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HOW THE KILLING OF 18 YEAR OLD MIKE BROWN
INSPIRED A COMMUNITY TO FIGHT BACK.
A PEOPLE'S DOCUMENTARY

THE ACTIVISTS AND LEADERS WHO LIVE AND BREATHE THIS MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE BRING YOU WHOSE STREETS? - A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE FERGUSON UPRISING. WHEN UNARMED TEENAGER MICHAEL BROWN IS KILLED BY POLICE AND THEN LEFT LYING IN THE STREET FOR HOURS, IT MARKS A BREAKING POINT FOR THE RESIDENTS OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY. GRIEF, LONG-STANDING TENSION, AND RENEWED ANGER BRING RESIDENTS TOGETHER TO HOLD VIGIL AND PROTEST THIS LATEST TRAGEDY. IN THE DAYS THAT FOLLOW, ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS TURN INTO FREEDOM FIGHTERS, STANDING ON THE FRONT LINES TO DEMAND JUSTICE. AS THE NATIONAL GUARD DESCENDS ON FERGUSON, a small suburb of St. Louis, WITH MILITARY GRADE WEAPONRY, THESE YOUNG COMMUNITY MEMBERS BECOME THE TORCHBEARERS OF A NEW WAVE OF RESISTANCE.

FOR THIS GENERATION, THE BATTLE IS NOT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, BUT FOR THE RIGHT TO LIVE.

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Director's Statement


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Director's Statement


Directors' statement

Every day Americans experience a mediascape that humanizes whiteness, delving into the emotional lives of privileged white protagonists while portraying people of color as two-dimensional (and mostly negative) stereotypes. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the case of Mike Brown, who, in spite of being college bound & well regarded by his community, was portrayed as a "thug" and a "criminal." For this reason, it is essential that Black people be the ones to tell our own true stories.

Ferguson has experienced media colonization since August 9th; as all eyes turned to the protests, the Grand Jury, and the response to the non-indictment, people became desensitized by the scenes of chaos. The image of Mike Brown's tragic final moment, pants low, one shoe strewn across the street, became a meme. The victim, a young boy with a bright future, became an object of discussion -subject to apathy,  judgment, and even ridicule, but rarely compassion.  The dehumanization of Mike Brown was perpetrated by his murderer, perpetuated by the media, and reinforced by violent police repression of his community.  This was a modern day lynching.  

We are intimately aware of how we are portrayed in the media and how this portrayal encourages both conscious and unconscious racial bias. We are uniquely suited to make this film because we ourselves are organizers, activists and we are deeply connected to the events of August 9th and beyond. We are making this film, in part, as tribute to our people—our deeply complex, courageous, flawed, powerful, and ever hopeful people—who dare to dream of brighter days. This is more than a documentary...this is a story we personally lived. This is our story to tell.  

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photos


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photos


PHOTOS

Photo credits: Lucas Alvarado Farrar

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TEAM


TEAM

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TEAM


TEAM

SABAAH FOLAYAN / DIRECTOR, PRODUCER

Sabaah Folayan is an activist and storyteller born and raised in South Central LA. As an advocate at Rikers Island, Folayan interviewed incarcerated people about their experiences with trauma. She later helped organize The Millions March, one of the largest marches for racial justice in New York history, in response to the non-indictment of the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death. Folayan entered the world of storytelling through theater, attending the Lee Strasberg Institute of Theatre and Film as a teenager, and performing as a member of the Black Theater Ensemble while a pre-med student at Columbia University. In September 2014, she went to Ferguson with cinematographer Lucas Alvarado-Farrar to learn the truth behind the dramatic scenes playing out on the news. Hearing the stories from the community inspired her to embark on her directorial debut Whose Streets?, landing her a coveted spot on Filmmaker Magazine’s annual “25 New Faces of Independent Film” along with Co-Director Damon Davis. Folayan recently directed an episode of Glamour Magazine + The Girl Project’s Get Schooled web series presented by Maybelline. She is a 2015 Firelight Media Producers Lab Fellow, 2016 Chicken & Egg Accelerator Lab Fellow, and 2016 Sundance Institute Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow.

