Essential Pittsburgh: Billy Jackson

In his half century as an award-winning filmmaker, Billy Jackson has earned legendary status. In his early days, he served on crews for iconic Black filmmakers like William Greaves, Bill Gunn, and Henry Hampton. He went on to found both Nommo Productions and Community Media, through which he has made his own documentaries and projects-for-hire, trained youth in filmmaking, programmed neighborhood movie screenings, and tirelessly advocated for “raising consciousness through film.”

Included in this program are a sampling of 16mm movies on which Billy worked or directed, including his Dizzy Gillespie-narrated history of marching bands (Didn’t We Ramble On), the Marvin Gaye-soundtracked study of racial inequality in the medical profession (Code Blue), Billy’s 1972 reflection on Black art and consciousness (We Are Universal), and more. We are thrilled to welcome Billy once again for conversation about his career and filmmaking practice.

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