|Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People|
|Directed by||Thomas Allen Harris|
|Produced by|| Thomas Allen Harris|
|Screenplay by|| Thomas Allen Harris|
Paul Carter Harrison
|Based on||Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present|
by Deborah Willis
|Music by|| Miles Jay|
|Edited by|| Matthew Cohn|
|Distributed by||First Run Features|
Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People is a 2014 documentary film directed by Thomas Allen Harris. It is inspired by Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present by Deborah Willis, who also produced the film.The film had its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 2014.
A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. Documentary films were originally called 'actuality' films and were only a minute or less in length. Over time documentaries have evolved to be longer in length and to include more categories, such as educational, observational, and even 'docufiction'. Documentaries are also educational and often used in schools to teach various principles. Social media platforms such as YouTube, have allowed documentary films to improve the ways the films are distributed and able to educate and broaden the reach of people who receive the information.
Thomas Allen Harris is the founder and President of Chimpanzee Productions a company dedicated to producing unique audio-visual experiences that illuminate the Human Condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Chimpanzee Productions' films have received critical acclaim at International film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty and Cape Town and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish Broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television. In addition, Harris' videos and installations have been featured at museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Biennial, Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia, London Institute of the Arts and the Gwangju Biennale.
Deborah Willis is a contemporary African-American artist, photographer, curator of photography, photographic historian, author, and educator. Among her awards and honors, she was a 2000 MacArthur Fellow. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts of New York University.
The film later screened at 64th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2014.The film also screened at 2014 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on 5 February 2014. It won the Justice Award at the festival. The film had a theatrical release on August 27, 2014 in United States.
The 64th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 6 to 16 February 2014. Wes Anderson's film The Grand Budapest Hotel opened the festival. British film director Ken Loach was presented with the Honorary Golden Bear. The Golden Bear was awarded to the Chinese film Black Coal, Thin Ice directed by Diao Yinan, which also served as closing film.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is an eleven-day film festival held in Santa Barbara, California since 1986.
The film narrates how African Americans have used camera to bring social changes.
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 54% of 13 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.3 out of 10.
Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee, and Stephen Wang. The name "Rotten Tomatoes" derives from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when disapproving of a poor stage performance.
Zeba Blay in her review for Indiewire said that "It shows us the disturbing lynch photographs and minstrel illustrations in all their startling, horrific detail. But it also counterbalances them with countless photos of black people by black people, pictures from family albums all the way to the professional work of some of the most seminal black photographers in America. There’s an understanding that the lynch photos, the regal pictures of Booker T. Washington and Sojourner Truth, the images of Carrie Mae Weems staring straight into the camera in her Kitchen Table Series, all lie on a continuum. They’re happening now. And its through these images we’re privy to a secret history of the black photographer and the black subject, a history reaching far back into the past and shining a light on those who paved the way for everyone, all of us, to affirm our own identities through the images we take of ourselves and each other."Dennis Harvey of Variety gave the film a positive review by saying that, "Though a tad uneven, as a whole the documentary cannily juggles an overview of African-American history in general with the specifics of its photographic representation and talents."
Carrie Mae Weems is an American artist who works with text, fabric, audio, digital images, and installation video, but is best known for her work in the field of photography. Her award-winning photographs, films, and videos have been displayed in over 50 exhibitions in the United States and abroad, and focus on serious issues that face African Americans today, such as racism, sexism, politics, and personal identity.
Variety is a weekly American entertainment trade magazine and website owned by Penske Media Corporation. It was founded by Sime Silverman in New York in 1905 as a weekly newspaper reporting on theater and vaudeville. In 1933 it added Daily Variety, based in Los Angeles, to cover the motion-picture industry. Variety.com features breaking entertainment news, reviews, box office results, cover stories, videos, photo galleries and more, plus a credits database, production charts and calendar, with archive content dating back to 1905.
The Huffington Post added it in their "10 must see films at (2014) Sundance."
|2015||American Historical Association||John E. O'Connor Film Award Nomination||Thomas Allen Harris||Nominated|
|American Library Association||Notable Videos for Adults||Thomas Allen Harris||Won|
|Black Reel Awards||Outstanding Independent Documentary||Thomas Allen Harris||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Documentary (Theatrical)||Thomas Allen Harris||Won|
|2014||Santa Barbara International Film Festival||The Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award||Thomas Allen Harris||Won|
|10th Africa Movie Academy Awards||Best Diaspora Documentary||Thomas Allen Harris||Won|
|Pan African Film Festival||Festival Programmers' Award||Thomas Allen Harris||Won|
|The National Media Market||Best of Show, Collegiate||Thomas Allen Harris||Won|
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