A fascinating chronicle of justice and strength… Toronto International Film Festival (2012)
Free Angela is an impressive act of research, editing and period recreation. — John Anderson, Variety

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Press Release - January 30, 2013

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New York, NY (January 30, 2013) – Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate company, has acquired the theatrical rights to the political-crime-drama documentary about social activism icon Angela Davis.

Through Codeblack Films’ partnership with AMC Theatres®, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners presented by BET Networks will release exclusively at AMC locations in select markets on April 5, 2013.

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners is a film by Shola Lynch, presented by Realside Productions and De Films en Aiguille, in association with Direct Cinema and the participation of Direct 8, with major support from La Region Ile-de-France, Canal Plus, the Ford Foundation and Black Entertainment Television Networks. Produced by Carole Lambert, Shola Lynch, Carine Ruszniewski, Sidra Smith. Directed and written by Shola Lynch. Executive Producers Overbrook Entertainment and Roc Nation.

Hailed by the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival as “a fascinating chronicle of justice and strength,” Free Angela tells the dramatic story of how a young professor’s social justice activism implicates her in a botched kidnapping attempt that ends with a bloody shootout, four dead, and her name on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

In this historical vérité style documentary, marking the 40th anniversary of her acquittal on charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy, Angela Davis recounts the politics and actions that branded her a terrorist and simultaneously spurred a worldwide movement for her freedom as a political prisoner.

At its core, the story wrestles with the meaning of political freedom in a democracy negotiated between the people and its government. Strong, attractive, and engaging, Angela Davis is one such person who became a symbol at the center of this still relevant power struggle.

“We knew that this film was important and would not only shed a spotlight on history, but provide a flashlight for our future” said Jeff Clanagan, CEO of Codeblack Enterprises. “Angela Davis is a staple in history and continues to cross generational and cultural lines in her plight to fight for the freedom of all people.”

Four decades after the trial that ignited an international cry for “power to the people,” Angela Davis is celebrated as a political icon and one of the world’s greatest voices of social freedom. Written and directed by Harlem Filmmaker Shola Lynch, this Overbrook Entertainment/Roc Nation production, introduces the world to the woman behind the legacy through Angela Davis’ own personal account of the circumstances surrounding her imprisonment.

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Shola Lynch is an award-winning filmmaker who intrigued audiences with her first feature documentary Chisholm ’72 – Unbought & Unbossed. It was this work that convinced Angela Davis that a production of the story of her own life could “speak to young people in the 21st Century to give them a sense of what it means to feel collectively powerful and capable of changing the world.”

Lynch’s passion for the creation of this work was birthed from a desire to investigate and discover the woman behind the icon. “When I began this project I knew Angela Davis’ name and her iconic Afroed image, but I couldn’t tell you much more about her,” said Lynch. “I was really interested in investigating her story. She was a symbol of power, but I wanted to know for what, and why.”

Jada Pinkett Smith along with Overbrook Entertainment, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, and BET Networks have joined forces on the production of the documentary.

“We at Overbrook Entertainment are very proud to support this intriguing documentary about the life of Angela Davis,” said Jada Pinkett Smith. “Filmmaker Shola Lynch has done an incredible job in revealing a piece of American history we thought we all knew.” 

Shawn “JAY Z” Carter adds, “Shola Lynch has crafted an intricate and compelling film about Angela Davis. Roc Nation is honored to be part of a creative collective that can present such a riveting story.”

“The journey and struggle to free Angela Davis is a defining moment in our country’s fight for political freedom and an integral part of African-American history,” says Loretha Jones, President of Original Programming, BET Networks. “We are proud to be a partner in this film and to share powerful stories of justice such as this that will resonate with our audience.”

"This movie illustrates an important part of history, and we’re honored to provide a platform for the story to be told,” said Nikkole Denson-Randolph, vice president of alternative and special content at AMC. ”Although a commonly known moment in history, Free Angela offers an entirely new and authentic perspective.”

This film was developed with the support of The Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by BET Networks, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), New York State Council on the Arts, Paul Newman Foundation, The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Tribeca All Access and Angoa.

Free Angela is distributed by Codeblack Films and will open on April 5, 2013 exclusively in select AMC theatres in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Oakland, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

About Codeblack Films

Codeblack Films, a division of Lionsgate Entertainment was launched in 2012 by entertainment industry veteran Jeff Clanagan. Codeblack’s mission is to super-serve the global black community through the development of a diversified portfolio of new media & film content production and strategic acquisitions. Codeblack provides brand strategy solutions to globally recognized celebrities, artists, intellectual property holders and brands operating in the entertainment and sports industries. Codeblack employs a transmedia approach which involves the discipline of leveraging brands and products across multiple platforms, by creating a diversified portfolio of developed content and technology applications with an overarching brand narrative that is then distributed through both traditional and new media outlets. By establishing a single brand narrative that flows from live performance venues to theatrical exhibition houses to TV to web to mobile devices to game consoles, brands and content are strategically leveraged and positioned to benefit from multiple revenue platforms, consumers and fans enjoy a richer experience and stakeholders realize increased value.

