Oftentimes, as evidenced by music, TV and film, a lot of emphasis put on the subsets of urban communities and how they find not only their place, but their way in the world. But what about the ones who live in small-town rural locales? Who speaks for them?
Documentary filmmaker Margaret Byrne and J. Cole are shining a light on that less visible demographic with Raising Bertie. Bryne and Cole teamed up as director/producer and executive producer, respectively, for the forthcoming PBS POV (Point of View) series. The film follows Reginald “Junior” Askew, David “Bud” Perry, and Davonte “Dada” Harrell, three young black men growing up in North Carolina’s rural Bertie County, a town with a population of just over 20,000 people.
This six-year portrait of a film followed the trio through their individuals financial difficulties, family and community relationships, making it to graduation, societal discouragement, solidifying employment and more. “I didn’t want to focus on stories of the exceptional,” Byrne said in a statement. “The truth is, I made a film about three kids I met and I cared about. The individuals in this story are representative of their community and they matter.”
Byrne and Cole are joined by producers Ian Robertson Kibbe and Jon Stuyvesant, editor/co-writer Leslie Simmer, composer Eric Andrew Kuhn, Kartemquin Films executive producer Gordon Quinn and POV executive producers Justine Nagan and Chris White.
Raising Bertie premieres on PBS on August 28. Watch the trailer below.