MCN Columnists
Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Premiere: “Raising Bertie” On POV

Raising-BertieOne of my favorite docs of the year, Margaret Byrne’s long-in-the-works Raising Bertie, debuts on POV on August 28. A behaviorally rich and visually ravishing six-year immersion into the African-American North Carolina farming community of Bertie County, the rich narrative follows the lives of three young men approaching adulthood. “I love vérité filmmaking and telling stories that leave the audience asking questions,” Byrne told me for 2016’s Film 50 in Newcity, as she described her observational knack. “Having trusting relationships with the people I film is the foundation of making a story that honors their experience and is authentic. I worked on ‘Raising Bertie’ for seven years, so those families and that community are very close to my heart. I’m not interested in making easy films, I want to challenge myself and I want to challenge audiences.” The absorbing Raising Bertie rises to all its challenges.

Raising Bertie debuts Monday, August 28 on POV. Local listings here. Trailer here.

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“Why put it in a box? This is the number one problem I have—by the way it’s a fair question, I’m not saying that—with this kind of festival situation is that there’s always this temptation to classify the movie immediately and if you look at it—and I’ve tried to warn my fellow jurors of this—directors and movie critics are the worst people to judge movies! Directors are always thinking, “I could do that.” Critics are always saying, “This part of the movie is like the 1947 version and this part…” And it’s like, “Fuck! Just watch the movie and try and absorb it and not compare it to some other fucking movie and put it in a box!” So I think the answer’s both and maybe neither, I don’t know. That’s for you to see and criticize me for or not.”
~ James Gray

“I have long defined filmmaking and directing in particular as just a sort of long-term act of letting go,” she said. “It’s honestly just gratifying that people are sort of reapproaching or reassessing the film. I like to just remind everyone that the movie is still the same — it’s the same movie, it’s the movie we always made, and it was the movie we always wanted to make. And maybe it just came several years too early.”
~ Karyn Kusama