Film about civil rights activist honored at St. Tropez Film Festival
June 2, 2013 - Quinnipiac University was honored at the St. Tropez International Film Festival for its documentary, "Justice as a Black Woman: The Life and Work of Constance Baker Motley." The film was named Best Documentary Feature at the festival held in May 2013 in France.
The biographical film tells the story of the New Haven native, who was a civil rights activist, state senator, lawyer and judge. Among her accomplishments was successfully arguing 10 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and earning an appointment to the federal bench by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
"Constance Baker Motley's tireless work on behalf of justice and equality changed American society forever," said Michael Calia, producer of the film and director of Quinnipiac's Ed McMahon Mass Communications Center.
"From humble beginnings, she rose to become a champion of all who were victims of discrimination and oppression, fighting to give all Americans the education and opportunities they deserved. This video presentation tells the story of one of the most important figures to emerge in the struggle for civil rights in the middle of the 20th century."
"Our entire production team felt privileged to work on 'Justice is a Black Woman,' " Calia said.
"We were pleased to help shed light on the life and career of this extraordinary American, who did so much to promote equality and fairness. It is an honor to be nominated. It's a source of pride for all of us here at Quinnipiac."
Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs at Quinnipiac, was the film's executive producer and Gary Ford was a producer. Alumna Susan Bailey was the film's writer.
"Although Motley's actions facilitated the dismantling of Jim Crow and a segregated society, she has remained relatively unknown and invisible in historical accounts of the civil rights movement," Ford said. "My hope is that the documentary will correct this oversight and that viewers will become educated about - and appreciate - the important contribution Motley made to the success of the civil rights movement and to America."
The documentary has also been recognized with other awards and nominations.
The film was named a bronze winner in the 34th Annual Telly Awards, which was founded in 1979 to honor outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions and online commercials, video and films.
The film was honored by the Seedling Film Association at its Offshoot Film Fest 2012. "Justice as a Black Woman" was named the Best Higher Education Film at the festival. It was also nominated for a regional Emmy award by the Boston/New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.