August 28, 2017 11:42 am
An intimate, six-year portrait of three boys growing into adulthood in Bertie County, located in rural Eastern North Carolina, the film offers viewers a respectful and tender insight into the emotional lives of Reginald “Junior” Askew, David “Bud” Perry, and Davonte “Dada” Harrell. This raw and starkly poetic cinéma vérité film weaves their stories together as they navigate school, unemployment, violence, first love, fatherhood, and estrangement from family members and mentors, subtly exploring the complex relationships between generational poverty, economic isolation, and educational inequity.
Raising Bertie originally premiered to wide acclaim as the Center Frame screening at the 2016 Full Frame Documentary Festival, going on to screen at Sarasota, Ashland, AFI DOCS, Chicago, St. Louis, Cucalorus, Big Sky, Portland, among other festivals.
The film recently took home Honorable Mention for Best Documentary at the Atlanta Film Festival, the film's third award from an Atlanta-based festival (including Best Director at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival and Best Documentary Feature at Atlanta Docufest.
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Raising Bertie is a production of Beti Films and Kartemquin Films directed and produced by Margaret Byrne, and produced by Ian Kibbe. Director of photography & co-producer was Jon Stuyvesant, with editing by Leslie Simmer. The film's executive producers are Grammy Award-winning North Carolina native J.Cole, and Kartemquin's Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan (now of P.O.V.), and Betsy Steinberg.
Director Margaret Byrne was recently profiled in a Fast Company article entitled, "7 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Taking On A Big Project". Byrne is just the filmmaker to seek out for advice on large creative undertakings, with Raising Bertie having been filmed over the course of 6 years.