Freedom Center and LADD launch Freedom Film Series

Press Release


MEDIA CONTACT: Cody Hefner (513) 608-5777,

Freedom Center and LADD launch Freedom Film Series

Series kicks off with Hold Your Fire March 15

CINCINNATI — The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and LADD, Inc. announced a new film series today. The Freedom Film Series will be hosted at the Freedom Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater and will feature at least four films this year, beginning with Hold Your Fire on March 15. Tickets are $15 each and available now.

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.

The Freedom Center previously partnered with LADD on their Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival’s inaugural Freedom Award in 2021. The Freedom Center will again bestow the Freedom Award in 2022 to a film that captures the broader notions of freedom and leaves viewers with a deeper understanding of and renewed commitment to equity and diversity. The award-winning film will be screened at the Freedom Center during the OTR International Film Festival in July.

“Film allows us the opportunity to critically reflect on all aspects of our shared history and humanity,” offered tt stern-enzi, artistic director of the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival. “The Freedom Film Series creates a space for audiences to engage with filmmakers and socio-cultural leaders as they seek to determine what impact they can have on their communities as a result of being inspired by significant figures in these important and timely narratives.”

The second film in the Freedom Film Series is scheduled for May 26. From Academy Award® nominee Jennifer Redfearn (Best Documentary Short Sun Comes Up), APART, filmed over 3 ½ years, follows three mothers who were caught between harsh drug sentencing and rising incarceration rates for women as part of America’s War on Drugs. The three women return home from prison and attempt to rebuild their lives after being separated from their children for years. Their stories overlap at a new reentry program for women run by an activist formerly incarcerated in the same prison. The award-winning film has been an official selection at multiple film festivals, including the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, HotDocs, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Cleveland International Film Festival.

Additional film dates are scheduled in July, September and November 2022, with film titles and details coming soon.

Tickets are $15 each and are available now. For more information on the Freedom Film Series visit


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

About the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival

The Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD, was founded by the Saul Schottenstein Foundation B and is presented by the Edwards Initiative, formerly Financial Independence Project. The festival, scheduled for July 7-10, 2022, showcases stories that celebrate the human spirit by providing a platform for audiences to see through another’s eyes. The festival also aims to spotlight the Queen City and its role in reframing how we see disability in the entertainment industry’s ongoing discussion of diversity. Learn more at

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