Codeblack’s passion is helping its content and brand partners access the power of the $1-trillion African American consumer market. The African American population continues to expand both in pure numbers and in buying power and has a major influence on entertainment, technology and media trends. Codeblack’s analysis and understanding of the social context of this fast-evolving market — values, attitudes, behavior, trends and pre-trends— allow us to position our content and brand partners in the center of influence—and develop the best strategy to maximize benefit.

About Overbrook Entertainment

Overbrook Entertainment, founded by partners James Lassiter, Will Smith and run along with partner Jada Pinkett Smith, is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment focused in film and television and has produced a diverse slate of both critically acclaimed and blockbuster feature films, which have generated more than $2.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts and even more in home video sales.

Some of Overbrook’s most successful films include ALI, HITCH, PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, I AM LEGEND, HANCOCK, SECRET LIVES OF BEES, and most recently THE KARATE KID. Overbrook’s next feature project is AFTER EARTH, which is set for a June 7th, 2013 release. They are also producing Queen Latifah’s syndicated daytime talk show with Sony Pictures Television that will premiere this fall.

About Roc Nation

In April 2008, Live Nation – one of the largest producers of live concert tickets in the world, selling over 70 million tickets worldwide and expanding over 33 countries – partnered with entrepreneur Shawn “Jay Z” Carter to create Roc Nation.

Roc Nation is a fully functioning entertainment company, including artist, songwriter, producer and engineer management; music publishing; touring & merchandising; film & television; new business ventures; and a music label. Artists signed to Roc Nation partake in full-rights deals, which are all encompassing and include ticket sales, record sales and all forms of endorsements. Roc Nation is also a successful creative consulting firm on several projects, which include multi-platinum artists in all genres of music. Stemming from several core elements of Live Nation’s ticketing platform, we strive to create a new plateau for the music and entertainment industry.

About AMC Theatres

AMC Theatres® delivers distinctive and affordable movie-going experiences in 332 theatres and 4,804 screens throughout the United States. AMC operates 25 of the 50 highest grossing theatres in the United States, including four of the top five. AMC has propelled industry innovation and continues today by delivering premium sight and sound, enhanced food and beverage and diverse content to an engaged audience in state-of-the-art buildings.

Film Info & Synopsis

Title – FREE ANGELA and all political prisoners

– Codeblack Films/Lionsgate

– Shola Lynch

– Angela Davis

- Shola Lynch

-Carole Lambert, Shola Lynch, Carine Ruszniewski, Sidra Smith

Genre(s) ­
 - Documentary

Release Date 
– April 5th, 2013

– 101 minutes

MPAA Rating 
– Not Rated

Official Website –


@FreeAngelaFilm - Use the #freeangela hashtag to join the conversation.

Poster Image

Free Angela is a gripping historic account of the events that catapulted a young University of California philosophy professor into a controversial political icon in the turbulent late 1960’s.  Angela Davis joins the Communist Party, protests with the Black Panthers, and becomes a principle spokesperson for the burgeoning prison reform movement.  As a result, she finds herself Fighting to keep her job, and in the national media spotlight characterized by her many detractors as a dangerous subversive menace, and by her supporters as a strong leader challenging authority and boldly advocating for “Power to All People.”

So on August 7th, 1970, when Angela is implicated in the politically motivated kidnapping and murder of a judge in a brazen daylight shootout at the Marin County, CA courthouse, the nation wonders and Newsweek magazine asks: “What would prompt the daughter of the black bourgeoisie to take a desperate turn to terrorism?”
Angela flees California, convinced she will not be given a fair trial and is placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.  After a national manhunt she is captured two months later in New York City. Charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy, Angela is put on trial in one of the most sensational court cases of its time. After a two-year legal battle, an all white jury acquits her on all charges in 1972.
It’s an edge-of-your seat thriller told for the first time by Angela and others who lived through the events firsthand. The interviews recount the politics that led her to challenge authority and spur a worldwide movement for her freedom that cemented Angela Davis, and her signature Afro hairstyle,  as an iconic symbol of this still relevant political and social movement —  the right to challenge the system.
Free Angela is a must see documentary!  A candid and powerful account of the tumultuous times and a woman who challenges a society that is afraid of all that she represents. Filled with elements of intrigue, suspense and conspiracies, the film delivers by empowering and inspiring diverse international audiences with its message of hope and redemption.
You know her name. Now, you will finally know her story.