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Watch: 'Free Angela' Filmmaker Shola Lynch On Being Pigeonholed As a Black Female Filmmaker

By Katharine Relth | Indiewire November 4, 2013 at 10:08AM

Second-time filmmaker Shola Lynch, having just finished her first project about Brooklyn-based Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's 1972 presidential bid, did not want to make her next film about "another black woman." But political activist Angela Davis was simply too rich of a subject for Lynch to pass up. After acquiring an exclusive contract that allowed Lynch access to Mr. Davis's story and the people in Angela's life, the process of constructing a second feature-length documentary was underway. Free Angela and All Political Prisoners took Lynch eight years to complete, but what came out of that long process is an emotional, political crime drama "with a love story at the center," a story that offers a detailed look into Angela Davis's life as a political activist and the activities that lead to her 1971 court case. Through rare verité footage, exclusive photographs, and never-before-seen courtroom sketches, Lynch weaves a narrative out of Angela's crucial political activism in her young life.
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Second-time filmmaker Shola Lynch, having just finished her first project about Brooklyn-based Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's 1972 presidential bid, did not want to make her next film about "another black woman." But political activist Angela Davis was simply too rich of a subject for Lynch to pass up. After acquiring an exclusive contract that allowed Lynch access to Mr. Davis's story and the people in Angela's life, the process of constructing a second feature-length documentary was underway. "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners" took Lynch eight years to complete, but what came out of that long process is an emotional, political crime drama "with a love story at the center," a story that offers a detailed look into Angela Davis's life as a political activist and the activities that lead to her 1971 court case. Through rare verité footage, exclusive photographs, and never-before-seen courtroom sketches, Lynch weaves a narrative out of Angela's crucial political activism in her young life.

"Free Angela and All Political Prisoners" screened on Tuesday, October 15 in Los Angeles as a part of the IDA Documentary Screening Series. Filmmaker Shola Lynch spoke with Indiewire's Dana Harris about why she was willing to risk being pigeonholed for the sake of a good story.

Katherine Relth is the Digital Content Producer for IDA News.


You can watch more moments from this Q&A at the IDA Screening Series playlist on their YouTube channel.

Learn more about the other docs set to play in the IDA Documentary Screening Series.

This article is related to: Documentary, IDA (International Documentary Association), IDA Documentary Awards, Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, Awards