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PNS Daily Newscast - July 19, 2018 


Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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Passing the Olympic Torch, History on Film

The documentary "Olympic Pride, American Prejudice" debuts this weekend in New York and Los Angeles. It chronicles the journey of 18 African-American Olympic athletes during the 1936 Berlin Games. (Draper)
The documentary "Olympic Pride, American Prejudice" debuts this weekend in New York and Los Angeles. It chronicles the journey of 18 African-American Olympic athletes during the 1936 Berlin Games. (Draper)
August 5, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - All eyes will be on Rio tonight with the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games, but it's a decades-old fact about Olympic history that surprised filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper four years ago. While researching a documentary on the Holocaust, Draper read a quick mention about the 18 African-American Olympians who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and traveled back to the U.S. by boat. It inspired her to write and direct her documentary to be released this weekend called "Olympic Pride, American Prejudice". Draper's work chronicles the racial challenges the athletes faced at home, only to be confronted with Nazi Germany. As for how what she learned will change how she watches the games ...

"I will watch these with great pride, because those 18 athletes that broke the barrier, they laid the groundwork for an American team that's so beautifully diverse, and so richly talented with men, with women, with people of color," she said.

Draper's film will show in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, with a national release expected this fall. She said in her research she had to piece together inaccurate photo captions and news accounts of the athletes' participation on the team, because African-American contributions to society weren't as well documented as those of their white counterparts.

North Carolina filmmaker and writer Amy Tiemann is an executive producer on the film, and said more films such as Draper's could be made in North Carolina, if lawmakers would reinstate the film tax credits, which were capped in recent years.

"We are still as committed as ever to making independent films in North Carolina," Tiemann said. "We're keeping that flame burning brightly as we possibly can and I'm hoping for the film incentives to return because that would sure help the industry overall."

Many North Carolina productions moved to neighboring Georgia where the film industry spent more than $2 billion in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

As an African-American woman working in film, Draper said she could relate to the Olympians whose story will now be featured on big screens across the country.

"I'm a marginalized voice," Draper added. "I'm a black woman from the South with a camera, who loves telling stories about marginalized communities. Stories that weren't interesting to mainstream media. Stories that fade into obscurity because of who the characters are."

Actor Blair Underwood also served as an executive producer on the film and narrates the story.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN