Locally Produced Film Honors Judge Damon J Keith At Royal Oak’s Royal Starr Film Festival

By Mickie McLeod, CBS 62/CW50 Intern

“Once I met Judge Keith and saw how captivating and interesting a character he was to watch on screen, I knew I had wanted to do what I was amazed no one else had done yet – make a documentary about him,” said Director/Producer Jesse Nesser.

On Saturday, October 15th at 7:00 PM, Detroit’s own Judge Damon J. Keith will be honored at the screening of Walk With Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith, Nesser’s locally produced feature,  during the first ever International Royal Starr Film Festival at the Emagine Theatre in Downtown Royal Oak.

Walk With Me: The Trials of Judge Damon J. Keith tells the story of ten extraordinary years, four groundbreaking cases, and one unconventional federal judge, whose rulings forever changed the face of civil rights in the United States.

“It may be the greatest story you never heard.”

Damon J. Keith was first appointed to the U.S District Court in Detroit, in 1967. Only a short three months after, race riots tore the city apart.  Damon J Keith, a rookie judge at the time and an African-American, faced controversy immediately when four divisive cases landed on his docket – all of which concerned hidden discriminatory practices.  Now 93, Judge Keith is still an active judge and a living embodiment of a century of US history. He became a fearless and excellent judge whose resonate with surprising relevance in a nation still arguing about “which lives matter” almost 50 years later.

“We are living in a time when his story and his cases couldn’t be more relevant. He ruled on pioneer discrimination cases that dealt with our schools, neighborhoods, employment practices and racial balances on police force,” Nesser said.

“Unlike nearly all his iconic civil rights contemporaries, he’s actually alive to tell these stories and share his perspective on the challenges we’re facing today. It is an extraordinary opportunity to capture and preserve both Damon Keith’s story and his character.”

Come experience, honor and enjoy the featured film about Judge Keith and the story of his fight for justice.  A Q&A with Judge Keith and Producer/Director Jesse Nesser will be held after the screening of the documentary on Saturday, October 15th at 7:00PM at the Emagine Theatre in Downtown Royal Oak.

Walk With Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith had its world premiere at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival and will be having its European Premiere at the Cambridge Film Festival on October 25th. It won the best documentary feature jury award at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival and the Capital City Black Film Festival. The film has also been invited to screen at The Tallgrass Film Festival, The Denver Film Festival and the Lone Star Film Festival.

Tickets are available: http://Boxoffice.royalstarr.org
For additional Information: http://royalstarrfilmfestival.com/

Mickie McLeod is a Livonia, MI native.  She’s currently majoring in Communication Studies at Wayne State University and is a CBS 62/CW50 Intern.


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