DAMON DAVIS / CO-DIRECTOR, PRODUCER

Damon Davis is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist who works and resides in St. Louis, Missouri. His scope includes illustration, painting, printmaking, music, film, and public art. Davis has work in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn and the San Diego Contemporary Museum of Art. Acclaimed cultural critic and scholar Jeff Chang licensed Davis’ piece, All Hands on Deck, as the cover art for Chang’s 2016 book “We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation.” For his work as the founder of independent music and art imprint, Far Fetched, Davis received The Riverfront Times Master Mind Award (2013), St. Louis Soup Across the Delmar Divide Award (2013), and Best Hip Hop Producer SLUMfest Award (2014). He is also a Regional Arts Commission Community Arts Training Fellow (2012) and was named to Alive Magazine's Buzz List (2013). The documentary short A Story To Tell (2013), which profiled Davis, his work, and the creative process, won an Emmy Award Mid America for Best Short Form Program. Whose Streets? is Davis’ first foray into feature-length documentary; Filmmaker Magazine selected him and Director Sabaah Folayan for their “25 New Faces of Independent Film 2016.” Davis is a 2015 Firelight Media Producers Lab Fellow and a 2016 Sundance Institute Music and Sound Design Lab Fellow at Skywalker Sound.

JENNIFER MACARTHUR / PRODUCER 

Jennifer MacArthur is a creative producer and media strategist. She founded the social impact strategy firm Borderline Media in 2008. Borderline’s strategy work includes Almost Sunrise (2016), Southern Rites (HBO, 2015), and the Emmy nominated films Gideon’s Army (HBO, 2013) and Traces of the Trade (POV, 2008). MacArthur also advised on America Divided (EPIX, 2016), American Promise (POV, 2014), and Oscar nominated Dirty Wars (IFC, 2013). BRITDOC selected MacArthur for their inaugural Impact Producers Retreat in 2012. She later established the peer support network Impact Producers Group and launched Impact Socials, a networking event for creative change-makers. Borderline co-hosted Impact Socials with POV, Sundance Institute, Skoll Foundation and BRITDOC. MacArthur’s commitment to field-building keeps her active on the festival circuit as an industry delegate, a Lab Leader for IFP Labs, and a mentor for Good Pitch and Tribeca New Media. It has also taken her to Melbourne, Guadalajara, and Amsterdam for keynotes addressing neoliberalism, big data, white privilege, social movements, and low-fi transmedia. MacArthur is a 2016 Sundance Creative Producing Summit Fellow, 2016 Opportunity Agenda Creative Change Leader, 2015 Rockwood JustFilms Fellow and 2015 NAMAC Creative Lab Leader. Recently, she joined the Industry Advisory Board for the Camden International Film Festival/Points North Institute.

CHRIS RENTERIA / CO-PRODUCER 

Chris is a commercial and documentary photographer and­ filmmaker based in St Louis, Missouri. He captured hundreds of hours of footage and evocative stills on the streets of Ferguson and St. Louis in the wake of Michael Brown’s killing. Several of these formed part of the collaborative Ferguson photo retrospective Wade in the Water held at the Kranzberg Arts Center. Chris also produced a short film featuring images of Ferguson residents, activists and organizers alongside searing audio of the mass tear gassing of one of the largest peaceful rallies on the evening of August 17, 2014. His work has been featured by CNN, Tumblr, The Food Network, PBS and published by numerous websites, and he has held solo and group exhibitions across the country. Chris is Co-­founder and Creative Producer for The St. Louis Photo Authority®, a non­profit organization dedicated to promoting the visual arts and community engagement by training children and adults in storytelling with the mediums of photography and video.

FLANNERY MILLER /  PRODUCER

Flannery is a filmmaker and impact producer committed to using visual storytelling to promote human rights and social justice. She is co-founder of Global Video Letters (GVL), a participatory media initiative dedicated to social inclusion and citizen journalism. Their project The Kabul Cards exhibited at the Nobel Peace Center in 2012. As Director of Human Rights Education at Skylight Pictures from 2011 to 2014, Flannery designed and produced impact campaigns for Emmy-nominated Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (Official Selection, Sundance; Grand Prix Best Creative Documentary, 2011) and Disruption (2014). She produced the Dictator in the Dock short film series and managed the outreach for Skylight’s transmedia project Every Memory Matters, both about the Guatemalan armed conflict and genocide. Until recently, Flannery produced social impact media, art installations and events for Soze, a creative impact firm based in New York.

