MacArthur Fellow Stanley Nelson has devoted his career to documentary explorations of the African American experience. The 65-year-old director/producer has made films on Marcus Garvey, the Freedom Riders and the Black Panthers. His most recent film is Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, which premiered this week at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Nelson hired editor Kim Miille to cut the film. Below, Miille shares her thoughts on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), making archival photos and letters cinematic and her origins as an editor.
Manifesto was originally planned as a 13-screen installation for the art context. And so it is touring museums and art festivals now. But I also got some funding from a German TV channel and I needed to consider how to bring that multi-screen-concept later into a linear version. Given the fact that we only had 11 days to shoot with Cate, the entire project, running in my mind parallel on two different tracks, turned out to be a tour de force for everybody involved. Certainly Cate outstripped us all with her immeasurable enthusiasm and commitment. How do you make dozens of highly complicated texts by furious young artists into performable material for a film?