Earlier this week, John Singleton signed up to act as Executive Producer on Thomas Allen Harris’ Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, post its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last month, as a New Frontiers pick. 

The documentary explores how African Americans have used photography as a tool for social change, illuminating the hidden, little known and under-appreciated stories of African Americans transforming themselves and the nation through the power of the camera lens. The film also explores how contemporary photographers and artists like Deborah Willis, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Lyle Ashton Harris, Hank Willis Thomas, Glenn Ligon, Coco Fusco and Clarissa Sligh, have built upon the legacy of early Black photographers while trying to reconcile a past that those who came before us would rather forget.

“I was moved by the film, these artists and what their work means to me and to the world at large,” said Singleton. “This documentary highlights the ongoing battle that black people face defining themselves image-wise. I am proud to be a part of this project.”

“We are pleased to have John Singleton on board the project as one of our executive producers,” said filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris. “It is an endorsement of the fundamental message of the film and our #1World1Family campaign, that we have more in common with each other than whatever divides us.  Photographs are the surest way for one person to communicate with another’s heart. The film, along with our touring Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow, our online social media campaign via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, are all aimed at celebrating our shared values and experiences as human beings, as reflected in the images that we circulate amongst our closet family, friends and relatives.”

Through A Lens Darkly is part of a larger transmedia project roadshow that includes the website/traveling roadshow Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, which invites audiences to share and upload their own family photographs and participate in the creation of a global family archive that can form communities. The photos are uploaded via Instagram or Twitter through the #1World1Family hashtag and put into the One World – One Family global family album, where all are connected.

Singleton joins Kimberly Steward – the film’s other Executive Producer in support of the project. He was introduced to the project through the film’s sales agent Bill Straus of BGP.

Read our review of the film HERE.

Watch the first trailer below: