Firelight Media, Reel South, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and WORLD Channel present Hindsight, a documentary short film series chronicling the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities in the American South and Puerto Rico during the unprecedented events of 2020. The six nonfiction short films in the series explore the cultural shifts, community ingenuity and pivotal conversations defining this moment in America. The entire series will be available to stream on Thursday, July 29, via Reel South and the PBS Video App, with episodes premiering Thursdays on the WORLD Channel YouTube channel and on Reel South’s Facebook page the same day.
The films made their world premiere at AFI DOCS 2021, an annual film festival run by the American Film Institute, in June.
All six filmmakers worked closely with Firelight Media, Reel South and CAAM throughout all stages of production. Each filmmaker was granted financing up to $20,000 for their short film and also received production and distribution mentorship from veteran independent filmmakers. Each selected filmmaker was also paired with a public media station mentor for additional editorial guidance focused on local expertise and audiences. The public media partner stations also received funding support to work with the filmmakers.
Speaking at the 2021 NETA conference earlier this year, Reel South Series Producer, Nicholas Price, noted how The Hindsight Project has been years in the making for Reel South, Firelight Media and CAAM. “After a few years of building relationships with each other and getting to know each other, we were really finally at a point where we could create something that benefitted all of us and I think definitively met the moment.”
Chloë Walters-Wallace, the Artist Program Manager at Firelight Media, elaborated on this idea. “The idea of meeting the moment was not only about meeting where content was coming out and where stories were coming from but also the fact that as organizations that all serve filmmakers, (we had to) realize what was happening in our industry,” Walters-Wallace explained.
CAAM’s Talent Development & Special Projects Manager, Sapana Sakya, explained why CAAM decided to partner with Firelight Media and Reel South in creating The Hindsight Project. “We have this deep belief in public media as a space for everyone and for all voices to be represented. We weren’t quite seeing that fully realized,” said Sakya. “That is what this project is at its core. It’s about moving away from a very simplistic view of what the region is and who the region is, and to see all of us represented more authentically.”
The Hindsight Project Films and Filmmakers
This documentary follows a group of New Orleans mothers as they struggle to care for their families and themselves throughout the pandemic. Utilizing video diaries, it provides an intimate portrait of mothering during a time of crisis.
UDAAN (SOAR) follows a young Pakistani woman as she immigrates from Karachi, Pakistan, to a small town in Arkansas to begin her first year of college. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, she prepares to live in isolation with her family and to attend classes remotely. But when her mother is turned away by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, she must learn to navigate her new life in the U.S. alone.
FOOD FOR THE POOR (COMIDA PA’ LOS POBRES) follows a young Puerto Rican activist as he confronts the island’s persistent crisis of food insecurity. Motivated by his childhood struggle with hunger, Giovanni seeks to inspire his fellow citizens to join a movement of solidarity-oriented work by feeding families and college students through mutual aid efforts.
MISSING MAGIC centers on a young poet and activist in Birmingham, Alabama, as he tries to write his way through the complex history of the city — from its much-lauded history with the Civil Rights Movement, to its residents’ reignited struggles with racial and economic inequality and police brutality.
An interfaith, interracial choir in Durham, North Carolina, is forced to take a new direction during the pandemic. Members of the group, which uses African American sacred music as a vehicle to create safe spaces for racial healing and community building, must grapple with the emotional rollercoaster of trying to sing as one unit while living miles apart.
THIS BODY explores the fraught relationship between African Americans and the medical industry. As Sydney Hall participates in an experimental coronavirus vaccine trial in hopes of protecting her beloved New Orleans community, she and her loved ones confront the history of medical abuse and experimentation on Black bodies.