Director Stanley Nelson in St. Louis for “FREEDOM RIDERS” Event
Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson will be the featured speaker on Tuesday, April 26, during a program on his latest documentary, “Freedom Riders,” from 2 to 4 p.m. in the theater at St. Louis Community College at Meramec, 11333 Big Bend in Kirkwood.
Jim Kirchherr of KETC-TV (Ch. 9), the St. Louis PBS affiliate, will moderate the event. Following short clips of the film, Nelson will answer questions from the audience. The documentary airs on PBS from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, May 16 as part of the “American Experience” history series.
Based on Raymond Arsenault’s book, “Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” Nelson’s documentary is the first feature-length film about a band of nearly 400 civil rights activities – black and white, young and old, male and female, Northern and Southern – who risked their lives by deliberately violating Jim Crow laws and traveling together on buses as they journeyed through the Deep South. Greeted by mob violence and bitter racism along the way, many endured savage beatings and even imprisonment. They called themselves the Freedom Riders, and they managed to bring the president and the entire American public face-to-face with the challenge of correcting civil rights inequities that plagued the nation.
Best known for his films focusing on African-American experiences, Nelson received the Contemporary Cinema Award from the St. Louis International Film Festival last November. The award honors filmmakers in mid-career for their challenging and innovative work. “Freedom Riders” was selected as one of the top five documentaries shown at the festival by the St. Louis Film Critics Association.
Nelson has had five films in competition at the Sundance Film Festival during the past 10 years, including “Freedom Riders.” He has won dozens of industry awards, including the Emmy and the Peabody. “A Place of Our Own” is another of his acclaimed works.
The event is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited. To reserve a seat, call 314-984-7167. For more information, visit pbs.org/freedomriders.