From Nationtime (1972), dir. William Greaves (courtesy Kino Lorber)

An active filmmaker for nearly 50 years before his death in 2014, William Greaves was continually at the forefront of Black independent directors in the US. He was a vital contributor to the long-running public affairs show Black Journal (episodes of which are archived online), and directed numerous short and feature documentaries about the Civil Rights Movement and Black American life. He is perhaps best-known today for his landmark experimental film Symbiopscyhotaxiplasm, a dizzying nesting doll of fiction and nonfiction elements.

Recently, under the supervision of Greaves’s widow Louise and avant-garde filmmaker Su Friedrich, a new website dedicated to his work has launched. An incredibly thorough resource, the site features not merely biographical information about Greaves and a catalog of his oeuvre, but hundreds of reviews and articles about him and his work. There is also a comprehensive guide on how to purchase or stream his films, which is extremely helpful since many of them are otherwise difficult to find.

All this comes along with the news that Kino Lorber will be distributing a restoration of Greaves’s 1972 documentary Nationtime. Narrated by Sidney Poitier, it follows the historic National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana that year. The film was produced for broadcast but deemed “too radical” upon its original release, and for decades has only been available in an edited 60-minute version. The 4K restoration by IndieCollect adds the 20 minutes of excised footage. The film will be released in virtual cinemas on October 23.

Dan Schindel is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Brooklyn, and a former associate editor at Hyperallergic. His portfolio and links are here.

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