HiddenLight Productions, One Story Up, Impact Partners and Los Angeles Media Fund have joined forces for a new feature documentary, The Night Disco Died, exploring how two seismic moments in musical history – the rise of Disco and the birth of House – came out of one of disco’s darkest events.

The film will be directed and produced by Award-Winning filmmaker Elegance Bratton (The Inspection, My House), produced by Chester Algernal Gordon (The Inspection, Pier Kids), and executive produced by Academy Award winning director and One Story Up’s Roger Ross Williams (Cassandro, Life Animated), Geoff Martz, and HiddenLight Productions’ Siobhan Sinnerton, Johnny Webb and Brenda Robinson. A co-production between HiddenLight and One Story Up, the project will be presented  by Impact Partners and Los Angeles Media Fund (LAMF). Executive producers include: Andrew Blau, Morgan Earnest,  Nina & and David Fialkow, Bill & Ruth Ann Harnisch, Melony & Adam Lewis, Jenny Raskin, Luke Rodgers, Jeffrey Soros, Nancy Stephens & Rick Rosenthal, Katrina vanden Heuvel,Patty Quillin and Geralyn White Dreyfous; and co-executive producers include Kanani Datan, John & Lauren Driscoll, Lauren Haber, Kelsey Koenig, Okey Onyiuke and Wendy vanden Heuvel.

Siobhan Sinnerton, Creative Director and SVP Unscripted, HiddenLight, says:  “HiddenLight’s ambition is to spotlight untold stories and to make films that entertain, engage and share voices and perspectives from around the world. The Night Disco Died sits perfectly within this remit. To be working with Roger Ross Williams, who has an enormous amount of experience in telling stories that have played a huge part in American culture, is a great privilege.

“From the moment we met Elegance we could tell that his passion and vision for this story were going to make it something very special. We hope it is the first of many brilliant collaborations HiddenLight has with he and Chester.”

Roger Ross Williams, One Story Up, adds: “We are very excited to be collaborating with HiddenLight and, on a personal level, I am thrilled to be working alongside Elegance – such a brilliant filmmaker – to bring this history of music to the surface again. The importance of highlighting such historically silenced voices cannot be understated, and I look forward to bringing this to audiences everywhere along with our great friends at HiddenLight and Impact Partners.”

“I am so honoured to be given this opportunity to shine a light on the story of a dark time in music’s history that is not often told,” said Bratton.  “It’s been a true gift to work beside my producing partner Chester Algernal Gordon, as well as to collaborate with Roger whose work I have admired for a long time.“

Elegance Bratton and Chester Algernal Gordon, the filmmaking duo who co-run the production company Freedom Principle, are behind the critically-acclaimed film The Inspection which has garnered numerous award nominations including from the Golden Globes, Gotham, and Film Independent Spirit Awards and wins including from the NAACP Image Awards and GLAAD Media Awards and stars Jeremy Pope and Gabrielle Union.

Bratton is an award-winning and boundary-breaking director, writer, and producer who began making films as a US Marine after spending a decade unhoused on the streets of New York. Since then, Bratton’s films have played in film festivals worldwide and he was recently named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch for 2023. In 2021, Bratton’s nonfiction feature debut Pier Kids, won an Independent Spirit Award. Following that, he wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed semi-autobiographical narrative and his feature film The Inspection which had its premiere in 2022 and was the Closing Night film at the New York Film Festival. He is currently working on Hell Fighter, a documentary about jazz pioneer and music mogul James Reese Europe.

Algernal Gordon’s films have been official selection and won many awards in over 200 festivals combined. They have produced a fleet of acclaimed short films and documentary films including Elegance Bratton’s Pier Kids. Additionally, they are also an accomplished costume designer and in 2019 Gordon became the first gender non-binary African-American costume designer to compete in competition at Cannes Film Festival with Port Authority. Gordon had their first narrative feature as a producer with Elegance Bratton’s The Inspection.

Roger Ross Williams is an Oscar, Emmy, NAACP Image award, Webby and Peabody award-winning director, producer and writer – and the first African American director to win an Academy Award®, with his film Music By Prudence. Williams directed Life, Animated, which won him the Sundance directing award. He was also nominated for an Academy Award® and has won three Emmys. Williams is the recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association, The Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Award, The NYU Alumni Achievement Award and an honorary doctorate from Lafayette College.  His production company, One Story Up, produced the acclaimed food series High On The Hog, an adaptation of Ta Nehisi Coates’ Between The World and Me; the Ben Crump documentary Civil; the award-winning film Master of Light and Williams’ first scripted feature Cassandro from Amazon Prime Video which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Chester Algernal Gordon  (Photo credit – Erik Umphery); Elegance Bratton (Photo Credit – Michael Rowe for IMDb)


Jon Creamer

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