Hello, and welcome to the Scene to Seen Podcast!
I am Valerie Complex Associate editor and film writer at Deadline. On today’s episode, we’re talking to documentarian Nancy Kates, director of PBS documentary Brother Outsider: The Life Of Bayard Rustin, about the civil rights activist and the architect of the March on Washington in 1963.
The documentary chronicles his 60-year career as an activist, organizer and “troublemaker.” Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the American civil rights movement. His passionate belief in Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence drew Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders to him in the 1940’s and 50’s; his practice of those beliefs drew the attention of the FBI and police. In 1963, Rustin brought his unique skills to the crowning glory of his civil rights career: his work organizing the March on Washington, the biggest protest America had ever seen.
In addition to The Life of Bayard Rustin, she also produced and directed the HBO documentary Regarding Susan Sontag, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Mention, and in 2014, she was named to the OUT 100, the magazine’s annual list of intriguing LGBTQ Americans. It has since screened at over 130 film festivals in 35 countries, and received several honors, including a FOCAL International Award. Ms. Magazine named the film one of 2014’s top ten feminist films, while critics called it “compelling” and “perceptive.” Kates also produced and directed Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin. The film premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and on the PBS series POV, winning more than 25 awards worldwide.
Kates has held residencies at MacDowell, the Blue Mountain Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and elsewhere, as well as invitation-only screenwriting workshops at the Athena Film Festival, which awarded her an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Stowe Story Labs, and the Cine Qua Non retreat. She recently started work on a film about the late LGBTQ activist and leader Urvashi Vaid.
On today’s episode, I chat with Kates about the journey it took to get this documentary made, and why with the release of Netflix own feature about the life of Bayard Rustin, now is the perfect time for audiences who want to learn more to watch Brother Outsider.
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