There are plenty of cliches to live by such as “a pen is mightier than the sword,” or “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In the hands of Gordon Parks, he managed to combine those two cliches by using the camera as a powerful device to influence social, justice, and cultural beliefs in the past century. His remarkable career, photos, and films are retold in the documentary A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks by Emmy-award winner John Maggio for HBO Documentary Films.
Here is the synopsis:
A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks explores the power of images in advancing racial, economic, and social equality as seen through the lens of Gordon Parks, one of America’s most trailblazing artists, and the generation of young photographers, filmmakers, and activists he inspired.
Some of Parks’ greatest fans are included in the documentary through interviews, including Spike Lee, Ava Duvernay, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Nelson George, and Anderson Cooper. The photographer’s work also inspired the next generation of artists and activists, including LaToya Ruby Frazier, Devin Allen, and Jamel Shabazz.
ALSO CHECK OUT: Jesse Moss on Documenting Pete Buttigieg’s Presidential Run in Mayor Pete [Exclusive Interview]
LRM Online’s Gig Patta spoke with director John Maggio and Baltimore-area photographer Devin Allen on the imprint that Gordon Parks made nationally, historically, and their lives.
John Maggio is a documentary filmmaker. He directed many documentary films and series, including American Experience, Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis, The Italian Americans, and The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee. In 2019, he earned an Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary for Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis. Also, he received past nominations with the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Slamdance Film Festival, and the Writers Guild of America.
Devin Allen is a Baltimore-based photojournalist and activist. In 2015, he gained national attention for his photograph of the Freddie Gray protests that landed on the cover of Time magazine’s May 2015 cover photo. His documentary photo of George Floyd protests was on the cover of Time’s June 2020 cover. His photographs are held in the Smithsonian collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks premieres tonight on HBO at 10 p.m. ET.
Watch the exclusive interview with director John Maggio and photographer Devin Allen below. Let us know what you think of the interview.