"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.
Robin Fryday (Director/Producer), Still Photographer, Filmmaker, Documentarian. Robin’s commitment is to use her work to help bring awareness to the needs of children living in some of the most impoverished nations in the world. She has photographed in remote villages in Peru, Thailand, Bhutan, Haiti, and India. As a photographer and filmmaker, her work has been used to raise money and bring attention to programs which feed and educate children globally. As part of her ongoing humanitarian contributions, Robin co-founded The Bay Area Heart Gallery, a collaboration between photographers and child welfare agencies; started Robin Fryday’s School of Photography, a photo camp for adolescents in the Bay Area; documented Peruvian children in the remote village of Willoc, Peru to raise awareness for The Path of the Heart; traveled to Varnasi, India to lend her vision to The Milagro Foundation.
In 2010 Robin started Purposeful Productions, Inc., an entity developed to create humanitarian and educational films. Her first effort "The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement" received wide acclaim. The film premiered at Sundance in 2011, received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Short Subject Documentary in 2012, and was the recipient of the Alfred I. duPont Award in Excellence in Journalism from Columbia University in 2014.
Robin's documentary short, Riding My Way Back, the story of a veteran, a horse and hope, was released in 2014. The film was launched during Veterans Week 2014 in over 100 venues including The Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., Columbia University, Rutgers University, as well as equine centers, veteran's organizations and schools across the country. In addition, it screened in festivals and was honored with multiple awards.