FAMU, WFSU Public Media, and Firelight Partner to Premiere PBS Film “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities”

Jan 23 • 237 Views • View Comments

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Film by Preeminent Storyteller Stanley Nelson
Showcases Florida A&M University’s National Impact

On January 26, 2018, Florida A&M University (FAMU) will partner with WFSU Public Media and Firelight Films to present a public screening of “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” the latest film from Emmy and Peabody Award-winning director Stanley Nelson. The screening is part of a national HBCU Tour and a collaboration between public media stations and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The screening will be held at 7 p.m., in FAMU’s Lee Hall Auditorium, located at 1601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and will be followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the creative team, University leaders, prominent alumni, and other invited guests to talk about the important issues explored in the documentary.

FAMU, WFSU Public Media, and Firelight Media want the community to be a part of the discussion. To participate, interested attendees must RSVP at wfsu.org/ttwarscreening. Media availability with filmmakers and FAMU leaders will be held prior to the start of the film screening.

As a leading HBCU, FAMU’s students, faculty, and leaders play a prominent role in the film, showcasing the valuable impact of the University.

“Florida A&M University has had a tremendous impact on our community. It has provided opportunity and access for many to fulfill their dreams of an education,” said Kim Kelling, Director of Content and Community Partnerships.  “There are FAMU graduates in many leadership positions throughout the area and nation. It is our hope here at WFSU Public Media that this film, ‘Tell Them We Are Rising,’ will help inform our audiences of the value of historically Black colleges and universities. It is so critical to understand the history and legacies of these schools including FAMU.”

The 90-minute film will air nationally on the acclaimed PBS series, “Independent Lens” on Monday, February 19, 2018, from 9 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. EST (check local listings). The film will also be available for online viewing on PBS.org beginning February 20, 2018.

FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., commended Nelson, Firelight Media, PBS, WFSU, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for recognizing and honoring FAMU’s impact and the contributions of all HBCUs by producing and showing the film to local, regional and national audiences. 

“FAMU, and our sister HBCUs, have a rich and dynamic legacy. FAMU alone has provided life-changing educational experiences for more than 75,000 alumni that have gone on to become leaders and innovators who have strengthened our society and affected positive change in places near and far,” said Robinson. “We look forward to sharing our story with the world as we celebrate the life and legacy of HBCU graduate, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this January and pay homage to African Americans in February in honor of Black History Month.”

The screening and tour are a major part of “HBCU Rising,” the yearlong, multi-platform engagement project designed to drive dialogue sparked by the film among a variety of audiences.

Written, directed and produced by Nelson (“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution”) and produced by Firelight Films, “Tell Them We Are Rising” reveals for the first time the complex history of how HBCUs – havens for Black intellectuals, artists and trailblazers – offered a path of promise toward the American dream, educated the architects of freedom movements throughout the decades, and cultivated leaders in every field.

The film also examines the impact HBCUs have had on American history, culture and national identity for more than 150 years.

“We felt it was very important to showcase the film to students on HBCU campuses because this is a vital part of our African-American and American history,” said director Stanley Nelson. “Many students and even alumni are not aware of the deep history of how and why HBCUs were created and the foundation for success they provided for African Americans. We appreciate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s support and the partnership on the ground with local public television and radio stations to make this tour possible.”


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