LUCAS ALVARADO FARRAR / DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Lucas is a filmmaker, photographer, and the Creative Director and Founder of Far Fetched Future. He has worked largely around hip hop and jazz and the youth cultures attached to them, documenting the field across the US. Lucas has had the opportunity to shoot everything from one of the only four black US fencing Olympians, to Annie Leibovitz on set, to an album cover for Dreamville/Interscope rap artist Cozz. His work has been featured in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, XXL, VICE, Complex, and in a music column for The Huffington Post. In 2013 he was one of thirty artists selected for the GersonZevi Gallery’s Land Art Road Trip, a month-long traveling artists’ residency throughout the American Southwest. Lucas is currently a field producer for Revolt TV, shooting and packaging content for air.

CHRISTOPHER MCNABB / EDITOR

Christopher is a filmmaker, editor, and writer dedicated to the art of both fiction and nonfiction storytelling. He worked as the editor and post-production supervisor for The Skin Deep, a startup media company dedicated to creating interactive content. He was the editor of The Skin Deep’s Emmy-winning project {THE AND} (Official Selection, IDFA 2014), an interactive documentary about contemporary human relationships, and the accompanying short film {THE AND} Marcela & Rock (Official Selection, Sundance 2015). Christopher was also an assistant editor for Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Lana Wilson on her second feature film in production, The Departed. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Film Studies from Wesleyan University where his thesis film, Driven, won the NNK Award for Best Screenplay. Christopher is a 2016 Sundance Institute Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow.

PATRICIA E. GILLESPIE / LINE PRODUCER 

Patricia is an award-winning producer, director, and documentary cinematographer based in New York City. She has worked with a diverse array of internationally recognized clients including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Patricia began her career with award-winning documentary filmmakers like Judith Helfand, Jim Brown, and George Stoney. Her short film Able, on autism legislation in New Jersey, received the First Place Wasserman Prize in 2012, while her first film Dirt premiered at the Rubin Museum of Art. She has also worked on award-winning narrative films including 2014's hit thriller Blue Ruin, which took the Fipresci Prize at Cannes, and Filmscience's In Our Nature starring John Slattery and Jena Malone.  In addition to her work as a line producer on Whose Streets?, Patricia also served as a producer for Jen Brea's Unrest. Both films premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. She is also the Creator/Director/EP of American Monster, a forthcoming verité true crime documentary series produced in association with Morgan Spurlock's Warrior Poets. Patricia is a Sundance fellow, and a member of the faculty at the New York Film Academy.

 

 

MRIDU CHANDRA / ARCHIVAL PRODUCER

Mridu is a New York based producer of award-winning documentaries and independent feature films. An alum of the CPB/WGBH Producers Academy and the Tribeca Film Institute's All Access Program, her films have premiered at the Sundance, SXSW and HotDocs Film Festivals, aired on PBS and HBO, screened for members of US Congress and the United Nations, and showcased at museums and film festivals worldwide. Credits include Out In The Night (POV / PBS), The Canal Street MadamLet the Church Say Amen (Independent Lens / PBS), A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY (HBO), and Electoral Dysfunction (PBS). Specialties include story development and grant writing, line producing, archival research and clearances, and post supervising. Mridu has over 15 years of experience as a visual media researcher and clearance specialist for documentaries such as Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (POV/PBS), Regarding Susan Sontag (HBO, recipient of the 2015 FOCAL International Award for Best Use of Archival Footage in an Arts Program), and most recently for the feature film Steve Jobs, directed by Danny Boyle for Universal Pictures. Additionally, she has taught documentary research, development, and rights clearance courses at The New School, NYU’s School of Continuing Studies, and at The New York Film Academy. Mridu is currently working with the Tribeca Film Institute to develop a fund for the production and distribution of short independent documentaries and with Tangerine Entertainment to produce indie films by women directors.

