Stanley Nelson

  • Firelight Media

Stanley Nelson is one of the foremost chroniclers of the African American experience working in nonfiction film today. His films, many of which have aired on PBS, combine compelling narratives with rich and deeply researched historical detail, shining new light on both familiar and under-explored aspects of the American past. Nelson, a MacArthur Fellow, has received numerous honors over the course of his career, including five Primetime Emmy Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Emmys, the Peabodys, and IDA. In 2013, Nelson received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Barack Obama. His latest film, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities , examines the impact HBCUs have had on American history, culture, and national identity. The film was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017, and will air nationally on the acclaimed PBS series, Independent Lens in early 2018. Nelson is also the award-winning director and producer of Freedom Riders; The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution; and The Murder of Emmett Till. In 2000, Nelson, along with his wife, Marcia A. Smith, founded Firelight Media, a nonprofit production company dedicated to using historical film to advance contemporary social justice causes, and to mentoring, inspiring and training a new generation of diverse filmmakers committed to advancing underrepresented stories.