HAMPTONS DOC FEST HONORS SAM POLLARD
WITH THE 2022 PENNEBAKER CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
A monumental career from a dedicated chronicler of the Black Experience in America.
7:00 Cocktail Reception
8:00 Pennebaker Tribute Award and Interview with Sam Pollard
Followed by a screening of Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power
Sam Pollard is a veteran feature film and television editor, and documentary producer/director. With a career spanning 50 years, describing the essence and impact of his thoughtful, stellar body of work – be it as editor, director, or producer - is a true challenge. The New York Times called him “a multi-hyphenate artist who has quietly built a monumental career” exploring the contours and nuances of social hierarchies and human behavior. A dedicated, inquisitive chronicler of the Black Experience in America, his work has garnered multiple Peabody and Emmy Awards, and an Academy Award nomination. He has been honored with a 2021 New York Film Festival Tribute and a 2021 Career Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association.
“When I think about his documentaries, they add up to a corpus — a way of telling African-American history in its various dimensions,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University scholar, literary critic, and producer of two of Pollard’s films.
Between 1990 and 2010, Pollard, a generous collaborator with a sharp, skillful eye, edited several Spike Lee Films: Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, Clockers and Bamboozled. He and Lee co-produced a few documentaries for the small and big screen, including Four Little Girls, about the 1963 Birmingham church bombings which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1998 and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2005) which won numerous awards, including a Peabody and three Emmy Awards. Five years later in 2010, he co-produced and supervised the edit on the film’s follow-up, If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise.
As a producer/director, since 2015, his credits include: Slavery by Another Name for PBS which was in competition at the Sundance Festival; August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand for American Masters; Two Trains Runnin’ which premiered at Full Frame Film Festival; and Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me for American Masters, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. In 2019, he co-directed the six-part series, Why We Hate, which premiered on The Discovery Channel. In 2020, he was one of the directors on the HBO series, Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children. Also that year, he completed MLK/FBI, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was featured at the New York Film Festival. In 2021, he directed Citizen Ashe, which premiered at Telluride.
Pollard has served on advisory committees for the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS). He has been a film professor at NYU for close to 30 years.
On a personal note, Sam has been a true friend to the festival. His enthusiasm and dedication to his craft, his unique affinity for collaboration, his commitment to mentorship and passing on what he has learned in his long and illustrious career is an inspiration to us all.
Hamptons Doc Fest has had the honor of showing five of Sam’s films:
● Sammy Davis Jr.: I Gotta Be Me - Winner, Filmmaker’s Choice Award 2015
● MLK/FBI – Opening Night Film 2020
● Black Art: In the Absence of Light – Special screening with the Parrish Art Museum 2020
● Citizen Ashe – Winner, Audience Award 2021
● Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power – on receiving the Pennebaker Career Achievement Award 2022
Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power
90 min, follows the Pennebaker Award presentation
DIRECTORS: Sam Pollard, Geeta Gandbhir
PRODUCERS: Jessica Devaney, Anya Rous, Dema Paxton Fofang
EDITOR: Viridiana Lieberman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Henry Adebonojo
In 1960, 80% of voters in Lowndes County, Alabama were black, but none of the black voters were registered to vote. What was behind this injustice? Lowndes County chronicles the courageous men and women, famous and unknown, who put their lives on the line to secure the right to vote for everyone. The story is told by the black and white people who were there at the time, including grassroots organizers and citizens content with the status quo, who share their personal anecdotes of that tumultuous time, lending an uncommon intimacy and authenticity to this historical documentary.
Sam Pollard is a veteran American film director, editor, producer, and screenwriter whose ground-breaking work is focused on the African American experience.
Geeta Gandbhir is an award-winning director, producer and editor with over 25 years in the industry. She has won two Emmy Awards. As editor, she has won an Academy Award and three Peabody Awards.
The Pennebaker Career Achievement Award is sponsored by Lana Jokel.