Back to List

SCETV's Tell Them We Are Rising Screenings

January 25, 2018 - Posted in HBCU Rising by Amy Shumaker

Through a collaboration between public media stations and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Firelight Films and South Carolina ETV will present several screenings of the latest film from Emmy and Peabody Award-winning director, Stanley Nelson, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities as part of a national HBCU Tour. Screening will be followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the creative team, university leaders, prominent alumni, and other invited guests to talk about the important issues explored in the documentary.  SCETV will also air the documentary statewide February 19 at 9:00 pm.

There are several South Carolina screenings prior to the broadcast:

Feb. 1, 2018  Columbia:  Benedict College. 5:30 pm opening reception, film and panel from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm.  David H. Swinton Center, 1616 Oak Street, Columbia 29204.  Eventbrite:

Feb. 1, 2018  Columbia:  Richland Library Sandhills 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm in the Sandhills Auditorium. 

“We’re pleased to present community screenings of this outstanding public television documentary in addition to our statewide broadcast,” said Anthony Padgett, president and CEO of South Carolina ETV.  “Education is a cornerstone of our society, and to recognize those people and institutions that have advanced it unceasingly is both inspiring and humbling.”

The tour is a major part of HBCU Rising, the year-long multi-platform engagement project designed to drive dialogue sparked by the film among a variety of audiences. Written, directed and produced by Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution) and produced by Firelight Films, Tell Them We Are Rising reveals for the first time the complex history of how HBCUs, havens for Black intellectuals, artists and trailblazers, offered a path of promise toward the American dream, educated the architects of freedom movements throughout the decades and cultivated leaders in every field. The film also examines the impact HBCUs have had on American history, culture and national identity for more than 150 years.

“We felt it was very important to showcase the film to students on HBCU campuses because this is a vital part of our African-American and American history,” said director Stanley Nelson. “Many students and even alumni are not aware of the deep history of how and why HBCUs were created and the foundation for success they provided for African Americans. We appreciate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s support and the partnership on the ground with local public television and radio stations to make this tour possible.”

In addition to events on campuses, HBCU Rising features public and marquee VIP screenings in major cities across the country, StoryCorps audio stories, video shorts exploring HBCU life, and an all-generation, all-school HBCU Digital Yearbook. Visit for more information.

The 90-minute film will air as part of the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens on Monday, February 19, 2018, 9 pm – 10:30 pm on SCETV. The film will also be available for online viewing on beginning February 20, 2018.

Major funding for the film, HBCU Rising and associated campus tours was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), as part of the public media initiative, American Graduate. Additional funding for campus tours is provided by Bank of America.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is directed, written and produced by Stanley Nelson, co-directed and co-produced by Marco Williams, written by Marcia Smith and produced by Cyndee Readdean and Stacey L. Holman, with executive producers Sally Jo Fifer, ITVS and Lois Vossen, Independent Lens. Funding for the film is provided by the CPB, ITVS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and the Ford Foundation.

South Carolina ETV is the state's public educational broadcasting network.  Using television, radio and the web, ETV's mission is to enrich lives by educating children, informing and connecting citizens, celebrating our culture and environment and instilling the joy of learning.  ETV provides national and local content to classrooms via internet services, LearningWhy, StreamlineSC and PBS Learning Media.  SCETV also provides teacher training and re-certification in face-to-face and online settings.  SCETV currently presents A Chef’s Life, Expeditions, Reel South, and For Your Home on public television in addition to national radio productions Piano Jazz and Chamber Music from Spoleto Festival USA.  SCETV began in 1958 in the library of Dreher High School in Columbia, SC teaching French and Plane Geometry classes to multiple schools via closed-circuit.  Today the network comprises 11 TV stations, eight radio stations, and a statewide tower network that serves schools, hospitals, and emergency management teams.

About Firelight Media/Firelight Films

Firelight was founded in 2000 by Emmy-winning, National Humanities medalist, and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow documentarian Stanley Nelson and award-winning writer and philanthropy executive Marcia Smith as an independent production company dedicated to harnessing the power of story-driven media as a platform for education and action. Best known for producing high-quality powerful productions for PBS and creating dynamic community engagement campaigns to ensure their reach and impact, Firelight is committed to making films about pivotal events, movements, and people in American history. Firelight has won numerous awards and enjoyed great critical acclaim, with nine films in the documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Past titles include Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till, A Place of Our Own, and Freedom Summer.

Firelight’s Documentary Lab is the largest program in the United States aimed specifically at developing the documentary projects and professional skills of emerging diverse documentary filmmakers.  In 2015, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded Firelight with the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, for their demonstrated creativity and impact in supporting the talents and careers of a diverse new generation of filmmakers.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is the second in a three-part series called America Revisited that includes The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, which broke Nielsen ratings and social media engagement records for PBS, and the forthcoming, The Slave Trade: Creating A New World.

About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.

About Independent Lens

Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00pm. The acclaimed series, with Lois Vossen as executive producer, features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by ITVS, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more, visit Join the conversation: and on Twitter @independentLens.




Facebook comments

Related Posts