Ellis Haizlip and the Birth of Black Power TV
A film by Samuel D. Pollard and Melissa Haizlip

Samuel Pollard


Samuel has collaborated extensively with many filmmakers, bringing programming that illuminates the Black experience in America to both television and theatrical audiences for over twenty-five years. He recently directed the documentaries AUGUST WILSON: THE GROUND ON WHICH I STAND for American Masters and edited FRANK SINATRA: ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL for HBO. Pollard produced and directed SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME (Sundance 2012, PBS) and edited JOE PAPP IN FIVE ACTS (Tribeca 2012). He edited the Spike Lee documentaries WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS, IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE, and FOUR LITTLE GIRLS (HBO); INSIDE MAN, CLOCKERS, JUNGLE FEVER, and MO’ BETTER BLUES. He edited BY THE PEOPLE: THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA and CHISHOLM ’72: UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED. For PBS, he produced a segment of “The Blues” series directed by Martin Scorsese, “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,” and “Eyes On The Prize: The Civil Rights Years.” Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University for over twenty years.

Melissa Haizlip

MELISSA HAIZLIP (Producer/Director)

Melissa is an award-winning filmmaker born in Boston and raised in the US Virgin Islands, Connecticut and New York. Melissa is the 2016 Artist in Residence at the National Black Programming Consortium, and participated in the 2015 NALIP ARC Diverse Women In Media Residency. She is a Chaz and Roger Ebert Producing Fellow, and an alumnus of Film Independent’s Project: Involve, Firelight Media Documentary Lab, and the PGA Diversity Workshop. Melissa attended Yale University. She produced YOU’RE DEAD TO ME (2013) directed by Wu Tsang, about a grieving Chicana mother coming to terms with the loss of her transgender child on Día de los Muertos. The film won Best Short at the 2014 Imagen Awards, Reel Sisters of the Diaspora, Everybody’s Beautiful (Geneva), LesGaiCine Madrid, and Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival (Los Angeles). It has screened at over 50 festivals and museums, including the PBS Online Film Festival, the British Museum, Outfest, Frameline38, Palm Springs International ShortFest, San Diego Latino Film Festival, MIX New York, Mexico, and Brasil, Can[Be]Gay (Tenerife, Spain), LA ShortsFest, HollyShorts, and the NYWIFT Women Calling the Shots program at Hamptons International Film Festival.

In 2009, Melissa founded Shoes In The Bed Productions, an independent film production company producing cinematic works of non-fiction with an emphasis on diverse new voices and filmmakers of color. The company's first feature-length documentary, Mr. SOUL! screened a work-in-progress at IFP’s Spotlight on Documentaries during Independent Film Week, and at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. Melissa’s two-channel art films have been funded and exhibited by the Hammer Museum’s Los Angeles Biennial, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Clifton Benevento Gallery in SoHo. Melissa received a 2016 JustFilms Grant from the Ford Foundation, the 2015 Media Projects Production Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the 2015 Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund Grant from the International Documentary Association for Mr. SOUL! She has also received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, ITVS, National Black Programming Consortium, Firelight Media, Awesome Without Borders, support from IFP and Latino Public Broadcasting. She is currently in production on Mr. SOUL! and the sci-fi feature A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BLISS directed by Wu Tsang.

Airrion Copeland

MABLE HADDOCK (Consulting Producer)

Mable has spent the past three decades advocating for and supporting social issue films and media makers of color.  She is the former Executive Director and Founder of the National Black Programming Consortium.  Ms. Haddock recently completed her term as Director of the Firelight Media Producers’ Lab.  Currently she is developing new projects to facilitate the emergence of the next generation of multicultural media professionals.  Ms. Haddock holds a Certificate of Public Broadcast Management from the Wharton School of Business.



