Stanley Nelson

Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival


New York, September 21: The Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival (HT2FF) has announced today that Stanley Nelson will be the recipient of this year’s Career Achievement Award at the festival which takes place in Sag Harbor (December 3 – 6, 2015). The award is given to filmmakers whose documentary contributions throughout the years have been significant and impactful, bringing an original vision and a clear voice to the documentary genre. Previous honorees include: Richard Leacock (2011), Susan Lacy (2012), DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (2013) and Barbara Kopple (2014). 

With 35 films and multiple industry awards to his credit, Nelson is acknowledged as one of the premier documentary filmmakers working today. His films have earned five Primetime Emmys, two awards from the Sundance Film Festival, and two Peabodys, among other honors. He is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the NEH National Medal in the Humanities presented by President Obama in 2014. 

Founder and Executive Director of HT2FF, Jacqui Lofaro, said: “ It is a great privilege to present our 2015 Career Achievement Award to Stanley Nelson. His award-winning documentary films on social justice issues were early windows into race relations. His latest film, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution” continues the provocative dialogue, even more relevant in America today. We honor his commitment to honesty, truth and artistic rigor.”                 

Nelson remarked: “It is always great to receive accolades; it doesn’t get old. Documentary filmmakers don’t get recognition every day. To be recognized because people are seeing and liking my films is great and the award means this is happening”.


Stanley Nelson is the co-founder and Executive Director of Firelight Films and co-founder of Firelight Media, which produces award-winning films that expose injustice and illuminate the power of community by connecting the films with concrete and innovative ways for diverse audiences to be inspired, educated, and mobilized into action. As noted by Nelson: “One of the things that is essential to me as a filmmaker is to try to give the viewer a sense of what it has meant to be black in America and consider this within our contemporary context”.



In 2008 Firelight expanded its mission and created the Producers’ Lab, a flagship mentorship program that seeks out and develops emerging diverse filmmakers. 

Firelight is one of nine nonprofit organizations around the world to receive the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions which recognizes exceptional nonprofit organizations which have demonstrated creativity and impact.

Although Nelson’s documentaries span many topics—the massacre at Wounded Knee, the life and times of Marcus Garvey, the tragedy of the Peoples Temple in Jonestown, the music of Sweet Honey in the Rock—he has been deeply drawn to tell the stories of the civil rights movement via such award winning films as Freedom Riders (2010), The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (1999) and The Murder of Emmett Till (1988), among others, which he says “set forces in motion that changed the world.”  

HT2FF will be screening Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, in honor of Nelson, at the festival. The film is a “definitive portrait of the Black Panther – its rise and fall…Nelson aims to paint a complete and accurate account of the revolutionary black nationalist organization, a film which should act as a reminder, as well as an education…” (Indiewire).

The Career Achievement Award will be given at a Gala Evening, Sat. December 5, 2015. 

For press inquiries, please contact: Arlene Hinkemeyer Phone: 631-324-6713