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Guardians of the Flame

GUARDIANS OF THE FLAME is the product of some 17 years, begun on a visit to post-Katrina New Orleans in 2006 by Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme and writer Daniel Wolff. Their visits continued, 4-times-a-year, for the next six years. After Demme's death, in 2017, Wolff, Demme's son Brooklyn, and a film crew returned to New Orleans in 2019 to bring the project up to date. The desire to finish this project and the persistence to do so comes from the Harrison family's inspirational work in what Cherice Harrison-Nelson calls "self-emancipation." Long before Katrina and in the years since, the Harrisons have forged cultural weapons to resist racism and oppression both locally and on a national scale. As this film documents, their tools include music, beading, masking, literacy, and community building. Whether handing out books to pre-schoolers, being nominated for Grammys, making films, or sewing elaborate ceremonial clothing, the Harrisons have kept their eyes on the prize. GUARDIANS OF THE FLAME offers a decade-and-a-half overview of one family's trials and eventual triumph.