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With Socially Conscious Films ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ and ‘Collective,’ Participant Taps Into the Zeitgeist

Participant is back in the thick of the Oscar race with two films, “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Collective,” that seem to respond to the current political tumult.

On paper, the movies appear somewhat removed from both the racial reckoning taking place around the world and the large-scale bureaucratic failures that greeted the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, both films grapple with themes that have given them an added resonance with critics, audiences and Academy voters.

By telling the story of Fred Hampton, who was gunned down by the FBI and police in 1969, “Judas and the Black Messiah” explores the racist history of the justice system and reclaims a civil rights icon whose work has often been misconstrued and misunderstood.

“The true stories of so many Black Americans are so often intentionally left out of our culture, a symptom of a larger issue of systemic racism,” says David Linde, CEO of Participant. “Addressing this inequity requires reckoning with the erasure of the true legacy of activists like Chairman Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party … by investing ourselves into their stories and longer-term narrative change.”

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