Documentary featuring AFSC staffer wins top prize
“Comrade Sunshine” named Best Documentary at independent film festival
PHILADELPHIA (October 16, 2013) - The provocative short documentary Comrade Sunshine profiling an incarcerated former member of the Black Panther Party has won the award for Best Documentary at the 8th Annual Independent Television and Film Festival (ITVFest). The film features Dominque Stevenson, who directs the Friend of a Friend program of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker peace and justice organization.
Cameron Granadino’s Comrade Sunshine tells the story of Marshall “Eddie” Conway, a former Black Panther Party member who is incarcerated, and features Dominque Stevenson, who co-authored his autobiography “Marshall Law: The Life and Times of a Baltimore Black Panther,” and Wahid Shakur, who directs outreach for Friend of a Friend, a prison-based mentoring program.
“Comrade Sunshine accurately captures the spirit of the Friend of a Friend program and the process of re-entry and redemption for young men in Baltimore,” said Dominque, a long-time prison activist.
Filmed during the summer of 2012, the documentary is set in Baltimore, Md. It stemmed from a 2010 phone call to a college class by Marshall Conway from his cell in Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI) in Jessup, Md. He spoke to a class of 300 about the circumstances of his imprisonment and the history of the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party.
His story inspired Cameron to create a short film about U.S. political prisoners, focusing on Marshall Conway’s legal case.
“Due to difficulties in securing in-person interviews with Eddie at JCI, the project was re-focused on his support system. I was immediately drawn to the work of Dominque Stevenson and Wahid Shakur, who have dedicated much of their lives to the issues of political imprisonment and mass incarceration,” Cameron said.
The film will be screened at the 47th Black Panther Party reunion at the Community Bookstore in New Orleans on October 26, and the Mississippi International film festival October 25-26, 2013.
The ITVFest recognizes film, television, and new media professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change.
To learn more about the documentary, visit: www.comradesunshinemovie.com.
For more about AFSC’s work in Baltimore, visit afsc.org/office/baltimore-md