Maya Angelou Won A Peabody!

The documentary, which was unanimously nominated for the award, is the first feature documentary on the singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer who inspired generations with modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries.

As part of the Peabody 30, the program was considered “the best of the best” out of 1,200 entries in television, radio, podcast, and web programming broadcast in 2017.

Click Here for more information.

You can now watch Maya Angelou’s “And Still I Rise” from the comfort of your home on:


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Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise PBS Trailer

This is the first film to be made about the incomparable Maya Angelou. The film presents her incredible journey, shedding light on the untold aspects of her life with remarkable unmatched access.   This intimate and personal portrait of Dr. Maya Angelou’s life is a touching and moving tribute to her legacy.

Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” Maya Angelou gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. Dr. Angelou’s was a prolific life; as a singer, dancer, activist, poet, and writer she inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries.

This unprecedented film weaves her words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos, which paint hidden moments of her exuberant life during some of America’s most defining moments. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana to her inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton, the film takes us on an incredible journey through the life of a true American icon.

The film also features a remarkable series of interviews with friends and family including President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, John Singleton and Dr. Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson.

The film premiered to critical acclaim at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.  It won the Audience Award at AFI Docs and was featured at notable fests worldwide including Full Frame, Sheffield Docs, Boulder Film Fest, and Riverrun, winning 9 awards on 3 continents. The exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere of MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE will be on the American Masters series this winter on PBS.

The film is a co-production of The People Poet Media Group, LLC, American Masters Pictures, and ITVS in association with Artemis Rising.

Funding for MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE provided by:

Ford Foundation/JUST FILMS • IDP Foundation • National Endowment for the Arts • National Black Programming Consortium • Corporation for Public Broadcasting • Loida & Leslie Lewis • Michael Metelits

Go Behind the Scenes with Common, Rita Coburn-Whack & Maya Angelou – Click Here

The Directors

bob_bioCo-Director Bob Hercules is an independent filmmaker whose recent films include Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance and Bill T. Jones: A Good Man.  The Joffrey film, narrated by Mandy Patinkin, tells the full story of the groundbreaking ballet company and their many rises and falls. It premiered in January, 2012 at the Dance on Camera Film Festival at Lincoln Center and aired on PBS’ American Masters December, 2012.   A Good Man aired on American Masters in 2011 and played at many film festivals including IDFA, Silverdocs, Full Frame, DOXA and the Southern Circuit.  Hercules acclaimed Forgiving Dr. Mengele (2005) won the Special Jury Prize at the Slamdance Film Festival and has been seen in film festivals around the world.

rw_bioCo-Director Rita Coburn Whack is an independent filmmaker with Emmy-Award winning documentaries for Curators of Culture, Remembering 47th Street and African Roots American Soil. Other documentaries have aired on C-Span and the History Channel. Under her direction Maya Angelou’s Radio Show for Oprah Radio was awarded the Women in Radio and Television Gracie Awards, “BEST RADIO PROGRAM” 2008, “BEST RADIO HOST” 2009 and the “SILVER WORLD MEDAL” IN RADIO NEW YORK FESTIVAL 2009. Author of the novel Meant to Be (Random House Strivers Row 2002) her company RCW Media Productions, Inc. produced Maya Angelou’s Black History Month Specials distributed by Public Radio International 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The Team


Co-Executive Producer Reuben Cannon was Producer of Down in the Delta directed by Maya Angelou, The Women of Brewster Place (with Oprah Winfrey), and Get on the Bus (Spike Lee). He was also Producer, with Tyler Perry, of Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married, Daddy’s Little Girls, Meet The Browns, The Family That Preys, Madea Goes To Jail, and Madea’s Big Happy Family. Reuben was also Executive Producer for the comedy series Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.


Co-Executive Producer Marquetta Glass was a Co-Exective Producer of the Hallmark series Spirit Table with Dr. Maya Angelou, Celebrate Christmas with Maya Angelou, Hallmark Hall of Fame–The Run Away, Olympics-2000, Amazement Awaits. Glass created the 2011 business alliance with BET to produce Soul Mates featuring Maya Angelou & Common.


Michael Kantor joined American Masters as the series’ executive producer in April 2014 during its 28th season on PBS. An Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Kantor has worked on projects for PBS, HBO, Bravo and 20th Century Fox. His PBS series include Broadway: The American Musical (hosted by Julie Andrews), Make ‘Em Laugh (hosted by Billy Crystal) and Superheroes (hosted by Liev Schreiber). He served as executive producer of Give Me the Banjo with Steve Martin, and distributes the American Film Theatre series including Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, starring Katharine Hepburn, and Chekhov’s Three Sisters with Laurence Olivier. Kantor has co-authored three books, served as a Tony nominator, and teaches producing at the School for Visual Arts in NYC.


Chris Gardner, CEO of Happyness!


