Aunjanue Ellis brings the message of Fannie Lou Hamer back to the collective consciousness in this exclusive preview for Fannie.
Christine Swanson directs the short film, which focuses on Hamer’s life as a civil rights activist and freedom fighter who endured medical racism and fought for the rights of Black women and families. The film is described as an “unflinching cinematic dramatization of one of the most important figures of the civil rights movement.”
The film tackles the question Hamer asked in one of her speeches, "Is this America?" According to the official description:
These three words were part of sharecropper-turned-change maker Fannie Lou Hamer’s impassioned plea to defend the right to vote for every citizen regardless of race, creed, or color.
It was a simple question with a complex challenge to the credentials committee for the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Speaking on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Hamer detailed the scare tactics and the violence Black Americans faced in their long and storied quest to vote. She recounted her own brushes with brutality at the hands of the police when she was beaten so badly that her vision was impaired, and her kidneys were severely damaged.
Her gripping testimony was not just a call for the inclusion of Black delegates in the Democratic Party; it was also a prophetic warning that unless the nation extended equal treatment to Black Americans, the fight for voting rights, human rights, and civil rights would persist for years to come.
Fannie has been honored on the Indie circuit, winning the most awards at Atlanta's BronzeLens Festival and recognition at the Reel South Award, including Ellis winning for Best Actress.
Fannie will run at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center Shorts By the Sea film series in Santa Monica California Sept. 23-29 as well as at the Morehouse College Human Rights Festival at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA Sept. 24.
Ellis and Swanson are the film's producers, with executive producers Angela Harmon, Abeni Bloodworth, Emil Pinnock and Stephanie Frederic.
The film is presented in association with Faith Filmworks and multimedia platform chromatic black. Chromatic black’s Ida B. Wells Fund supports “innovative, brilliant, and creative new voices in a way that the existing system does not.”