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Bobby Seale, chairman, co-founder and national organizer of the Black Panther Party
Seize the Time is also the title of Bobby's autobiography, which sold over one million copies since first published in 1970. A studio executive at Fox Search Light Pictures suggested that Bobby and Stephen produce this dramatized feature instead of the more traditional documentary they had originally been working on.
Since the late 1970s, Bobby has spoken to hundreds of thousands of students on college campuses worldwide. Audiences have been mesmerized by his charismatic speeches as he relates his personal experiences in a historical period that helped shape today's politics. Bobby talks about the people in the Black Panther Party, their supporters and the various social programs they created; how they prevailed in a world where they were persecuted and their lives and those of their friends and families were threatened.
The image of Bobby Seale chained, gagged, and bound to a chair in a Chicago courtroom is one that lives in America's national consciousness. This film will tell the story of how he got there, and how he survived. The story comes straight from Bobby Seale's life. It offers insights into United States history and the conflicts and contradictions that reverberate to this day.
For the first time millions of people will have an opportunity to experience Bobby's stories in movie theaters across America and the world. Bobby decided to produce his own cinematic life story because of his frustration with the films that have been made about the Black Panthers without his involvement. "They usually contact me after they have made their film," Bobby has commented," and often want me to endorse it. I want to do this until I see the final product. Its painful to see the waste of money, resources and talent on film projects that don't convey the complete story of what happened during the days of the Black Panther Party and the sixties protest movement."
Many cinematic depictions of the Black Panther Party leave out the FBI's efforts to terrorize the Panthers through its counter intelligence program. This led to Panther members being legally framed and sometimes even assassinated based on the false testimony of FBI informants.
"There is an entire generation of young people who know nothing about how viciously the FBI attacked us and why. Even people of my generation don't know that J. Edgar Hoover said the Black Panthers Breakfast for Children program represents the greatest threat to America's national security," Bobby has explained.
Seize The Time; The Eighth Defendant will give its audience a glimpse into the life of Bobby Seale and the social protest movements of the 1960's and 70's. A cast of actors will play the part of the people who were members and show the changes they created. The film will also highlight situations in which the Panthers prevailed. Bobby says, " For example, most people don't know that we won 95 % of our courtroom cases. " Many social programs today go back to the survival programs of the Black Panther Party. And the struggle for justice for African American and minority youth in the face of police oppression is unfortunately as relevant today as it was when Bobby and Huey first took up their rifles and law books to protest police brutality.
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