Raymond earned writer and producer credits for the award-winning documentary film PHUNNY BUSINESS: A Black Comedy and is currently serving as a executive producer on two new documentary films, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise and All The Queens Horses with Kartemquin Films. The founder of All Jokes Aside, he has served as a consultant on comedy and talent to producers at NBC, HBO, Comedy Central, B.E.T, Second City, and Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. Raymond recently completed his first book, All Jokes Aside: Stand Up Comedy Is A Phunny Business released by Agate Publishing.

Director of Photography Keith Walker was D.P. of  Mavis! (the Mavis Staples story, HBO 2016), Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, (American Masters), Steve James’ Head Games, and No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (ESPN 30 for 30), Alex Gibney’s Catching Hell (ESPN’s 30 for 30), and Bob Hercules’ Forgiving Dr. Mengele.  Keith was also the primary D.P. for Oprah Prime (OWN) and has shot for CBS’ 60 Minutes for over 20 years.

Editor David E. Simpson edited Life Itself (the Roger Ebert documentary directed by Steve James) which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.  David also edited Bob Hercules & Gordon Quinn’s Bill T. Jones: A Good Man (American Masters, 2011), Steve James’ Head Games (2012), and Bob Hercules’ Forgiving Dr. Mengele (winner of the Special Jury Prize, Slamdance 2006).

Editor Lillian Benson, ACE was one of the original editors of the landmark series Eyes on the Prize.  She has gone onto to edit many award-winning documentaries including Get in the Way: The Journey of John L. Lewis, Wounded Knee (Stanley Nelson) and Great Performances: The Alvin Ailey Dance Company (PBS).

Composer Stephen James Taylor past projects include scoring the documentary Tom Bradley: Bridging the Divide (2015)Southside With You (2015), People Are The Sky(2015), Marvel’s TV Series The Black Panther,  Universal’s The Adventures of Brer Rabbit, Disney’s Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (for which he won Best Original Score at the 2004 DVDX Awards), Teachers Pet, a Disney animated feature and many of Charles Burnett’s films including To Sleep With Anger and the  blues documentary, Warming By the Devil’s Fire produced by Martin Scorsese, and the 1996 orchestral suite for Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics.  He has received 4 Emmy Nominations.

The Story

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At the time of Maya Angelou’s death, she was participating in the first feature documentary about her life for the American Masters series, Maya Angelou And Still I Rise. Co-directors/producers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack last interviewed Dr. Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) this past January and production on the film continues. We look forward to her taking her rightful place in the American Masters series, albeit posthumously.

An eloquent poet, writer and performer, Maya Angelou’s life intersected with the civil rights struggle, the Harlem Writers Guild, the New Africa movement, the women’s movement, and the cultural and political realignments of the 1970s and ’80s. Her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, catapulted Dr. Angelou onto the literary stage and became an international best-seller. She appeared in numerous documentaries, talk shows and feature films, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, yet shockingly, has never been the subject of her own feature documentary.

Having lived such a rich, passionate life and been a witness, as well as a participant, in some of the most profound periods of the last century, her full biography is extraordinarily rich and varied. Dr. Angelou lived not one life, but half a dozen, and yet parts of her story have fallen into obscurity. Maya Angelou And Still I Rise reflects on how the events of history, culture and the arts shaped her life and how she, in turn, helped shape our own worldview through her autobiographical literature and activism.

The film is a co-production of The People Poet, LLC and ITVS in association with THIRTEEN Productions LLC’s American Masters for WNET, in association with Artemis Rising.

Film Screenings

We can’t tell you how much your vision and encouragement continues to propel this film. In March the documentary was presented in Dr. Angelou’s hometown of St.Louis on two screens with over 750 viewers and more than 2800 requests to attend. In April we visited Sarasota, Ft. Myers where we won Best Documentary and were featured at Full Frame. We then ended April in Dr. Angelou’s Winston-Salem with many of Dr. Angelou’s family, friends and academic community in attendance. Please visit our website photos and follow our Instagram to Facebook and Twitter.

Past Film Screenings

Port Townsend Film Festival
Port Townsend, Washington

Community Colleges of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA

Pasadena City College
Pasadena, CA

City of Hapeville Association of Trade & Tourism
Hapeville, Georgia

Union College
Barbourville, Kentucky

Crossroads Film Society
Jackson, Mississippi

Wingate University
Wingate, North Carolina

Troy University
Troy, Alabama

Roswell Cultural Arts Center
Roswell, Georgia

Ritz Theatre
Sheffield, ALabama

Halifax Black Film Festival – HBFF
Nova Scotia, Canada

Doc Edge Festival
Auckland & Wellington, New Zealand

O Cinema Miami Shores
Miami Shores, FL

WTTW Channel 11 Chicago
Chicago, IL

Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC

The Schomburg Center and THIRTEEN
New York, New York

AARP & Donda’s House
Chicago, IL

Kimball Theatre
Williamsburg, Virginia

Portland Black Film Festival
Portland, OR

Cinema Arts Centre
Huntington, NY

Aperture Cinema
Winston Salem, NC

2/4/2017 & 2/5/2017
Honolulu African American Film Festival
Honolulu, HI

Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico

DOXA Documentary Film Festival
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Gene Siskel Film Center
Chicago, IL

