This June at the Tribeca Film Festival 2023, Paula Weinstein, the Chief Content Officer of Tribeca Enterprises surprised a packed house at the Festival’s annual Harry Belafonte Voices for Social Justice Award presentation with a special, never-before-seen extended sneak peek documentary Following Harry. Following Harry is an upcoming documentary about Belafonte’s life from Sing Your Song director Susanne Rostock.
Grammy Award-winning artist and activist Alicia Keys presented the social justice award to Academy Award-winning actress and activist Jane Fonda at this year’s ceremony, held at Indeed Theater at Spring Studios. The event ended with a masterful and inspirational four-minute footage from the documentary that Belafonte hoped to inspire the next generation of activists.
Over the past 12 years, Belafonte collaborated with Rostock to create a documentary to tell the story of his thoughtful and deliberate mission to transition his knowledge gained through experience to inspire as many artists, activists, and young leaders as possible. This clip was the prologue to that film and the audience was incredibly moved by the viewing and the realization that the final chapter of Belafonte’s life has been captured in such an authentic and powerful form. Following Harry is currently in post-production.
The film is a feature documentary that shares the lived experience of Belafonte, in the most public of places and the most intimate confines of his private life. The documentary unfolds like a poem, allowing audiences to experience the effect that social justice has purposefully and unintentionally created. From Ferguson to Fruitland Park, and Ossining to Ghana, even in Harry’s kitchen in New York City, the life’s work of this cultural and civil rights icon is fully explored. Belafonte died April 25 at the age of 96.
Take a look at the sneak peek below.
Following Harry‘s director of photography is Martina Radwan. The film is produced by Rostock, Frankie Nasso and Julius R. Nasso, with Belafonte, Pamala Belafonte, Jeff Kranzdor and Edward Zeng executive producing.
Born to New York City and Caribbean immigrants on March 1st 1927, Belafonte witnessed first hand of systemic racism and poverty in Jamaica and in America. Soon after, he became an actor and singer where his rise to prominent fame began. The success of his first movie Carmon Jones in 1954 put Belafonte on the map. He was the first Black actor to win an Emmy for Revlon Revue: Tonight with Belafonte in 1959 and was the first Black television producer. He was also famous for introducing a new genre of folk music in the form of his album Calypso earning him the nickname “King of Calypso”. He was also a civil rights icon who helped spearhead the change for equality in America and throughout the world. He continued to use the art forms of music and entertainment to help spread awareness for change and hope for Black Americans and the whole of society. He was married and divorced twice over the course of his life until he settled with his third wife Pamela Frank in 2008.
This documentary reflects Belafonte’s lifelong struggle and the hope for change and equality in America and around the world.