Coming to PBS tonight, as part of its AMERICAN MASTERS series, is the documentary, “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand,” starting at 9pm ET.
Directed by Emmy and Peabody-winner Sam Pollard (long-time Spike Lee editor, as well as a director and producer in his own right), the documentary explores the life and legacy of Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson – the man some call America’s Shakespeare — from his roots as a Pittsburgh activist and poet, to his indelible mark on Broadway.
Unprecedented access to Wilson’s theatrical archives, rarely seen interviews, and new dramatic readings, bring to life his seminal 10-play cycle chronicling each decade of the 20th century African American experience. The film features new interviews with Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks, Phylicia Rashad, his widow/costume designer Constanza Romero, and others, sharing stories of the late great African American playwright’s rich theatrical canon.
PBS is premiering the film in honor of the 70th anniversary of Wilson’s birth, as well as the 10th anniversary of his death, and for Black History Month.
“Having the opportunity to explore Wilson’s creative process and his tenacity in looking at the African American experience in the 20th century was one of the most exciting endeavors I have ever had in my film career,” said filmmaker Sam Pollard.
A trailer for the upcoming documentary film is below, followed by a related 30-minute panel discussion on Wilson, which took place at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in New York City, a week ago. On the panel were Phylicia Rashad, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero (August Wilson’s widow and costume designer), director Sam Pollard, and Dr. Richard Blint, Associate Director, Columbia University School of the Arts recording:
And here’s the 30-minute panel conversation: