The Freedom Film Series will use film to address issues of systemic injustice, inviting the audience into dialogue with the issues presented in the films during conversations with filmmakers, content matter experts and activists following the screenings. Topics addressed during the series will include inequity in policing and the criminal justice system, the disparate impact of illegal drugs on communities of color, systemic racism, disability and more.
“Film presents visceral, vivid expressions of freedom and unfreedom in a way that moves people to emotion, conversation and action,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “By partnering with LADD, we hope to immerse people in in these films and to create a dialogue around the issues depicted so we can drive the cause of inclusive freedom forward.”
The series’ debut film is the upcoming IFC release Hold Your Fire, screening on March 15 at the Freedom Center. Hold Your Fire details the 1973 incident when four young Black men stealing guns for self-defense were cornered by NYPD officers. In panic, the four men took twelve hostages. The film centers on the actions of police psychologist Harvey Schlossberg who convinces his superiors to do the unthinkable – negotiate with “criminals” and prevent a violent bloodbath. Nearly 50 years after the incident, the film has the power to revolutionize American policing. The film is directed by Stefan Forbes (Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story) and produced by Forbes, Tia Wou, Sam Pollard, Amir Soltani and Fab Five Freddy. It was an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival 2021 and the Grand Jury Prize winner at DOC NYC’s 2021 festival.
The Freedom Film Series presentation of Hold Your Fire is part of a larger industry collaboration with IFC Films and the Critics Choice Association, which is promoting regional screenings of the film prior to its theatrical release.