From the press release I received today – in short, Black Panther Party co-founder and Chairman Bobby Seale has launched an IndieGogo campaign to raise $420,000 to begin production of the cinematic life story of the Black Panthers and Seale, which he hopes to see made this year.
Titled Seize The Time, The Eighth Defendant, which is also the title of Seale’s autobio, a script has already been penned by himself and his partner, Stephen Edwards (a filmmaker and also a former member of the Panthers).
Apparently, they’d been shopping around the project as a feature-length doc, but were advised by a exec at Fox Searchlight to make it a scripted, dramatized feature film instead, which is what they’re trying to do now.
The story focuses on Seale’s own life story, with the Panthers and the socially and politically chaotic era in which they thrived, as the film’s backdrop.
“Seize The Time; The Eighth Defendant ” will give its audience a glimpse into the life of Bobby Seale and the social protest movements of the 1960’s and 70’s…The film will also highlight situations in which the Panthers prevailed. Bobby says, “For example, most people don’t know that we won 95 % of our courtroom cases.” Many social programs today go back to the survival programs of the Black Panther Party. And the struggle for justice for African American and minority youth in the face of police oppression is unfortunately as relevant today as it was when Bobby and Huey first took up their rifles and law books to protest police brutality.
Seale states that he decided to produce his own cinematic life story because of his frustrations with past films that have been made about the Black Panthers without his involvement, saying…
“They usually contact me after they have made their film… and often want me to endorse it. I want to do this until I see the final product. Its painful to see the waste of money, resources and talent on film projects that don’t convey the complete story of what happened during the days of the Black Panther Party and the sixties protest movement… There is an entire generation of young people who know nothing about how viciously the FBI attacked us and why. Even people of my generation don’t know that J. Edgar Hoover said the Black Panthers Breakfast for Children program represents the greatest threat to America’s national security… most people don’t know that we won 95 % of our courtroom cases.”
The project is currently in pre-production, and the $420,000 is really just to get through this initial phase of the production.
The funds raised will be used as follows:
– To create a budget break down of the screenplay
– To create a shooting schedule that can be executed.
– To design storyboards .
– To cast the film with actors “whose marketability maximizes the film’s commercial value.” And you know what that means.
But learn more about the project from the man himself, by watching his promotional video below; and if you want to contribute to the fundraising campaign, click HERE: