Documentary by local filmmakers aims to spark dialogue on race

Nov 19, 2015

A local documentary currently under production offers thoughts on current issues from the African-American perspective. But its creators say the goal is to close the gap among races, for the good of all.

The film, The Blackness Project, is expected to be completed in February. It was inspired by another film, "The Whiteness Project," which provided a white point of view about race and the perception of lost white privilege.

Media and invited guests were shown a trailer for the documentary film, The Blackness Project, inside the Tri-Main Center in Buffalo on Thursday. The film is expected to be completed next February.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Blackness Project's executive producer, Peter Johnson, says Buffalo residents have proven their ability to come together in other walks of life.

"I'm proud of the economic progress and constructive development of our city in recent years," Johnson said. "I love the tenacity of fellow Buffalonians and the sense of camaraderie we have when cheer on our sports teams. That's why I'm confident that by creating a level of understanding for the opposite race in Buffalo, it will forward the city to being even more progressive and as diverse as any of the major cities of this country."

Directing the documentary is Korey Green, who has worked on nearly a half dozen short films and has won numerous awards for his work, including the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival. He, too, spoke of the importance of bringing people on opposite sides of the racial gap together.

"Because obviously if we don't come together, I really feel we'll be in trouble as a country," Green said. "Because no matter what happens,  if someone threatens our country or city, it's not going to matter the color of our skin. We're going to be treated as an American. I want to make sure the film reflects that."

Handed the task of editing an estimated 10 hours of interview footage is Steve Rosenthal, who at a Thursday news conference in Buffalo gave the room of mostly African-American guests a white person's take on the conversation the creators hope this film will spark.

Korey Green, director of The Blackness Project, discusses the film in front of media and invited guests on Thursday. Listening at the far left is executive producer Peter Johnson.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

"As mammals, we have built in a fear of the other. That's something that may have been helpful millions of years ago, but at this point it's very detrimental," Rosenthal said. "The potential that we are not getting because of our ignorance, willful or not, is tragic."

As the film continues to undergo the editing process, its producers are planning a Kickstarter fundraising event on December 5 at the Daemen College Theater in the Tri-Main Center in Buffalo. Money raised from that event, project leaders say, will cover the cost of distributing the film. Among their desired promotions is a college campus tour.

More information on the film is available at the project's website.