EXCLUSIVE: Kino Lorber has acquired U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to documentary Nationtime by William Greaves, about the historic National Black Political Convention of 1972 which brought together major Black leaders and activists of the time.
The distributor is planning an October 23 release in virtual cinemas through its Kino Marquee label.
Narrated by Sidney Poitier, the film was originally considered too radical for TV broadcast, and has only circulated in a heavily edited 60-minute version. But the original full-length version was found in a Pittsburgh warehouse in 2018 and restored in 4K by IndieCollect, supervised by Louise Greaves and funded by Jane Fonda and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Trust.
The documentary, which also includes poems recited by Harry Belafonte, focuses on the Gary Convention in Indiana, which gathered 10,000 Black politicians, activists, and artists from across the political spectrum, including more than 500 media representatives.
Delegates included Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale, Coretta Scott King, Pan-Africanist artist and activist Amiri Baraka, Dr. Betty Shabazz, PUSH founder Rev. Jesse Jackson, Fannie Lou Hamer and Queen Mother Moore, and elected officials Ron Dellums, Charles Diggs, Walter Fauntroy, Richard Hatcher, Carl McCall.
Activists and entertainers Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Isaac Hayes and Richard Roundtree performed for the crowds over the three days.
The Nationtime deal was negotiated by Wendy Lidell, SVP of Kino Lorber and IndieCollect President Sandra Schulberg.
Richard Lorber, President and CEO of Kino Lorber commented: “With the Black Lives Matter movement at the forefront and our country heading into the 2020 political conventions, we are proud to release the complete cut of Nationtime. We hope that the spirit and energy of the National Black Political Convention of 1972 will be a reminder of how much work still needs to be done to push for racial equality for all Black people in our country.”
Louise Greaves added: “A turning point in the struggle for self-determination and equal rights, the National Black Political Convention of 1972 adjourned without reaching consensus and some deemed it a failure. But the cry of ‘Nationtime’ reverberates as America continues to wrestle with its legacy of slavery. I know Bill would be absolutely thrilled that Nationtime is being released nationwide at this critical moment in our history.”