Bradford Young

BRADFORD YOUNG (Director of Photography)

Bradford grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. Recently, Bradford lensed the Academy Award-winning SELMA (2014) directed by Ava DuVernay, and A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (2014) directed by J. C. Chandor. He won the 2013 Sundance Excellence in Cinematography Award (U.S. Dramatic) for two films simultaneously: MOTHER OF GEORGE and AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS. His work garnered attention when he lensed Dee Rees's PARIAH (Sundance 2011) when Bradford was honored with the Excellence in Cinematography Award (U.S. Dramatic). His cinematography includes BEAT-UP LITTLE SEAGULL (2016), PAWN SACRIFICE, RESTLESS CITY, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, MISSISSIPPI DAMNED, and ENTRE NOS. Bradford received his MFA from Howard University, where he studied under Haile Gerima.

Stanley Nelson


Stanley is the recipient of the 2013 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. An Emmy-winning MacArthur “genius” Fellow, Nelson is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Firelight Media, which provides technical education and professional support to emerging documentarians; and co-founder of the for-profit documentary production company, Firelight Films. With many films in competition at Sundance and multiple industry awards to his credit, Nelson is acknowledged as one of the premier documentary filmmakers working today. His latest films include THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (2015), FREEDOM SUMMER (2014), the 2011 Emmy Award-winning FREEDOM RIDERS (American Experience, PBS 2011) and WOUNDED KNEE, which is part of the landmark series on Native Americans We Shall Remain (PBS 2009). Both films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and 2009 respectively.

Nelson’s oeuvre spans the range of documentary forms. JONESTOWN: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PEOPLES TEMPLE previewed in April 2006 at the Tribeca and San Francisco Film Festivals and won awards at both festivals. JONESTOWN was subsequently shortlisted for the Academy Awards and won the International Documentary Association Award for its use of archival footage.

Jason Pollard


Jason's introduction to film began at an early age through his parents, Sam and Glenda. As a result of their influence, Jason studied film at New York University. In 2007, he co- edited PETE SEEGER: THE POWER OF SONG, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. He also co-edited SING YOUR SONG, a documentary about the life of singer/activist Harry Belafonte which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. In 2012, he edited the PBS documentary SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Jason has received a degree in Bachelors in Fine Arts in Film & Television and a Masters in Cinema Studies, both from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Anne Etheridge

ANNE ETHERIDGE (Additional Photography)

Anne graduated from Williams College and received her M.F.A. from the American Film Institute. Since then, Anne has worked in the film industry as a producer and director of photography for documentaries, feature film and television. Her documentaries have aired on HBO, Showtime, and The Movie Channel. Anne's short for director Liza Johnson premiered at MoMA's Documentary Fortnight 2010. Two of her bio-documentaries premiered this summer on PBS: STRONG!, about the USA Olympic weightlifter, Cheryl Haworth (Independent Lens) and CALIFORNIA STATE OF MIND: THE LEGACY OF PAT BROWN (KQED). Her film RETURN had its world premiere in the Director' Fortnight at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Christopher Lukas

CHRISTOPHER LUKAS (Consulting Producer)

Christopher has produced, written, and directed for public and commercial television for the past fifty years. He was director of programming for WNET in the late 1960's, was the originator of the entire SOUL! project, and has been an executive at several public television outlets. He was chairman of the department of Communications at City College of New York for six years, and has served on the media advisory panel of both the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. As a writer, his most recent book is BLUE GENES: A Memoir of Loss and Survival. As a producer/director, he is currently in production on a documentary about Pete Seeger.


Leonard Joseph

LEONARD JOSEPH (Associate Producer)

Leonard founded Reverse Angle Productions, an independent film and television production company, in 2008. Joseph produced, directed and wrote the company's debut short, DREAMS AT THE END OF THE ROPE (2010). The film received the Gold Remi award at the 43rd Annual WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, honorable mention at the 9th Urban Mediamakers Film Festival Atlanta, and was an official selection at the International Black Film Festival of Nashville. Before focusing on film, Joseph enjoyed an extensive theatrical career, performing on Broadway and touring nationally and internationally. He is currently writing and developing new projects.