Dawn Porter, photo by Kevin Scanlon

Dawn Porter to Keynote PitchBLACK Awards 2022

by Leslie Fields-Cruz

By now, I hope you are already registered to attend PitchBLACK 2022. Slots are filling up quickly, so don’t delay. Whether you come to the Forum on Film Day (April 26) or Immersive Day (April 27), I hope you also plan to join us online Thursday evening (7–8 p.m., April 28), for the PitchBLACK Awards and virtual after party. I’m delighted to announce that Dawn Porter, the award-winning filmmaker, director and producer, will offer the ceremony’s keynote message.

In 2021, Dawn directed and executive produced Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s documentary series on mental illness and mental well-being, titled The Me You Can’t See for Apple TV+. She directed the 2022 NAACP Image Award-nominated Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer (National Geographic), which sheds new light on a century-old period of intense racial conflict — and comes 100 years after the two-day Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Her documentary short, Bree Wayy: Promise Witness Remembrance (MTV Documentaries), also premiered in 2021 and examines how the art world responded to the death of Breonna Taylor by using art not only as a form of protest, but as a space to heal. In 2020, the two-time Sundance Film Festival director released two Emmy Award-nominated documentaries, The Way I See It (Focus Features), which is a look into two American presidencies, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, from the lens of official White House photographer Pete Souza; and John Lewis: Good Trouble (CNN, Magnolia Pictures), the story of the congressman and civil rights icon. That’s just some of what she’s done in the past few years.

Dawn’s prolific body of critically acclaimed work has impacted generations of people from all walks of life. We look forward to her presentation and encourage you to register for PitchBLACK so you won’t miss out.

“Sparking a Revolution from Within,” a conversation with (clockwise from top right) Hana Baba, Eboni Johnson, Khadega Mohammed, Bentley Brown, Moon Nguany, and Ashley Page. Screenshot by Cheryl D. Fields

On Mon., April 11, BPM had the honor of co-hosting our first AfroPoP Season 14 event around one of the series’ films, Revolution from Afar. Kudos to our partners in the Sparking a Revolution from Within event — Maine Film Center, Main Public Television, and Indigo Arts Alliance — and to our program moderator, Hana Baba of NPR’s by KALW; our panelists: Filmmaker Bentley Brown and spoken word artists Khadega Mohammed and Moon Nygany Manchar; and all who attended. If you missed their robust and informative conversation about art, identity and advocacy, or you’d like to re-watch, look for it soon on our website and the BPM Facebook page.

“Visualizing Violence” reception guests engaging Bayete Ross Smith’s XR content at Columbia University Law School, April 11, 2022. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Last week, we co-hosted a reception celebrating the opening of BPMplus Fellow Bayeté Ross Smith’s new exhibit Visualizing Violence, at Columbia University Law School. The exhibit uses immersive media and traditional photography to raise consciousness about racial injustice. Thanks to all who attended and bravo to Bayeté for presenting such powerful work.

I’m also happy to announce that BPMplus Fellow, Ngardy Conteh George — who will pitch at the Immersive Day of PitchBLACK Forum — has been appointed to the Hot Docs board of directors. Congratulations, Ngardy!

Meanwhile, MIT&BPM Fellow Fabiano Mixo’s AR sculpture Mesh Memories is one of the 36 works selected for exhibition at the NewImages Festival’s XR Development Market in Paris this year. Parabéns, Fabiano!

Photo of Ghofrane Binous from “She Had a Dream,” by Raja Amari, “AfroPoP” Season 14, Episode 2

Lastly, I invite you to watch BPM’s AfroPoP Film of the Week, She Had a Dream on World Channel or PBS online sometime this week. It is an inspiring story about a young Tunisian woman’s pursuit of a political office.

As you can see, the BPM family is busy and there are many ways to engage with BPM-funded content this month. We hope you make time to explore.

Fields-Cruz is the executive director of Black Public Media



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