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Documentary ‘Raising Bertie’ Gets Early Summer Release From Gunpowder, Kartemquin (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 4/11/2017 Dave McNary
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Gunpowder & Sky Distribution and Kartemquin Films are teaming for the theatrical and digital release of Margaret Byrne’s documentary “Raising Bertie,” Variety has learned exclusively.

“Raising Bertie” is a six-year portrait of three African American boys growing into adulthood in rural Bertie County in eastern North Carolina, exploring complex relationships between generational poverty, educational inequity and race. The film follows Reginald “Junior” Askew, David “Bud” Perry, and Davonte “Dada” Harrell through disappointments, heartbreak and triumphs.

Byrne initially self-financed the project, and eventually received funding from various sources including the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation and the Southern Documentary Fund.  The film premiered last year at the Full Frame Documentary Festival. J. Cole is the executive producer.

“Raising Bertie” will open at the at the Maysles Cinema in New York City on June 9, followed by an expansion on June 16 to San Francisco, Chicago, North Carolina and other locations.

Gunpowder & Sky is releasing a new trailer, which features one of the leads declaring that he does not want to work on a farm for the rest of his life. The trailer starts with a speech by Barack Obama who says “At the end of the day, where you come from, how much money you have — there is no excuse for not trying.”

Gunpowder & Sky acquired full control of Supergravity Pictures, the startup in which it had previously held a minority investment, earlier this year. G&S last fall acquired independent content sales and distribution company FilmBuff. The company was founded in 2015 by Van Toffler, former CEO of Viacom’s Music Group, and Floris Bauer, former head of corporate development and strategy at Endemol, together with Otter Media.

Watch the new trailer below:

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