MLK Dreamfest Celebration
Cary, North Carolina

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Houston, Texas

DOXA Festival
Vancouver, British Columbia

Berryville, Virginia
Barns of Rose Hill

11/26/2016 – 11/27/2016
Laemmle Theatres – Santa Monica, CA
Get Tickets

Amsterdam, Netherlands
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

11/25/2016 at 19:00
Podium Mozaiek

11/24/2016 at 18:45
Tuschinski 1

11/22/2016 at 17:00
Tuschinski 2*
*Followed by Q&A

11/21/2016 at 11:45
Munt 10*
*Followed by Q&A

11/19/2016 – 11/20/2016
Laemmle Theatres – Santa Monica, CA

11/19/2016 – 11/20/2016
East Langsing Film Festival

11/17/2016 at 15:00

11/10/2016 – 11/17/2016
Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Scandinavia House

Chicago, Illinois
Gene Siskel Film Center

11/14/2016 – 7:30pm*
*RSVP Directly OR BY DIALING 415 835-8775

11/12/2016 – 11/13/2016
Laemmle Theatres – Santa Monica, CA

11/04/2016 – 11/13/2016
Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival

11/10/2016 – 11/13/2016
Lone Star Film Festival

WME Screening Room
W/ Special Guest Quincy Jones

AMPAS Membership Screening
W/ Special Guests Diahann Carroll, Lou Gossett, Jr., Colin Johnson, and Oprah Winfrey

11/04/2016 – 11/12/2016
Rehoboth Beach Film Festival

Pepperdine University

11/03/2016 – 11/10/2016
East Langsing Film Festival

Colorado Springs, CO
Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival

Wilmington, NC
Cucalorus Film Festival

11/11/2016 & 11/13/2016
Houston, Texas
Houston Cinema Arts Festival

11/05/2016 – 11/05/2016
Indie Memphis

11/05/2016 – 11/06/2016
Teaneck International Film Festival

11/03/2016 – 11/06/2016
Virginia Film Festival

10/27/2016 – 10/27/2016
Denver Film Society

10/20/2016 – 10/23/2016
Alexander Valley Film Festival

10/19/2016 – 10/23/2016
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival

10/19/2016 – 10/29/2016
Covey Film Festival

10/11/16 and 10/13/16
Mill Valley Film Festival

Tallgrass International Film Festival(Wichita, KS)

AMC/Norwalk, Norwalk, CA

AMC Van Ness, San Francisco

Empire/AMC New York

10/08/2016 – 10/08/2016
Cinema Numina

Indigo Moon Film Festival (Fayetteville NC), Opening Night Film

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

Bushwick Film Festival

09/29/2016 – 10/02/2016
Crested Butte Film Festival

San Diego Film Festival

Montreal Black Film Festival, Opening Night film

Little Rock Film Festival:Reel Civil Rights Film Festival

09/27/2016 – 10/03/2016
Milwaukee Film Festival

Port Townsend Film Festival

09/22/2016 – 09/26/2016
Homer Doc Fest (Homer Alaska), Opening Night film

09/22/16 and 09/24/16
Lunenburg Doc Fest (Nova Scotia) Opening Night Film

Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago now until Sept. 29
Dates and Attendance TBD
Aspen Institute
Black Harvest Film Festival
June 26th

Hay Literary Festival
Kells, Ireland

Bob Only

June 12/13
June 12 @ 3:15pm
June 14 @ 8:30pm both with Q&A

Sheffield Doc. Festival
Sheffield, England

June 24/26

AFI American Film Institute Festival
Washington, DC

Rita Only

June 10 @ 5:30pm
deadCenter Film Festival
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
June 9 & 10

Seattle International Film Festival

Bob Only

June 7
Grand Cinema
Tacoma, Washington

June 5/11
Date & Time TBD plus Master Class

Encounters Film Festival
Capetown, South Africa

Rita Only

June 3/12
Cinetopia International Film Festival
Detroit, Michigan

June 2 @ 6:00pm
Illuminate Film Festival
Sedona, Arizona

Rita only

May 31

Doc Soup Toronto
Toronto, Canada Via Skype

May 15
Bermuda Film Festival
Hamilton, Bermuda
May 8/9 & 15
May 8 @ 5:30pm
(without directors May 15 3:30 p.m)

DOXA Documentary Film Festival
Vancouver, British Columbia
May 6/7
May 6 @ 5:45pm

May 7 @ 11:00am

Montclair Film Festival
Montclair, New Jersey
May 4 @ 5:30pm
Bentonville Film Festival
Bentonville, Arkansas

If you would like to join us at any of these events please contact us and again, thank you for your support.
Rita and Bob


Interviews & Press Releases


For all inquiries or questions, please contact us:

For publicity information, please contact:
Omar Gonzales
Leigh Wolfson