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Senior Vice President of Engagement and Content
St. Louis, MO — March 5, 2019 — The Nine Network’s documentary, Gentlemen of Vision, has been selected to participate in the American Film Showcase (AFS), a film diplomacy program of the United States State Department.
Gentlemen of Vision tells the story of a competitive step team from St. Louis and its coach. The film will be screened in Cartagena, Colombia, and on the island of San Andrés. Co-directors Frank Popper, independent producer, Jim Kirchherr, Nine Network senior director of content, and Marlon Wharton, founder and coach of Gentlemen of Vision, will travel to Colombia March 6–16 in support of the film.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to take our story to different audiences that cross cultural and social lines,” says Wharton. “I’m excited to see how the people will respond and I’m eager to learn and grow from this shared experience.”
AFS, a partnership between the U.S. State Department and University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, works with U.S. embassies and consulates to show local audiences independent films that offer contemporary insights into American society and foster understanding across cultures.
Many of the programs are shown in developing countries and include workshops and discussions with the filmmakers, designed to spark dialogue and empower local communities to tell their own stories.
“It’s exciting to be asked to represent our country and St. Louis, but I’m sure that we will learn as much about them as they do from us,” says Kirchherr.
"I've been fortunate to have films in festivals in the U.S. and Europe,” Popper says, “but this is special. To be called a “film envoy” and to have the opportunity to build trust and understanding internationally, especially in this age, is really extraordinary."
Gentlemen of Vision has broadcast on public television stations across the country. The film won the Midrash Award at the 2016 St. Louis International Film Festival, was voted Best Documentary Feature at the 2018 Cinema on the Bayou, and it was an official selection at the prestigious 2017 AFI Docs.
About the Nine Network of Public Media
The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine Network offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world and become engaged in civic life. Nine’s platforms include four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine PBS KIDS), the Nine Center for Public Engagement, the Public Media Commons, social media, and nineNet.org. Nine Network’s rich legacy of serving the community was launched in 1954 and continues through our vision of a strong and healthy community working together through public media and our mission of Igniting the Spirit of Possibility.