The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution


YEAR 2015

SECTION Doc Premieres


RUN TIME 116 min

Ready or not, change was coming to America. The fault lines were no longer ignorable—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, disputes raged over women's rights, gay rights, and civil rights. Many of the youth that came of age in the Sixties were set on tearing down the world that Dick and Jane built and reconstructing their own American Dream. A new revolutionary culture was emerging, and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change.

The story of the Black Panthers is often told in a scatter of repackaged parts, often depicting tragic, mythic accounts of violence and criminal activity. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. An essential history, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, is a vibrant, human, living and breathing chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America. —S.F.

COMPANY Firelight Films



PHONE 212-234-1324


Associate Producer

Artist Bio

Stanley Nelson is a multiple Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, MacArthur Genius Fellow, and 2013 National Humanities Medalist. Nelson is co-founder of Firelight Media and its Producers Lab for emerging filmmakers. His films include Freedom Summer, Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, and The Murder of Emmett Till. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the eighth of Nelson's films to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.