Activist filmmaker, Rochelle White provides audiences with an in-depth feature length social justice impact documentary film shot in an interview intensive format using 24 mm to 50 mm lenses. The NYPD, Gwen Carr, Kadi Diallo, William Bell, retired officers, Matt Fogg, Daniel Model, and Baron Marquis take center stage as the primary characters in the film. These individuals share testimonies representing both sides of the law, providing an unbiased account for the viewers.
Middle Men paints a clear picture of policing in the context of race, targeting, mass incarceration, and democracy, while exploring the complexities of working as a police officer (a middle man) in this day and age. White explores the idea that” middle men” may unconsciously be contributing to mass incarceration and racism out of a need to meet quotas under the Compstat policing model. In the film, White delves into the multifaceted topic of policing, placing a particular emphasis on Compstat, a model currently being used by the NYPD, more commonly known as the mecca of considered to be the mecca of policing, the NYPD.
Using documentary style activism, White provides valuable insight for her audience. The eye opening dialogue that takes place throughout the film is highlighted by commentary that allows the viewer to gain a better understanding of what the politics of policing entails and how it relates to race, police brutality, stop and frisk, mass incarceration and the business of policing. The discourse provided by a diverse group of individuals including retired police officers, lawyers, and professors is an exchange of ideas aimed to enlighten and inspire audiences to educate themselves and work together to demand reform.
While educating the audience, White intertwines interviews from Gwen Carr (mother of the late Eric Garner), Kadi Diallo (mother of the late Amadou Diallo), William Bell (father of the late Sean Bell) and Nicholas Heyward, (father of the late Nicholas Heyward) to tell their stories of what it is like to lose a love one due to the negligence of those put in place to protect and to serve, and how they are coping with the fact that none of their children’s’ killers have been brought to justice.
In an attempt to initiate change, Middle Men takes an in-depth look at all of the factors that fuel this system, including the media’s infatuation with showcasing and perpetuating racial stereotypes.
Marcus Stukes is from Long Island, NY. He is a graduating senior attending CUNY Brooklyn College with a major in Film Production. He is currently editing two narrative short films in the Brooklyn College Film Department and has been an active member on other projects within the department. He has previously interned with ‘Things Are Changing Productions’ and is a current intern and video editor assistant with ‘Mindz Productions’. After graduation, he plans to continue growing his career in the film industry as a thriving story editor.
David Nazario is a professional writer, educator, and speaker.
Rochelle is a documentary and narrative filmmaker. She is the Director and Producer of
award winning short documentary P.S. I can’t Breathe (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4431994/).
This film has screened at the winter film awards, Commffest global community festival, and
short film corner at the Cannes, mosaic museum, and Lesley art design. It has won the award
for recognition from in the best shorts competition.
Indie wire (http://www.indiewire.com/2015/08/what-to-watch-this-weekend-15-short-films-thatsay-
blacklivesmatter-234962/) included the film in its list of 15 short films that say black lives
matter. Rochelle self distributes the DVD form of this documentary to universities and college libraries
which include but not limited to Berkeley, NYU, Rutgers, and the New York public library.
Kanopy (https://www.kanopystreaming.com/product/ps-i-cant-breathe-black-lives-matter) is the
documentary’s online streaming outlet that also distributes the film to universities and college libraries.
She has a study guide to accompany the film which has been used in numerous classrooms.
She has also directed short narrative film, illumination and other causalities of war which
successfully screened at the reading film festival and winter film awards.
James C.B Gray is a community, social and civil rights activist who is currently the national action network youth huddle representative for the Harlem chapter of NYC, where he serves as a mentor for the youth of NAN alongside the NAN youth huddle founder Ashley Sharpton… James also delivers the civil rights highlight speech every Saturday morning that opens up the Saturday morning action rally broadcast which streams live at www.nationalactionnetwork.net and airs on wlib 1190am at 9am eastern standard time. James decided to become an activist shortly after he became a victim of police brutality…after a long and strenuous court battle he ultimately won a settlement against NYPD for police brutality and unlawful detention
which encouraged him to fight for those who have no voice or resources when it comes to these unjust measures. This incident also prompted James to produce a documentary about police brutality, stop and frisk, prison reform, comps tat and other issues affecting the black community. James is also very passionate about black history and has launched a campaign to teach black history through social media as he posts a little known black history fact every day that actually pertains to the date it’s published, he’s been doing this chronologically for the last 5 years and now has an online following through social media of 1.8 million viewers collectively. James was also a key player in getting the bill signed by Mayor De Blasio to rename Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx to hip hop Blvd. To pay tribute to hip hop and its legacy. James’s hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed and on February 12th 2016 James was honored at the first annual national action network welcoming committee leadership and service award ceremony…James received a city council citation from council woman Inez Dickens office for service and leadership and an award from the national action network welcoming committee for leadership and excellence.