CAROL DYSINGER / STORY CONSULTANT

Carol Dysinger is an advisor for the Documentary Edit and Story Lab at the Sundance Film Institute, and runs workshops around the world on hybrid filmmaking. A feature film and documentary editor for the past 25 years, Dysinger’s editing credits include: the Emmy-nominated films Deadline (Sundance Film Festival; NBC 2004) and Punk; Rain executive produced by Martin Scorsese (Sundance Film Festival; Venice Film Festival); and Santitos executive produced by John Sayles (Sundance Film Festival). She also edited the music video for The Clash’s classic Rock the Casbah. Dysinger began her career as a screenwriter with scripts produced for 20th Century Fox, Disney, and HBO.  Currently, Dysinger is directing One Bullet Afghanistan, the second film in her trilogy about Afghanistan post 9/11. It was recently selected for the 2016 IDFA Forum and is supported by the Sundance Documentary Film Program, Tribeca Institute, NYSCA and Catapult Film Fund. The first film, Camp Victory, Afghanistan (PBS, 2010), premiered in competition at SXSW and played at numerous festivals including MOMA Doc Fortnight, Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, and Movies that Matter at the Hague. Dysinger is a tenured Associate Professor of Graduate Film and New Media at NYU film school in the Tisch School of the Arts, and a recipient of the David Payne-Carter Award for Excellence in Teaching.

SAMORA ABAYOMI PINDERHUGHES / COMPOSER 

World-renowned pianist and composer Samora Pinderhughes has performed in venues including the White House, the Blue Note, MoMA, the Sundance Film Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and Carnegie Hall, and has toured internationally with artists including Branford Marsalis, Christian Scott, Jose James, Harvey Mason, and Emily King. Pinderhughes was raised in the Bay Area and moved to New York to study jazz at The Juilliard School. He is the director and creator of The Transformations Suite, an acclaimed project combining music, theatre, and poetry to examine the radical history of resistance within the communities of the African Diaspora. Pinderhughes’ other projects include: I’m Still Here: Letters on Trauma & Healing (Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue); The James Baldwin Essays: Examining the American Dream Narrative commissioned by Harlem Stage; The Migration of Protest: Meditations on Jacob Lawrence for the Museum of Modern Art; and Billy Strayhorn: The Music of the Sutherland Period for the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Pinderhughes is a Sundance Institute Composers Lab Fellow for film scoring. He is also a member of Blackout for Human Rights and was musical director for their 2016 #MLKNow and #JusticeForFlint events.

SIMONE VARANO / ASSISTANT EDITOR

Simone is a photographer, filmmaker, and singer/songwriter currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She produced, shot, and edited the day-in-the-life documentary series Hour by Hour, featured in blogs such as AfroPunkBlavity, and ThisIs50. In the summer of 2014 Simone was selected alongside 8 other finalists to participate in Mountain Dew's Open Call Contest, judged by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. She entered and ultimately won her second filmmaking competition, Reel 13's Shorts Contest; her winning short You Made Me Do This later aired on PBS’ Channel Thirteen. With the increasing number of acts of police violence against Black Americans, Simone found a way to combine her love for filmmaking and photography with her compassion for social justice. In October 2014 she travelled to Ferguson to document Ferguson OctoberA couple of months later Simone teamed up with the founders of Millions March NYC to help with outreach and document the historic march. And in April of 2015 she travelled to Baltimore to cover the protests during the Baltimore Uprising. Her photographs were later featured in The Baltimore Sun. Simone is a graduate of Parsons the New School for Design with a BBA in Strategic Design and Management. 

JONATHAN HALL / ASSOCIATE PRODUCER, OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Jonathan is a New York-based writer and educational advocate committed to telling the stories of Black experience through teaching and activating the voices of the next generation. He is a 2013 Columbia University Reading and Writing Project Fellow and Thurgood Marshall Teaching Fellow. Jonathan’s work has been featured in Vibe, Blavity, and The Fresh Express. Prior to moving to New York he spent several years teaching in Washington DC middle schools. As a Humanities teacher, Jonathan focused his instruction on fusing together social justice and creative writing, helping to redesign the network-wide curriculum by placing the Black experience at the center. His first middle school poetry slam team went on to win the Washington DC city-wide championship in 2014 for their poem “Got My Hands Up,” dedicated to the memory of Mike Brown. Jonathan’s activism began early as an ambassador for the nationwide We Are Greater Than AIDS campaign to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities of color. He led one of the largest citywide testing drives in the state of Georgia, testing over 1,000 people.

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