PBS To Air Lorraine Hansberry Documentary ‘Sighted Eyes/ Feeling Heart’ On Jan. 19

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PBS To Air Lorraine Hansberry Documentary ‘Sighted Eyes/ Feeling Heart’ On Jan. 19
Posted by Wilson Morales

December 6, 2017

On January 19th, PBS American Masters will premiere Sighted Eyes | Feeling Heart (SEFH), a feature length documentary on the life of the iconic playwright, communist, feminist, lesbian, and outspoken trailblazer Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun).

It is the first feature length film to ever be made about her, and, it is long, long overdue.  The global premiere was at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.  Its US premiere was at the Chicago International Film Festival, and was also recently screened at DocNYC.

In the late 1950s, when Lorraine Hansberry set out to write a play about the struggles of an ordinary black family on Chicago’s South Side, no work by a female African-American playwright had ever been produced on Broadway. Nearly six decades later her acclaimed, groundbreaking play “A Raisin in the Sun” remains a beloved theatrical jewel, but the fascinating story of its author is not widely known.

Narrated by award-winning actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson and featuring the voice of Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose as Lorraine Hansberry, Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart is filled with insightful on-camera interviews with those who knew her best, including Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte, Glynn Turman, Louis Gossett Jr and many more including Hansberry’s sister, Mamie Hansberry, who currently lives in Los Angeles with her granddaughter.  She’s in her 90s.

The film was directed by award-winning filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain, who spent over twenty years to make this documentary. Influenced as a high school student by a stage production of Hansberry’s “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” Strain has made it her life’s work to honor Hansberry and bring her story to the world extending beyond “A Raisin in the Sun.”  When she had no funding, she scraped together her own paychecks to document greats who knew and worked with Hansberry before they passed, so her story would not be lost, including Lloyd Richards, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and so many others.

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