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LIBERTY CINEMA is a small but growing genre of independent film.
Its creator, a former police officer and an academic, Andrew R. Seidman, started it in the 1980s with the goal of making documentaries that challenged the notion that law enforcement officers and politicians were more interested in protecting the “common good” than the safety of the citizens they serve.
The genre, now known as documentary filmmaking, has spread rapidly, taking on a life of its own as filmmakers use public records to investigate the history of police brutality, the legal system’s failure to hold officers accountable for the deaths of black men, and the effects of climate change on the environment.
In his latest film, Freedom, a documentary that chronicles the civil rights movement, Seideman explores the rise of the American police force from a white institution to a black institution.
Seidenman said he was inspired by the work of Martin Luther King Jr., who wrote that, “Freedom is a gift from God.”
But he said he felt his work was also about the American experience.
“I always believed that freedom, liberty and the pursuit of it, to me, is something that should be given to all Americans,” Seidmansays.
“If you have to fight for that freedom and the freedom of others, you are not going to get that freedom.”
Seidmann said he wanted to create a film that would make people think about freedom more broadly, and about how we use government power and our own lives to achieve our goals.
“We don’t always have to think about that, but sometimes we have to and we have the power to fight against injustice and we need to do it,” he said.
The Freedom documentary was filmed in Oakland, California, the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement, and features interviews with people who fought for the rights of blacks in the city.
Seithman said his film’s themes and message of the importance of freedom were important to him, as well as the fact that he wanted the film to reflect the history and legacy of a group that is so often overlooked.
“There are so many stories in this country that have been told about black Americans, but it’s not really told very well,” he says.
“Black people have had their stories told about, but they’ve been overlooked and often, they haven’t been talked about.”
Freedom” will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Friday, March 13.
For more on the civil-rights movement, check out the ABC News video above.