Directed/Produced by Robin Fryday
"The Barber of Birmingham" is Robin Fryday’s 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary short. In 2008, the potential nomination of Barack Obama as the first African American president aroused a strong impulse to explore its impact on the aging Civil Rights activists in the South. Following a research trip to Alabama, Robin decided to capture the stories of those who fought for the right to vote in the 1960s. She collaborated with award-winning documentary filmmaker Gail Dolgin. Their resulting film, "The Barber of Birmingham," is about foot soldier James Armstrong, his thoughts and his stories about the tumultuous era in the South. This film follows 85-year-old Mr. Armstrong, as he experiences the manifestation of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first African American president. Mr. Armstrong casts his vote, celebrates Obama's victory and proudly unfurls the American flag he carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge as he is inducted into the Foot Soldiers Hall of Fame. Mr. Armstrong links the magnitude of the present paradigm shift with challenges he faced in the past: from his sons' integration into an all white school to the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights. "The Barber of Birmingham" made its premiere at Sundance in 2011.
THE FILMMAKER: Robin Fryday (Director/Producer), born and raised in Chicago, is a photographer based in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Her career as a child photographer spans almost 20 years and is linked to a commitment to use her work to help underprivileged children. Fryday co-founded and co-chairs the Bay Area Heart Gallery, a collaboration between photographers and public and private child adoption agencies. Her photographs have been used to raise money for nonprofit agencies designed to feed and school the impoverished in Peru, India, Bhutan and, most recently, Haiti. Fryday also runs an annual photography camp designed to teach teenagers photographic skills. The Barber of Birmingham is her first documentary film.