Winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival, Best Doc Feature at AFI Docs and Woodstock, and Official Selection at DOC NYC, AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS plunges us into Boggs’s lifetime of vital thinking and action, traversing the major U.S. social movements of the last century: from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements and beyond. Boggs’s constantly evolving strategy – her willingness to re-evaluate and change tactics in relation to the world shifting around her – drives the story forward. Angela Davis, Bill Moyers, Bill Ayers, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Boggs’s late husband James and a host of Detroit comrades across three generations help shape this uniquely American story. As she wrestles with a Detroit in ongoing transition, contradictions of violence and non-violence, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the 1967 rebellions, and non-linear notions of time and history, Boggs emerges with an approach that is radical in its simplicity and clarity: revolution is not an act of aggression or merely a protest. Revolution, Boggs says, is about something deeper within the human experience – the ability to transform oneself to transform the world.
About the filmmakers:
Produced and directed by Grace Lee (JANEANE FROM DES MOINES, THE GRACE LEE PROJECT), produced by Caroline Libresco (SUNSET STORY) and Austin Wilkin (BOB AND THE MONSTER), edited by Kim Roberts (FOOD INC, WAITING FOR SUPERMAN, INEQUALITY FOR ALL), and with a lush score by Vivek Maddala (KABOOM, HIGHWAY),
AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS, has been 12 years in the making. It incorporates a rich archival trove from the 1920s to the present and visual effects to reinforce Boggs’s statement that history “is the story of the past as well as the future.” Animated graphics by Syd Garon and Casey Ryder from Studio Number One bring Boggs’s whirring mind to life, illustrating her view that ideas are not fixed, but that once they become fixed, they are dead.
Daphne Howland, Village Voice
A smiling 98-year-old woman with the world's most sensible haircut, shuffling along a sunny, decrepit Detroit street, hardly seems like one of America's great radicals, but she is — a dialectal humanist, Chinese-American black power activist, and sometime Marxist with a thick FBI file.