New York Film Commissioner Cynthia Lopez, Mayor de Blasio, and Made In NY Award Honoree Stanley Nelson
New York Film Commissioner Cynthia Lopez, Mayor de Blasio, and Made In NY Award Honoree Stanley Nelson
Made In NY Award: Stanley Nelson

(released 12/30/2014)

Stanley Nelson was honored with a 2014 Made In NY Award at the Weylin B. Seymour Building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Monday, November 10th.

Stanley Nelson is a documentary filmmaker. Stanley is part of the MacArthur Fellow Class of 2002. He has a talent for piecing historical photos, film stock, and research to give us a look at time. Moments in time, social change throughout time, collective perspective in time using a balance of journalism to narrate his way.

Stanley Nelson's Freedom Riders premiered at Sundance in 2010. PBS aired the film in May 2011 to observe the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. The film was recognized with four Primetime Emmys. Freedom Summer premiered at Sundance in 2014. This film showed the summer of 1964 in Mississippi where the voter registration laws were being manipulated to prevent every citizen from registering. Tests were issued that challenged even PhD-educated individuals, leaving many unable to vote simply for not passing said test. The film examines the past and brings some of the 700 plus volunteers and movement leaders from present day to the screen to give their perspective.

The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords is another one of Nelson's labors. The history of the press in the United States was White in influence. The Black press was created as a voice for an unrecognized part of society. Blacks were viewed in the press as criminal, available for services, but not announced in the marriage columns or babies delivered news. The power of the pen led many publishers to a loyal reader base that purchased from the advertisers in the papers, deemed friendly to readers.

The Murder of Emmett Till won a Best Non-Fiction Directing Primetime Emmy, Sundance Jury Prize 2003, and the highest regard for broadcast journalism, the George Foster Peabody Award as well as others once it was released.

President Barack Obama recognized Nelson's vision in storytelling with a National Humanities Medal in 2013. The citation read aloud at the ceremony was noted as: "Stanley Nelson, Producer and Director, for documenting the story of African Americans through film. By turning a camera on both the well-known and unknown narratives of African Americans, Mr. Nelson has exposed injustice and triumph while revealing new depths of our Nation's history."

This series of Made In NY Award Honoree articles on will continue detailing each recipient's work.

1: Made In NY Awards Honor City's Best
2: Made In NY Award: Steve Buscemi
3: Made In NY Award: Louis CK
4: Made In NY Award: Stanley Nelson
5: Made In NY Award: Jane Raab

For photos of the red carpet and award presentation, please go to the PhotoSeen.

Print this article