Raising Bertie receives AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grant

Raising Bertie, the award-winning debut feature by director Margaret Byrne was announced today as one of the recipients of the AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grant.

Raising Bertie, as well as six other documentary projects that screened at AFI DOCS 2016 and were involved in the AFI DOCS 2016 Impact Lab received the grant to support their outreach and social action campaigns. The 2016 Impact Lab took place in Washington, D.C. in June of 2016 during AFI DOCS, the American Film Institute's international documentary film festival that aims to bring together the nation's leaders and leading artists.

The team behind Raising Bertie has already put their outreach campaign into action, holding two free public screenings at Bertie County Public High School on Saturday, December 10th. Both screenings were followed by panel discussions and culminated in a community barbecue. The event was sponsored by the Bertie County Board of Commissioners and the Bertie Public High School, with additional support from Perdue Farms, Self-Help Credit Union, The NC Rural Center, the NC Community Development Initiative, the Ford Foundation and Battelle for Kids.

On Wednesday, December 7th Raising Bertie screened to a sold-out audience at The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. The screening was followed by a discussion between Byrne, producer Ian Kibbe, CEO of The Hive House Vivian Saunders and US Department of Agriculture undersecretary for rural development Lisa Mensah. The discussion was moderated by Urban Institute president Sarah Rosen Wartell. Read more about the screening here.

This past Wednesday, producer Ian Kibbe attended the My Brother's Keeper Summit at the White House. The program was launched by President Obama in 2014, to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color.

Since the election, the Raising Bertie team has received numerous inquiries to screen the film at rural school programs, urban non-profits and the NC General Assembly. The filmmakers remain steadfast in their dedication to achieving their impact campaign's goals:

  • Increasing visibility of rural youth
  • Shrinking the urban/rural divide
  • Increasing education and job opportunities for youth in rural communities, particularly for African American males
  • Expanding current narratives of African American youth

Find upcoming screenings here.
Find more information and donate to the film's impact campaign here.