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Ferguson documentary debuts at Sundance

Children hold anti-rascist signs while standing on the lawn at a Ferguson related protest.
Provided by Lucas Alvarado Farrar
Promotional photo from the film 'Whose Streets?'

A local filmmaker aims to bring international audiences an authentic take on the protests that occurred in Ferguson two years ago after then-officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown.

Director Damon Davis’ documentary “Whose Streets” takes an unflinching look at the Ferguson protests from the position of protesters and activists.  The film debuts today at the internationally recognized Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. 

“Every day Americans experience a mediascape that humanizes whiteness, delving into the emotional lives of privileged white protagonists while portraying people of color as two-dimensional (and mostly negative) stereotypes," Davis said in a statement on the film's website. "Nowhere was this more apparent than in the case of Mike Brown, who, in spite of being college bound & well regarded by his community, was portrayed as a 'thug' and a 'criminal.' For this reason, it is essential that Black people be the ones to tell our own true stories.”

Davis and his co-director, Sabaah Folayan, want audiences to experience the narrative of the protests from the position of people that lived through them. Throughout the film the directors highlight how ordinary teachers, students, artists, and other concerned citizens banded together in the fight for justice and equality.  The film was almost immediately met with praise in several reviews

The documentary features exclusive activist interviews and footage from the protests. Previously seen footage of the film featured specific interview with musician Tef Poe and various Millennial Activists United members who were fundamental participants in several of the protests that took place throughout the region. 

Co-produced by local photographer Chris Renteria, the film received support from industry powerhouses  the Sundance Film Institute, the International Documentary Association, The MacArthur Foundation, Tribeca Film Foundation, Firelight, and Good Pitch.

The filmmakers also explore the aftermath of Brown’s death and how the outrage reflected already established racial tensions in the region. They identify the local movement as part of the continued struggle for civil rights and equality for people of color.

Follow Willis on Twitter: @WillisRArnold

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