Stanley Nelson Director

Stanley Nelson is one of the foremost chroniclers of the African American experience working in nonfiction film today. His films, many of which have aired on PBS, combine compelling narratives with deeply researched historical detail, shining new light on both familiar and under-explored aspects of the American past. Nelson, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, has received numerous honors over the course of his career, including five Primetime Emmy Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts Sciences, the Emmys, the Peabodys, and IDA. In 2013, Nelson received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Barack Obama. His latest film, ​Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool​, chronicling the life and times of the prolific jazz musician, premiered at Sundance in January 2019. In 2000, Mr. Nelson, along with his wife, Marcia A. Smith, founded Firelight Media, a nonprofit production company dedicated to using non-fiction filmmaking to advance contemporary social justice causes, and to mentoring, inspiring and training a new generation of diverse young filmmakers committed to telling underrepresented stories.

Select Art21 films