Virtual Screening Room: Nationtime

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1973 • dir William Greaves w/Amiri Baraka, Charles Diggs, Walter Fauntroy, Dick Gregory, Richard Hatcher, Isaac Hayes, Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, Queen Mother Moore, Richard Roundtree, Bobby Seale, Betty Shabazz; narrated by Sidney Poitier & Harry Belafonte • 80 min

NATIONTIME is the long-lost film that William Greaves made about the National Black Political Convention of 1972, when 10,000 black politicians, activists and artists went to Gary, Indiana, to forge a national unity platform in advance of the Republican and Democratic presidential conventions. The delegates included a wide array of political thinkers from across the political spectrum – Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale, Pan-Africanist Amiri Baraka, PUSH founder Jesse Jackson, elected officials Ron Dellums, Charles Diggs, Walter Fauntroy, Richard Hatcher, Carl McCall, plus key women in the fight for racial equality – Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, Fannie Lou Hamer and Queen Mother Moore (who was arguing for reparations). Entertainers Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Isaac Hayes and Richard Roundtree lent their star quality and entertained the crowds.

Best known for his avant-garde meta-documentary Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, William Greaves (1926–2014) was also the director of over 100 documentary films, the majority focused on African American history, politics, and culture. NATIONTIME is his report on the historic events of the Convention narrated by Sidney Poitier & Harry Belafonte. The film was considered too militant for television broadcast at the time and has since circulated only in an edited 58-minute version. This new 4K restoration from IndieCollect, with funding from Jane Fonda and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, returns the film to its original 80-minute length and visual quality.

“Buzzes with long-term historical power.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“This rousing and revelatory documentary celebrates a diversity of black voices, finding support and solidarity even amid expected tensions and divisions.”
– Malin Kan, AFI Fest

“Dynamic and powerful.”
– Tambay Obenson, Indiewire