First show: June 16
“The documentary brilliantly weaves the young men’s stories together, as they transition from their teens into manhood, engaged in a shared struggle for social and economic survival.”
“[A] starkly poetic film.”
— Brian C. Bush, The Huffington Post
Recorded over six years, Raising Bertie delivers an authentic and tender portrait of the lives of three young boys as they face a precarious coming of age within Bertie County, a rural African-American community in North Carolina.
This raw and starkly poetic vérité documentary weaves the young men’s stories together as the boys navigate school, unemployment, violence, first love, fatherhood, and estrangement from family members and mentors, all while trying to define their identities.
Intimate access depicts an honest portrayal of the boys’ perspectives and an in-depth look at issues facing rural America’s youth and what happens in the everyday lives of young people caught in the complex interplay of generational poverty, economic isolation and educational inequity. Raising Bertie is an experience that asks us to see this world through their eyes and incites recognition and empathetic understanding of lives and communities too often ignored.
Directed by Margaret Byrne 2016 USA 102 min
Co-produced by Kartemquin films, the award-winning, Chicago-based company best known for its 1994 documentary, Hoop Dreams. North Carolina native and Grammy-nominated hip-hop star, J. Cole, is also on the film’s team, serving as one of the executive producers.
Margaret Byrne has worked in documentary and television for 15 years. She was a director of photography and editor for Emmy nominated American Promise (2013), a thirteen-year feature film following the education of two African American boys from New York City. Margaret edited Slaying Goliath (2008), Winner of 2008 Best Documentary at the LA Black Film Festival, a feature film following an inner city youth basketball team. Margaret lived and worked in Lagos, Nigeria at which time she produced and edited a television series, “MTV Base 100th Live” which launched MTV across Africa in 2005. She was a Creative Director at Universal Music and directed live concerts and music videos for artists such as Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige. She is the founder of Beti Films.
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