Reflections Of A Blessed Soul – A Tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou

Screens on Friday, April 1, 5pm – RU Paul Robeson Student Center

Film Makers

Shelley Grodner SeidensteinShelley
Hafiz FaridHafiz Farid photo

Shelley Grodner Seidenstein has a diverse background in education, the arts, community service, and nonprofit program management. Since 1996, when her then twelve-year old daughter, Alexandra (Ali), founded the nonprofit organization, Kids Who Care Inc (KWC), Shelley has been Executive Director. KWC is a nonprofit organization offering mentoring and enrichment programs for children and self-empowering workshops for women, both residing in shelters and/or who participate in available programs sponsored by other organizations.

For five years, she acted as Director of Volunteers for The Whole Theater Company (founders: Olympia Dukakis and Arnold Mittleman) in Montclair, NJ. She is the co-author of Power Tools for Women: Offbeat Crafts for Women, which was self-published and used as a tool to enhance the hands-on workshops and programs facilitated. Presently, she is co-authoring, with three other women, a how-to book, Restorative Rituals For Women With Breast Cancer & The People Who Love And Care For Them.

 Over the past ten years, Shelley has been Executive Producer/Co-writer with Hafiz Farid and together they have produced a number of multi award-winning documentary films for their film company, Foremost Productions. Darfur Too Dark Too Far, which examines the root causes of genocide, went on to win Best Social Documentary in the New York International Independent Film Festival, Best of Best in Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival, Excellence in Cinema for a Documentary Film in the LA International Film Festival, and the recipient of the Telly Awards for Social Documentary. The Presumption Of Guilt: Race, Class & Crime In America, based on Harvard’s Professor Charles J. Ogletree’s book, was awarded Best Social Documentary in the New York International Independent Film Festival. And the most recent film, Maya Angelou-Reflections Of A Blessed Soul, is based on an exclusive interview with Maya Angelou at her home in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The film offers an intimate portrait of one of the greatest Artists, Poets, Activists, Teachers, and Humanitarians of our time. Reflections Of A Blessed Soul is the recipient of the Telly Awards for Social Documentary.

In addition to her dedication to Foremost Productions, Shelley and Hafiz Farid created the filmmaking program for youth, The Heart and Mind Revealed Through Camera’s Eye, which has produced with NoCane Inc and Kids Who Care Inc: The Possible Dream-Yes We Can, Segregation-Yesterday  Today  Tomorrow and the award-winning film, Hope For The Homeless. Shelley is the Educational Consultant, Producer, and Teacher of the Creative Process of Filmmaking

Hafiz Farid is the Founding Executive Director of the non-profit organization NoCane Inc, which has been providing art based seminars, workshops, projects and documentary films for over 25 years to promote the community welfare by the implementation of innovative, preventative, alternative and curative programs. Through his community work Hafiz has spoken to over 100,000 young people.

Hafiz studied communication and film at West Virginia University and New York University and began his film industry career back in 1986 forming Foremost Productions and writing spec scripts to sell to Hollywood studios. Hafiz Farid is a multi award-winning Producer/Director/Writer, who worked closely with Quincy Jones 3rd as a consultant and interviewer on the film Beef produced by QD3 Productions. He later served as the writer on that company’s documentary on Tupac Shakur entitled Thug Angel.

 Hafiz went on to Produce/Write/Direct the award-winning documentary film, A Pillar of Salt-The Bitter Woman Syndrome, which examines the root causes of anger and bitterness and the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of these greatly misunderstood emotions. This film won both the New York International Independent Film Festival’s Best Documentary and Best Directorial Debut awards. In 2007, Hafiz was honored in Burkina Faso, West Africa at the prestigious African Film Festival, FESAPCO, where his award winning A Pillar of Salt premiered.

  The powerful documentary, Darfur Too Dark Too Far, written and directed by Hafiz, exposes the root causes of genocide as being slavery, racism and oppression in the name of religion. Darfur Too Dark Too Far went on to win Best Social Documentary in the New York International Independent Film Festival, Best of Best in Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival, Excellence in Cinema for a Documentary Film in the LA International Film Festival and the recipient of the Telly Awards for Social Documentary. Farid was invited by the Harvard school of law to speak and present this noteworthy film.

Hafiz produced and directed the award-winning documentary film, The Presumption of Guilt-Race Class and Crime in America, based on the acclaimed book of the same title written by Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree Jr. The Presumption Of Guilt was awarded Best Social Documentary in the New York International Independent Film Festival.

Farid’s most recent project, as Executive Producer, Director, and Co-writer with Shelley Grodner Seidenstein, is the Telly award-winning docudrama, Maya Angelou-Reflections of a Blessed Soul, based on his personal Interview with Dr. Maya Angelou. This film contains one of the last exclusive interviews that Dr. Angleou gave in the privacy of her home in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Other films of Hafiz include The Possible Dream-Yes We Can, Hope for the Homeless and additional documentary films produced by NoCane Inc and Kids Who Care in concert with Shelley through the filmmaking program for youth, The Heart and Mind Revealed Through Camera’s Eye. Hafiz teaches filmmaking, directing, and life skills to youth.

Mr. Farid is a recipient of the Martin Luther King Award for Service to Humanity, the Dreyfus Foundation Award. He is an appointed Ambassador for Peace by the United Federation for Peace. He has been nominated as an honoree for the C.O.L.A. Award (Celebration of Life Association) for his humanitarian work and contributions to the world of Art and Culture.


 

About “Reflections of a Blessed Soul

REFLECTIONS OF A BLESSED SOUL is a forty-minute documentary film based on an exclusive Interview with Maya Angelou then eighty-three years old. The powerful Interview took place at her home in Winston Salem, North Carolina by the multi-Award winning filmmakers Hafiz Farid, Shelley Grodner Seidenstein, and Richard Woods. The Interview was conducted by and for Foremost Productions, an Independent Award-winning New Jersey Film Company. The film offers an intimate portrait of one of the greatest Artists/Poets/Activists/Teachers and Humanitarians of our time. In the quiet comfort of her home, Maya shares insights and stories of her rich and colorful life, which has spanned nearly a Century and includes many of the most dynamic people in the world. With a razor sharp memory of events that occurred many decades ago, Dr. Angelou reflects on her unforgettable experiences with such notables as jazz musician, Max Roach, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Reverend Eric Butterworth, and Amiri Baraka. In her inimitable style filled with ardor, laughter, sincerity, wisdom and soul, the great Poetess shares her deep insight on the most controversial and pressing issues, such as Racism, Mother and Daughter Bonds, Anger and Bitterness, Forgiveness, Ignorance, American Society, Black and Jewish Relations in the Post Civil Rights Era. The country’s first Black President, Courage, and G-d.