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Meet ‘Maya Angelou’ filmmaker and director Bob Hercules

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Maya Angelou 10The 2016 Fort Myers Film Festival has announced that among the films it will screen this year is the award-winning documentary Maya Angelou and Still I Rise by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack.

Bob Hercules is an independent filmmaker and co-owner of Media Process Group, a Chicago-based production company. Hercules’ work has been seen widely on PBS, the Discovery Channel, IFC, The Learning Channel and through television syndication nationwide. Hercules’ two most recent Maya Angelou 17films both focus on dance. Narrated by Mandy Patinkin, Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance tells the full story of the groundbreaking ballet company and their many rises and falls. It premiered in January, 2012 at the Dance on Camera Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Bill T. Jones: A Good Man aired on the PBS series American Masters in 2011 and played at many film Maya Angelou 09festivals including IDFA, Silverdocs, Full Frame, DOXA and the Southern Circuit.

His 2009 documentary, Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger, chronicles the radical priest whose controversial tactics to fight racism put him at odds with the Catholic hierarchy. The film was named Best Documentary at the 2009 Big Maya Angelou 16Muddy Film Festival and was the opening night film at the 2009 Black Harvest Film Festival.

In 2008 Hercules co-produced and directed the Barack Obama and Michelle Obama biography videos for Obama’s presidential campaign website . He also co-directed Obama’s 2007 presidential announcement video in Springfield, Maya Angelou 08Illinois. Hercules’ 2006 documentary, Senator Obama Goes to Africa, is a chronicle of Obama’s momentous 2006 diplomatic trip to Africa, including an emotional visit to Kisumu, Kenya-homeland of his late father. It is currently in home video release from First Run Features.

Hercules’ acclaimed 2006 feature documentary, Forgiving Dr. Mengele, tells the remarkable story of Auschwitz survivor and former ‘Mengele twin’ Eva Mozes Kor, whose decision to forgive the perpetrators as an act of self-healing sparked a firestorm of criticism. The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival and the Crystal Heart Award at the 2006 Heartland Film Festival. It is currently in home video release from First Run Features.

Maya Angelou 15Hercules’ 1999 documentary, The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky & His Legacy (narrated by Alec Baldwin) examines the legendary community organizer, Alinsky, and his adaptive legacy. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the program aired on PBS in 2000. It won Best Documentary at the 1999 Philadelphia International Film Festival, a Special Jury Prize at the 1999 USA Film Festival and was nominated for an Emmy Award.

His narrative short, The Last Frontier (a satire of the commercialization of our culture), won Best Dramatic Film at the 2001 IFP Midwest Film Festival and aired on the Independent Film Channel in July, 2002.

Maya Angelou 11Hercules and fellow director Rita Coburn Whack will attend the Fort Myers Film Festival and participate in meet-and-greet Q&A sessions following the documentary’s screenings at Quality Life Center at 3210 Dr. Martin Luther Kind, Jr. Blvd. in Fort Myers on Thursday, April 7, the red carpet showing at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center on Friday, April 8, and the Heights Foundation.

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