Stanley Nelson, director of ‘Black Panthers’ doc: Exclusive video interview, photos

Stanley Nelson Black Panterhs Milwaukee Film Festival Follow Me on Pinterest

Sep 28, 2015. Film director Stanley Nelson at the Oriental Theatre, Milwaukee Film Festival. credit: Jennifer Johnson

The documentary “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” premiered at the Milwaukee Film Festival on September 28, 2015. Director Stanley Nelson spent the day in Milwaukee in support of the film’s premier as well as the festival- conducting a master class for filmmakers, accepting the Tribute Award, facilitating a Q&A, and meeting with the press. During Nelson’s visit, I was able to interview him about “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” as well as projects he has on the horizon.

“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution will screen one more time at the Milwaukee Film Festival on Monday, October 5 at 5:00 PM at Times Cinema. Tickets are sold out, but you may go to the Rush Line on the day of the event for a chance at a ticket if any seats go unused. Nationwide, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” premiered in select cities this month and new cities are constantly being added. The documentary is also continuing to make its rounds in the film festival circuit. To find out if the documentary is playing your town or one near you, visit

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 VIDEO: Interview with Stanley Nelson

(click here to view directly on YouTube)

In my interview with Stanley Nelson, he discusses topics such as his inspiration for creating the documentary, its relevance in today’s world, where the documentary can be screened, and next projects.

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Here are some images taken during Stanley Johnson’s visit to Milwaukee during the Milwaukee Film Festival to help promote the documentary “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” that he directed. Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

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I was honored to meet and interview Stanley Nelson, who is not only an accomplished filmmaker but also a film professor at my undergraduate alma mater Morgan State University (hence why I’m rockin’ my Morgan State jacket in the photo with him above 🙂 ). I’m also glad that I had a change of heart and went to see his documentary. The second question I asked in the video interview with Stanley Nelson was about people who felt we didn’t need another movie about the Black Panthers. I asked because I, admittedly, was one of those people; and now I stand corrected. As Nelson explained, there are no films to date whose sole focus is to document the rise through the ultimate demise of the Black Panther Party.

After viewing the documentary, I walked away with a greater understanding of the Black Panthers as well as dispelled some misnomers. The Black Panthers, for example, were not just a group of black radicals carrying guns who sported black leather jackets and berets with the sole intention of sticking it to “The Man.” There was also a commitment to servicing the community with programs such as free health clinics and free breakfast for children. In the process of researching for my interview, I learned that Angela Davis was not a Black Panther; and that is why she doesn’t even receive a mention in the documentary. There were, however, plenty of women who were integral to the Black Panther Party. You will also be astonished by the great lengths the FBI went to take down the Black Panther Party. If nothing else, the film has great relevance to today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement. Yes, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” is two hours in length, but it is masterfully edited and leaves you satiated with knowledge of a movement commonly misunderstood and misrepresented in the media.

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