Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, a Codeblack Films/Lionsgate company acquisition, resurrects the Civil Rights movement and its viral spread into a human rights global crusade before there were social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. At the center of this historic docudrama is Angela Davis, who shares her life journey of how she survived very difficult circumstances, i.e., making the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, of being falsely accused of crimes she did not commit, and all the close calls leading to her unwarranted trial. From California, New York, Florida, then eventually back to California in federal handcuffs, Angela Davis was a U.S. fugitive on the run and only the miraculous would save her.
This year (2013) marks the 40th anniversary of Angela Davis’s acquittal on charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy. How does one rebound from such life trembling events? What did Angela Davis do all these years? Marry? Divorce? Care for an Elderly Parent? Harlem Filmmaker Shola Lynch used her first documentary, Chisholm ’72 – Unbought & Unbossed, as the convincing means for Angela Davis to pay it forward to future generations on standing for justice for all. Angela Davis is joined by her siblings, peers and legal advisors to diversely portray what transpired in and outside the courtroom. Angela tenderly opens up about her lovers tryst with a Black Panther and how their love letters were read aloud in court. What’s most impressive about the documentary is that Angela Davis is portrayed as gracefully whole and at peace, not at all bitter and torn. Although it is unclear as to her five, ten, fifteen year long term life plan of action post documentary, rest assured that Free Angela is a treasured legacy gift. Angela, where were you when Occupy Wall Street needed you…
Producers Carole Lambert, Carine Ruszniewski, and Sidra Smith, partner with Shola Lynch to successfully balance the facts, figures, archival photo stills and storyboard thrills, thereby seamlessly connecting the dots of how people from around the world were one in spirit and truth with a young, educated Afroed college professor. Free Angela’s backing is layered with movers and shakers. Presented by Realside Productions and De Films en Aiguille, in association with Direct Cinema and the participation of Direct 8, developed with the support of The Independent Television Service (ITVS), with major support from La Region lle-de-France, Canal Plus, the Ford Foundation and Black Entertainment Television Networks. Other funders included the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, New York State Council on the Arts, Paul Newman Foundation, The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Tribeca All Access and Angoa. Overbrook Entertainment (Will and Jada Smith) and Roc Nation (Shawn “Jay Z” Carter) are executive producers.
Free Angela is distributed by Codeblack Films exclusively in select AMC theatres.