SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 18, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- As book bans continue to proliferate in communities nationwide, Kanopy has partnered with Atomic Focus Entertainment to co-produce a new documentary titled Banned Together that tackles this explosive topic. The production marks the first original feature film for the filmmakers and the first produced feature film for Kanopy, the entertainment streaming service that is provided at no fee by public libraries and universities.
With a cast of visionary teenagers, stirring public protests, private threats, criminal charges, and profanity-laced school board meetings, Banned Together pulls back the curtain on book bans and curriculum censorship in public schools. The story follows the inspiring journey of three students in Beaufort, S.C., who fight back when 97 books are suddenly pulled from their school libraries. As these students become national activists, the film documents the larger story of book bans and curriculum censorship across the nation. Banned Together reveals broad perspectives on both sides of the controversy and delivers an insider's view of the volatile events in schools and statehouses.
The film includes bestselling banned authors Jodi Picoult, Ellen Hopkins, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Juno Dawson, Erica L. Sánchez and Neil Gaiman. It also includes Congressman Jamie Raskin, constitutional scholars, teachers, librarians, parents and other student activists across the country. The film also sits down with representatives of the ACLU, PEN America, Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Library Association and Moms for Liberty.
Atomic Focus producers Jennifer Wiggin and Allyson Rice and directors Kate Way and Tom Wiggin were inspired by the activism of these young students and drawn to the breadth of this fast-moving national story. The producing team has added award-winning editor Cha Quallis as they begin post-production for a mid-2024 release.
"Banned Together is about marginalized voices being silenced and the violation of students' and educators' rights to access diverse sources of information in schools," said Producer Jenn Wiggin. "It is also an inspirational story of students stepping up to protect those rights against powerful forces -- in school board meetings, statehouses and even in the halls of Congress."
Jason Tyrrell, General Manager of Kanopy, added, "As a provider of streaming film, documentaries, series and kids content to libraries and educational institutions, we at Kanopy felt compelled to get behind this critical story that details the fight for the right to information in the United States. The titles we share on our platform are carefully curated but never censored, and by setting this partnership as our first feature documentary co-production, Kanopy is working to ensure that diverse and important works are not taken from communities where they could have a meaningful and lasting impact."
Parties interested in supporting the film through this final phase can make a tax-deductible contribution through the film's fiscal sponsor, The Film Collaborative (TFC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Banned Together is also supported by the Freedom to Learn Advocates, which was founded to promote universal access to books and educational resources for all communities regardless of race, economic status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or political affiliation.
About Banned Together
Banned Together is a feature documentary film about the current wave of book bans in the United States. It tells the local story of Beaufort, S.C., where 97 books are suddenly pulled from their school libraries after two adults threaten to take legal action against the school board. Viewers follow three teenagers through their senior year of high school as they work together to fight book bans in Beaufort and then at the state and national levels. This community's story is interwoven with the larger national landscape of book banning, including interviews with best-selling authors, policymakers, and experts. Additional information on the creative team may be found at www.bannedtogetherdoc.com.
Kanopy is the leading video streaming service providing films that matter through public libraries and colleges worldwide. Kanopy has 30,000+ films in its catalog. Partnering with filmmakers and film and video distributors, Kanopy offers access to wide-ranging, engaging narratives, insightful documentaries and riveting television and instructional series. Suppliers include BBC, Criterion, NEON, Samuel Goldwyn, HISTORY, A&E, The Great Courses, Kino Lorber, A24 and IFC Films. Kanopy's ad-free platform is available via browser and on iOS, Android and all major streaming devices, including Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV. OverDrive's acquisition of Kanopy in 2021 brought together the largest catalog of premium ebooks, audiobooks, and streaming video content for thousands of public libraries, colleges and universities. www.kanopy.com
About Atomic Focus Entertainment
Atomic Focus Entertainment is a female-owned independent entertainment, development, and production company based in Charleston, SC. Atomic Focus creates an array of exceptional content for film, television, live streaming, and podcasts. To learn more, visit www.atomic-focus.com
Christopher Gustafson for Kanopy