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EXCLUSIVE: PBS’ documentary series POV has acquired U.S. broadcast rights to Pier Kids, Elegance Bratton’s LGBTQ documentary that premiered at DOC NYC and won awards for its director Elegance Bratton at Outfest and the Spirit Awards among its film festival accolades. With the deal, the pic will be part of POV‘s upcoming season that launches in June.
Pier Kids explores the lives of the Black, homeless queer and trans youth who call the Christopher Street Pier in New York City their home, forging friendships and chosen families. The doc focuses the kids as they navigate their lives, withstanding homophobia and discrimination while working to carve out autonomy and security. It is a subject close to Bratton: he lived in the Christopher Street Pier for a decade after leaving home at age 16.
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The film is the first from Bratton and Chester Algernal Gordon’s production company Freedom Principle and was more than eight years in the making. It won Bratton a Truer Than Fiction nod at this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards given to an emerging director of nonfiction films.
“It’s a privilege to have a true insider’s view into such a vibrant community, one borne of struggle and joy. Elegance celebrates the lives of these Black queer and trans youth with an unvarnished lens, highlighting their resilience while laying bare the fact that, in many ways, they are just hanging on,” POV executive producer Chris White said.
Said Bratton: “Pier Kids stares down the past 50 years of the gay rights movement by witnessing the lived experience of Casper, Desean, and Krystal – three Black queer and trans homeless youth. POV sits at the direct intersection of government and art; to premiere on their platform is a dream come true. Its easy accessibility and relationship to change makers gives my film a great base to advocate for the issue of queer youth homelessness. Every queer person, no matter where they live, is a Pier Kid because Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson made a sacrifice so that we can all be free. This is not a film about statistics or celebrity. This is a film that believes the people on screen are the experts of their own lives and, through bearing witness to their truth, viewers will be galvanized to end LGBT youth homelessness.”
The Pier Kids deal was negotiated by Justine Nagan and White on behalf of POV and Granderson Des Rochers and Gordon on behalf of Freedom Principle.
Bratton and Gordon are already at work on their next documentary Hell Fighter, about African American jazz pioneer and music mogul and James Reese Europe, who was a lieutenant in World War I in the 369th Infantry Regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters.
Bratton and Gordon are represented by Gersh, Granderson Des Rochers and Wolf-Kasteler.
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