Directed by Ann Hartley
Upon the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, many Americans thought that slavery had been abolished once and for all. Frederick Douglass, however, argued that “slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot.” His fight to secure the vote transformed not only the Constitution, but what it meant to be an American.
This film explores Frederick Douglass’ journey to ensure African-Americans have the right to through the creation of the Fifteenth Amendment.
This film is in its rough cut phase.
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Michael Del Monte is an award winning director, working around the globe. His last documentary, “Transformer” (2018), followed former U.S. Marine and world-record powerlifter, Matt Kroc, as he sets out to become a woman. “Transformer” premiered at the Austin Film Festival and won the Best Documentary and the Audience Award. His first documentary, “Transcend” (2014) follows Boston Marathon Champion, Wesley Korir, who sets out to earn a seat as a Member of Parliament in a politically corrupt Kenyan election. Del Monte received his Master’s in theology and philosophy from The University of Toronto.
On my way home, I would pass the same homeless man at the intersection of Lakeshore and Jameson. The intersection was an artery for commuters making their way to and from the city. One day, as the sun was setting over Lake Ontario, I saw the man crouched down, counting his coins on a sewer grate. I was often irritated when he’d approach my vehicle, but in that moment I saw him in a way I had never seen him.
The next day, I went to talk with him. He told me he was once a sailor and had lost his boat and was now homeless. It was clear to me that his choice to panhandle in a direction facing the lake and only a few hundred meters from the sailing club was no coincident. His dream was literally within sight but his addiction kept him from reaching it.
Despite being innovative, generous and curious, every minute of his day is spent satisfying an addiction that will inevitably take his life. But despite the devastating impact of the drugs, deep beneath the layers of addiction, is a dream to one day sail again.
The film doesn’t offer an easy solution to addiction, homelessness or mental health, rather it challenges the audience to get out of their car and spend some time on the streets. Some things can’t be said with statistics. They must be experienced. HIS NAME IS RAY is an experience. It’s a portrait of a man who has lost everything but has maintained his humanity. It’s my hope that the film encourages more people to stop their car and ask the name of someone they would usually avoid.