PBS makes $3.6 million commitment to filmmakers of color, introduces new internal diversity initiatives
PBS has partnered with Firelight Media, the BIPOC non-profit filmmaking org founded by Stanley Nelson (pictured) and Marcia Smith, and pledged an investment of $3.6 million over the next three years to help support projects by mid-career, non-fiction filmmakers of color.
On the programming front, the pubcaster announced that Firelight co-founder Stanley Nelson and Nicole London will co-produce and co-direct a pair of original documentaries: Becoming Frederick Douglass, a portrait of the famed anti-slavery activist; and Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom, about the legendary “Conductor of the Underground Railroad” who helped more than 300 escaped slaves find freedom in the north.
The docs will be produced by Maryland Public Television and Firelight’s production arm Firelight Films, and will premiere on PBS in the fall of 2022. Nelson and Lynne Robinson will executive produce, while Keith M. Brown and Michael English are the executives in charge of production.
“There are no two people more important to our country’s history than Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman,” said Nelson. “We are honored to share their stories with a country that continues to grapple with the impact of slavery and debate notions of citizenship, democracy and freedom.”