Am update on a film we first profiled last summer as a title to keep an eye on, which hails from our friends at Kartemquin Films – an indie production company responsible for some of the most significant documentaries made during the last 20 years (some we’ve covered on this blog) including “Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters,” “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” and “Roger Ebert, Life Itself.”
Produced by Kartemquin co-founder Gordon Quinn and Justine Nagan, and directed and produced by Margaret Byrne, the documentary – titled “Raising Bertie” – which is set in Bertie County, a rural African American community in Eastern North Carolina, takes the viewer deep into the emotional lives of three young boys – Reginald “Junior” Askew, David “Bud” Perry, and Davonte “Dada” Harrell – as they face a number of challenges over six years as they grow into adults; unemployment, institutional racism, violence, first love, fatherhood, death, and estrangement from family members and mentors, all while trying to define their identities.
The profound work of cinéma vérité made its world premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, North Carolina in the spring of 2016. It also screened at the Bentonville Film Festival, and AFI DOCS in DC that summer, and went on to others.
We learned today that, a year after its world premiere, Gunpowder & Sky Distribution is teaming up with the film’s producer, Kartemquin, to distribute “Raising Bertie” both in theaters and on digital.
“This film has been a labor of love. Over the last seven years, we have maintained close, trusting relationships with each family in the film. I love them and am honored that they trusted me, gave me an unfiltered window into their lives, and believed what we were doing was important,” said director Margaret Byrne in a previous statement. “The individuals in this story are representative of their community and they matter.”
Directed and Produced by Margaret Byrne, Ian Kibbe is also producer, with Jon Stuyvesant co-producer, and executive producers J.Cole, Gordon Quinn, and Justine Nagan.
Beti Films and Kartemquin Films are producers.
“Raising Bertie” will open at Maysles Cinema in New York City on June 9, which will be followed by an expansion to other markets around the country a week later, including San Francisco, Chicago, and North Carolina, with more playdate announcements to be made.
A first release trailer for “Raising Bertie” premiered with today’s distribution announcement. Watch it below; underneath the trailer, you’ll also find a previously-released clip from the film.
Watch a clip below: