EXCLUSIVE: The Toronto Film Festival is hosting the world premiere of the first feature-length documentary on playwright Lorraine Hansberry, who penned the iconic A Raisin In The Sun. The docu, Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, is directed by Tracy Heather Strain, with LaTanya Richardson Jackson narrating and Anika Noni Rose as the voice of Hansberry. Both Richardson Jackson and Rose performed and were Tony-nominated in the 2014 revival of the Tony-winning play alongside Denzel Washington.
The Toronto bow in the TIFF Docs section tonight at 9:30 at Jackman comes ahead of its TV premiere in February on PBS’ American Masters.
The pic explores the life and work of Hansberry, a passionate Chicago-born writer and civil-rights advocate, who played a significant role in major cultural and political movements. That’s in addition of course to what she’s most known for: Sun the first work by a female African-American playwright to be produced on Broadway when it opened in 1959 with Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee starring. It won the Tony and has been one of the most influential stage plays ever written.
“A feature length film that explores the life, art and times of Lorraine Hansberry is long overdue,” Strain told Deadline. “Hansberry has been perceived as a pearl-wearing icon of middle-class values who is in the books for being a black first because of her groundbreaking play A Raisin In The Sun. Hansberry’s significance is wider and deeper than her first play. She was a woman with complex identities and concerns that remain a part of the dominant narratives of life today. And, like many of her contemporaries who were active in the struggle for civil rights in America, her words are as relevant today as they were when she first wrote them nearly 60 years ago.”
Check out the trailer above and the new poster below: