THROUGH A LENS DARKLY to Premiere at Sundance Film Festival – New Frontier!

Award-winning filmmaker/director/producer Thomas Allen Harris’ recently completed documentary film, THROUGH A LENS DARKLY: BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS AND THE EMERGENCE OF A PEOPLE, will make its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014. This epic film, about contemporary artists and scholars probing the recesses of the American dream by interrogating images of stories suppressed, forgotten and lost, is the first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present. The film brings to light previously hidden and largely unknown images by both professional and vernacular African American photographers which add to our understanding of history by providing a window into lives, experiences and perspectives of Black families that is absent from the traditional historical canon.

"The Empress, The Emperor and His Divine Staff" (1994) by Lyle Ashton Harris, Courtesy of CRG gallery

“My whole team and I are extremely excited and humbled by this honor,” says Thomas Allen Harris. “Inspired by the work of our co-producer Deborah Willis, this project has been ten years in the making. We’re looking forward to audiences experiencing this incredible content, much of which has never been seen before.”

Through A Lens Darkly – Screening Schedule

World Premiere:
Friday, January 17 at 9:00pm
Yarrow Park City

Saturday, January 18 at 12:45pm
Broadway 3, Salt Lake City

Sunday, January 19 at 4:30pm,
Redstone 7pm, Park City

Saturday, January 25 at 5:30pm
Holiday 1, Park City

THROUGH A LENS DARKLY will make its debut as part of New Frontier, which highlights work that celebrates experimentation and the expansion of cinema culture through the convergence of film, art and new media technology. The innovative transmedia companion to the film, DIGITAL DIASPORA FAMILY REUNION (DDFR) will make its debut at Sundance as well. DDFR re-imagines the social network by inviting audiences to participate in building the One World One Family Album(#1WORLD1FAMILY) by uploading and sharing their own family photos. Started in 2009, DDFR has held 13 live events, in 5 cities, generated 8.2 million media impressions, conducted over 600 interviews, gathering over 6,500 photographs in the process, which are part of a virtual user-generated family photo album that compliments the content of the film and celebrates shared values which underlie the American Experience. DDFR is open to everyone and audiences are invited to upload images to Instagram using #1WORLD1FAMILY, #DDFRtv and #Sundance to tag their photos, a selection of which will be shown at Sundance.

“Through A Lens Darkly” production still of (l. to r.) Thomas Allen Harris, Martina Radwan and Ming Smith

“Everywhere we’ve gone, the audience has been overwhelming,” says Thomas Allen Harris. “There is a real need for telling our stories that the film and DDFR are tapping into and that’s really satisfying.”

Digital Diaspora Family Reunion – Sundance Roadshow event

Monday, January 20 at 6:00pm
New Frontier at The Gateway
136 Heber Avenue, Park City

Friday, January 17–Friday, January 24, noon to 8:00 pm
Saturday & January 25, noon to 3:00 pm
New Frontier at the Gateway
136 Heber Avenue, Park City

This will be Thomas Allen Harris’ second feature-length documentary(É Minha Cara/That’s My Face 2002) to make its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The highly accomplished director has been pushing the boundaries of the documentary form throughout his career and THROUGH A LENS DARKLY represents his most ambitious foray into merging film, art, social media and live events into an immersive experience that pierces the boundaries of the screen. With DDFR, Harris hopes to ignite a movement across the country, just as he’s done in the communities where DDFR has already played.

Tag your family photographs on Instagram #1World1Family, #DDFRtv, #Sundance to be part of the Sundance experience!

DDFR Roadshow, 2013. Photo by Omar Columbus Courtesy of Digital Diaspora Family Reunion LLC

2 Responses to THROUGH A LENS DARKLY to Premiere at Sundance Film Festival – New Frontier!

  1. JaVonne Armstrong January 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    This looks phenomenal. Sorry I'm just seeing this. Best wishes!!!

  2. Dr. Phyllis Thompson March 7, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    I’m so excited that you have presented to the world a medium that black people have used for decades to record the joys, sorrows, and histories of their families. How can I see the film?

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