October 23, 2016 11:26 pm
Raising Bertie, the intimate, visually rich and compassionate portrait of three African American boys coming of age in rural Bertie County, North Carolina, had its Chicago Premiere yesterday to a sold-out crowd at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Following the screening, Director Margaret Byrne, Producer Ian Kibbe and Director of Photography Jon Stuyvesant discussed the making of the film–particularly the importance of the relationships they have (and continually sustain) with their subjects; rural youth and communities in America and their goals for the film's impact campaign.
The filmmakers also addressed the devastation caused in Bertie County due to flooding. North Carolina was one of the hardest hit states with over 34 counties affected and 22 lives claimed by the aftermath of Tropical Storm Julia and Hurricane Matthew. The filmmakers spoke about their recent visit to Bertie, the resilience of the community, the importance that rural communities such as Bertie experiencing such devastation not be forgotten, and ways in which to help the post-flood efforts.
Also during the Q&A DP Jon Stuyvesant brought up a notable update on the film subjects Junior, Dada and Bud, sharing that Junior had recently completed a short screenplay and pitched it to Stuyvesant, and the two are in the process of collaborating on it.
Below are some of the most memorable quotes from the Q&A:
- "Building trust is the key to making a film like this, which is really about building relationships." –Margaret Byrne
- "Basically you make a film like this by not rolling the camera, but sitting with people."–Jon Stuyvesant
- "We worked really hard to try not to make the film about one particular issue, but rather through the subjects' experiences let you see the multitude of issues that are at play in their lives"–Jon Stuyvesant
- "We realized there's not enough attention being paid to rural youth and particularly rural youth of color" –Ian Kibbe
- "There's a Vivian [Saunders, founder and CEO of the Bertie County Hive House] in every community, so our next steps are: how can we find in support places like the Hive? How can we support community-led initiatives?" –Ian Kibbe
On the film's plan for an impact campaign:
Raising Bertie has the following upcoming screenings:
-Friday November 4, 7:30 PM: Citizen Jane Film Festival and Q&A with director Margaret Byrne
-Friday November 5, 9:30 AM: Citizen Jane Film Festival and Q&A with director Margaret Byrne
-Saturday November 5, 3:00PM: Driftless Film Festival
-Friday November 11, 2016, 7:30PM: St. Louis International Film Festival FREE Screening
-Saturday November 12, 2016, 4:00PM: Screening at Cucalorus Film Festival with FULL CREW in Attendance!
Stay up to date on Raising Bertie screenings and news here.