 2014, and the 2015 sequel “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” In February 2015, he starred alongside Colin Firth and Taron Egerton in Matthew Vaughn’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”
Jackson made his Broadway debut in 2011 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in “The Mountaintop,” where he portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. The play also starred Angela Bassett and was directed by Kenny Leon.
Jackson’s career began onstage upon his graduation from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a degree in dramatic arts. Among the plays were Home, A Soldier’s Play, Sally/Prince and The District Line. He also originated roles in two of August Wilson’s plays at Yale Repertory Theatre. For the New York Shakespeare Festival, Jackson appeared in Mother Courage and Her Children, Spell #7, and TheMighty Gents.
Past film credits also include: “RoboCop,” “Oldboy,” “Mother and Child,” “Iron Man 2,” HBO’s “The Sunset Limited,” “Lakeview Terrace,” “Soul Men,” “The Spirit,” “Jumper,” “Resurrecting the Champ,” “1408,” “Black Snake Moan,” “Snakes on a Plane,” “Freedomland,” “Coach Carter,” “Star Wars: Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith,” “The Incredibles,” “S.W.A.T,” “Changing Lanes,” “Formula 51,” “Stars Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” “Caveman’s Valentine,” “Eve’s Bayou,” “Unbreakable,” “Rules of Engagement,” “Shaft,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace,” “The Negotiator,” “The Red Violin,” “Jackie Brown,” “187,” “A Time to Kill,” “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “Jungle Fever”, “Sphere,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “Ragtime,” “Sea of Love,” “Coming to America,” “Do the Right Thing,” “School Daze,” “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Goodfellas,” “ Patriot Games,” and “True Romance.”
On the small screen, Jackson served as Executive Producer for the Spike TV animated series, “Afro Samurai” which premiered in 2007. The series received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Animated Program from the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences. The first edition of the “Afro Samurai” video game launched in February 2009.
On television, in addition to “The Sunset Limited,” Jackson starred in John Frankenheimer’s Emmy Award-winning “Against the Wall” for HBO. His performance earned him a Cable Ace nomination as Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries, as well as a Golden Globe nomination.
Alexandra Strauss (Editor)
Editor for 20 years, Alexandra Strauss started as the assistant to veteran editor, Martine Barraque (editor of most of François Truffaut’s films). Strauss has also worked with internationally renowned filmmakers Philippe Garrel, Roy Andersson (including his latest film, winner of the 2014 Venice Golden Lion) and with Raoul Peck on his last four films. She also wrote two books on painting: Les démons de Jérôme Bosch (Gallimard, 2010), Odilon Redon, Les attaches invisibles (SW Télémaque, 2011).
Alexei Aigui (Composer)
A Russian composer and violinist, Aigui works between Russia and Europe where he often tours with is band Ensemble 4’33". Known for accompanying live masterpieces of Russian silent cinema, he also composes film scores in Russia and France. He composed the score of Raoul Peck’s six last films.
Sam Pollard (Consulting Editor)
Sam Pollard, has been in the film business for over thirty years. His recent directorial effort Two Trains Runnin' opened at the 2016 New York Film Festival. Pollard is also the director of August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On and Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun. He has produced numerous other documentaries, including Spike Lee’s Academy Award-nominated 4 Little Girls. He won an Emmy for his work on the series Eyes on the Prize II.
Henry Adebonojo (Director of Photography)
Henry’s career in film began in 1985 as a production assistant on a police training film for the NYPD. A good place to start for someone who had no prior background in the industry. It was with a keen interest in photography and knowledge of his interest in cinematography that he was drawn to the industry.
As a production assistant, Henry worked on a variety of projects that included commercials, feature films, music videos and documentaries. He gleaned the painstaking nature of creating photographic imagery primarily from working on commercials as well as the spontaneity require to tell a story in the documentary arena and everything in between. In making a career path toward cinematography he judged his best option to be joining the camera department in NABET LOCAL 15 in 1988 and is currently a member of IATSE Local 600 camera guild.
Around 1991, Henry found he was being asked to serve as a second or third camera operator on music video and music related projects and this eventually led to opportunities to serve as cinematographer full time in the music video and documentary arena by 1993. This was in an era when budgets for such job were miniscule compared to what one finds these days, consequently one was forced to do a lot with very little in the way of equipment or time. These, however, are the kinds of challenges that Henry thrives on.
Henry has always believed in keeping the range of work varied and feels he has benefited as a result, in as much as his work as a cinematographer has covered a wide variety of forms with a very diverse range of subjects and budgets. It does require a certain amount of flexibility in the creative approach and understanding to handle the visual challenges and accomplishment required on a commercial and turn around to do a documentary where one has to deal with the unknown or unexpected. The creative thought process for this myriad of projects differs radically and at the same time elements from each one can be used to nourish and refresh the other.
Much the same approach has been taken to determine which projects are to be shot on film and which ones are shot digitally.
Henry has enjoyed the challenge of shooting music videos, commercials, promos, documentaries and short films. The one challenge that has remained elusive is feature films.
In the music video arena, Henry has worked with the likes of Public Enemy, Naughty By Nature, Jay Z, X-Scape, Solo and Roy Jones Jr. to mention a few.
Commercial and Promo clients include McDonald’s, Crest, AT&T, HBO, BET, Showtime, Nickelodeon and a host of others. Other projects have included pilots for Court TV and The Style Network as well as a host of public service announcements and Black History Promos.
