AFI Movie Club: NATIONTIME-GARY – American Film Institute
Nationtime-Gary Film Still - Amiri Baraka



William Greaves’ documentary NATIONTIME–GARY documents the inaugural National Black Political Convention and is narrated by the legendary Sidney Poitier – recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award. IndieCollect’s new 4k restoration of NATIONTIME–GARY screened online at AFI DOCS 2020.

Watch Richard Roundtree announce today’s film:

Movie Trivia about NATIONTIME – GARY

-DID YOU KNOW that director William Greaves made over 100 documentary films throughout his career, the majority of which focused on African American history, politics and culture? 

-DID YOU KNOW that William Greaves left the United States to live and work in Canada for a decade because African Americans were largely excluded from the American film industry? He returned to the U.S. in 1963 to document the Civil Rights Movement. 

-DID YOU KNOW that poet and activist Amiri Baraka originally approached documentary filmmaker William Greaves about the possibility of filming the National Black Political Convention, which took place from March 10–12, 1972, in Gary, Indiana? 

-DID YOU KNOW that there was no money available in the budget for a documentary? Recognizing the significance of the event, Greaves accepted the job, putting together a three-camera crew, and spending three days covering the historical event, which he later edited. 

-DID YOU KNOW the documentary was considered too militant for television broadcast at the time and was mostly circulated in an edited 60-minute version? 

-DID YOU KNOW throughout his prolific career, Greaves earned many national and international film festival awards, including a 1968 Emmy® as executive producer of BLACK JOURNAL, the first Black-produced nationally broadcast TV series in America? 

-DID YOU KNOW that until its recent discovery in a Pittsburgh warehouse (amidst thousands of films abandoned when the WRS Film Holdings Lab went bankrupt), the original cut of NATIONTIME—GARY was assumed to have been lost? 

-DID YOU KNOW that AFI Life Achievement honoree Jane Fonda helped fund the 4k restoration of NATIONTIME-GARY spearheaded by IndieCollect? She attended the historic convention in 1972 and recently touted the continued need for film preservation saying, “Perhaps we ought to invest as much money in saving films as we do in making them.”  


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

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-Why was the National Black Political Convention originally established? 

-Which prominent activists from the African American community attended? 

-Why do you think William Greaves accepted the job to document the convention, even without a budget to make the film? 

-The theme of the convention was “unity without uniformity.” What does this slogan mean? 

-The National Black Political Convention approved a platform that demanded a number of policies, including reparations for slavery, proportional congressional representation for blacks and the elimination of capital punishment (which affects a disproportionate number of African Americans). In the 48 years since the convention, what is the state of racial justice in this country and what progress is still needed? 

-What did the film community lose by not giving African American filmmakers, like William Greaves, the opportunity to make inroads in the industry? 

-How was William Greaves a nonfiction trailblazer including his work with the United Nations, the United States Information Agency and National Educational Television? 

-Looking at this recent restoration of NATIONTIME-GARY, why is film preservation so important, particularly for marginalized communities? 

-How would you rate NATIONTIME – GARY? 

In this exclusive video from the AFI Archive, watch Byron Lewis discuss Jesse Jackson’s powerful speech at the National Black Political Convention.

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