Ahead of its world premiere at SXSW 2021, Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler described “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” as a film “about confronting this country’s history of anti-Black racism and white supremacy with an understanding that in order to transform this country – to push it to live up to its own ideals – we have to go back before we can go forward.” Based on the work of Jeffery Robinson, their doc focuses on “reclaiming the narrative and debunking America’s creation myth,” and struck a major chord with SXSW audiences: it won the Documentary Spotlight Audience Award at the fest.
Sony Pictures Classics will be bringing the much-needed history lesson to audiences worldwide. A press release announced that the company acquired rights to “Who We Are” and is releasing it January 14, 2022 with an expansion through the month of February, Black History Month. The doc will also have an awards qualifying run at the end of this year.
“Who We Are” sees Robinson, a criminal defense/civil right lawyer, tackling the history of the U.S., drawing “a stark timeline of anti-Black racism” from “slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America,” the film’s synopsis notes.
Asked what they’d like audiences to think about after watching “Who We Are,” Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler told us, “In many ways, we want audiences to have the experience we had when we heard Jeff for the first time. We want audiences of all races to realize that this is a history that has been hidden from all of us and that it is our collective obligation to share it and make a better world in our lifetimes.”
“We recently saw a large number of our elected officials vote to make Juneteenth a national holiday while also advocating for laws restricting what can be taught about the causes and aftermath of Juneteenth,” Robinson said in a statement. “The unvarnished truth about the role anti-Black racism has played and is playing in our country is needed now more than ever. Our ‘Who We Are’ Team is thrilled that Sony Pictures Classics will help us bring accurate, verifiable information to our youth, our leaders, and our broader community.”