Henry’s work in documentaries over the years includes contributions to PBS docs including “Paul Robeson - Here I Stand” directed by St Clair Bourne, “Richard Wright - Black Boy” directed by Madison Davis Lacy, “Ralph Ellison – An American Journey” directed by Avon Kirkland, as well as independent releases like “Venus and Serena” directed by Maiken Baird and Michelle Major and “In A Perfect World” directed by Daphne McWilliams.
In 2001, Henry was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the documentary “Half Past Autumn - The Life and Works of Gordon Parks” for HBO directed by Craig Rice, and in the same year, the documentary “On Hallowed Ground – The Championships of the Rucker” a basketball documentary program directed by Kip and Kern Konwiser won a Sports Emmy for best documentary subject.
Bill and Turner Ross (Director of Photography)
The Ross Brothers are a documentary filmmaking team whose works have been featured at museums and festivals throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the British Film Institute, London. Their work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, the Rooftop Filmmaker’s Fund, Cinereach, The San Francisco Film Society and the late Roger Ebert. Their first feature film, 45365, was the winner of the 2009 SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature and the Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award. They went on to receive numerous accolades, including nominations for Editing, Cinematography, and Debut Feature at the Cinema Eye Honors; the film was also broadcast as part of PBS’ Independent Lens. Their second feature, Tchoupitoulas, had its world premiere at SXSW in 2012 and premiered internationally at CPH:DOX, where it won Special Mention. It went on to receive awards at the Ashland Independent Film Festival (Best Documentary), the Dallas International Film Festival (Grand Jury Prize), and HotDocs (Emerging Artist Award). In 2015, they premiered Western at the Sundance Film Festival where it was presented the Jury Award for Verite Filmmaking. Western went on to receive a number of notable awards, including the SXSW Louis Black Lonestar Award, The AIFF Les Blank Award for Best Feature Length Documentary, and the San Francisco International Film Festival Golden Gate Award, among others. Their latest project, Contemporary Color, premiered as the Opening Film of the World Documentary Competition at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, where it also took the top prizes for Cinematography and Editing. In the fall of 2016 they were voted one of the Ten Documentary Filmmakers of the Decade by the Cinema Eye Honors.
CREDITS Velvet Film, Inc. (USA)
Velvet Film (France)
present in coproduction with
Close Up Films
in coproduction with
Independent Television Service (ITVS)
RTS Radio Télévision suisse
RTBF (Télévision belge)
with the support of
Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée
MEDIA Programme of the European Union
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC)
PROCIREP – Société des Producteurs
Tax Shelter Incentive of the Federal Government of Belgium
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO a film by
with the voice of
Samuel L. Jackson
Animation and Graphics
Director of Photography
Bill and Turner Ross
Music Composed by
Valérie Le Docte
With the full support and collaboration of the James Baldwin Estate
Nina Shaw, Dawn Porter, Eileen Ahearn, Arthur Jaffa Fielder, Charles Ferraro, Rich Blint, Douglas Field, Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell (NYU), Chris Choy, John Betsch, Sam Pollard, Russell Banks, Martine Saada, Dick Fontaine
For her total dedication to this project, her trust and her unfailing support
The Producers Thank
Joanna Dunis, Volney McFarlin, Jordan Rozansky, Tom Greenberg, Sandy Hart, Victoria Iossifova, Françoise Davideau, Paul M. Zukowsky, Sara Rastegar, Nathalie Geoffroy, Van Reeth, Maeyaert, Wilbur Leguebe, Audrey Rosenberg, Reg E. Cathey, Olivier Mille, Kirsten Johnson, Douglas Field, Jessica Lacy, Peter Van Steemburg, Anais Clanet, Aperitif Bistro, McCarren Hotel & Pool, Bronx Community College
Insurances BCOH – CIRCLES GROUP / www.circlesgroup.com
Reiff & Associates
Robert Taylor Insurance Secrétariat social Christophe Dumortier
Laboratory Studio L’Equipe Brussels
Studio La Ruche
Sound Edit Facilities The Post Box
Re-Recording Studio Studio L’Equipe Brussels
Foley Recording Studio L’Equipe Brussels
Nu Boyana Film JSC
Technicolor at Paramount
A United States of America – France – Belgium – Switzerland Coproduction LOGO Velvet Film
With the support of Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée
MEDIA Programme of the European Union
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
Director of the Documentary Film Program
Labs and Artist Support Director
Film Fund Director
Film Fund Manager
Film Fund Assistant
with support from
Open Society Foundations
Ford Foundation JustFilms
National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC)
Executive Producer for NBPC
Director of Programs and Acquisitions
Head of Creative Initiatives
PROCIREP – Société des Producteurs
Communication & Event Manager
Senior Account Manager
Netty de Cocq
Executive Production in Belgium
Artébis Executive Producer
Business and Legal Affairs
Emmanuel Van Melkebeke
Post Production Assistant
Anid Lobato de Faria
Scribe Video Center, Inc.
U.S. and Canada Sales Representative
Foreign Sales Representative
This project was presented in the Rough Cut Projects category of the 2015 IDFA Forum
(International Film Festival Amsterdam)
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO is a co-production of Velvet Film, Inc., Velvet Film S.A.S., Artémis Productions, Close Up Films, ARTE France, RTS, RTBF, Shelter Prod and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) presented in association with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)