Private Project

Detangling The South Episode 1: New Orleans

Our Detangled team went on the road for our latest series supporting Citizen SHE United's effort to mobilize Black Women in the South entitled: Road To 300K: Detangling The South! From Leah Chase's kitchen in New Orleans to 16th Street Baptist Church, Ballard House and Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham, Alabama; Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma concluded our journey on election day in Miami.

  • Damien D Smith
  • Damien D. Smith
  • Nia Weeks
  • Damien D Smith
  • Faye Matthews
    Key Cast
  • Nia Weeks
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Television, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 9, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Washington DC
    United States
    August 19, 2022
Director Biography - Damien D Smith

Damien D. Smith is an award-winning filmmaker using strategic storytelling to inspire and provoke change through social, political and corporate campaigns. Using his art to address sexism, racism, and bigotry, Smith drives intergenerational, cross-cultural conversations around mental illness, sexual abuse and environmental racism. His long list of high profile collaborations includes MAC, Facebook, Color of Change, Estée Lauder and others.

Smith is the co-founder of Detangled, a strategic platform for effective mass engagement using storytelling and community cultivation to drive social change at scale. Detangled is best known for the integrated campaign strategy it applied to nearly double voter turnout in Louisiana’s historic 2020 election, and to achieve the successful passage of the CROWN ACT across the state.

Prior to Detangled, the actor, writer and director founded 4910 Rosalie Productions where he is currently Creative Director. 4910 has partnered with social justice organizations across the country in collaborations infusing storytelling with grassroots organizing and issue based campaign work. Smith’s work is touted across the filmmaking world for its powerful ethos, giving a voice to the voiceless and amplifying critical issues facing the black community.

Smith’s short film, Daddy’s Big Girl, won the 2018 Filmmaker of the year at Gentleman Jack Reel to Real Short Film Competition. He also is the winner of the Arts with Impact Grand Prize Award for his short “About That.” His most recent documentary, Target: St. Louis Volume 1, was named the Best Documentary Feature Winner at the 2021 Urban World Film Festival. The film tells the story of the African Americans who survived the secret chemical testing conducted by the US Military in Northern St. Louis after World War II.

In July 2023, the LA Times reported that Smith was suing the LAPD for tasing him in his house when he called the police to report a burglary. He was making a film about police brutality at the time. The campaign for justice surrounding this case highlights the intersectionality of Smith’s critical contributions to the shaping of culture and to wholistic social justice activism.

Smith is driven by both a responsibility to shed light on injustice and oppression and a deep-rooted passion for community, faith, and social activism. His grandparents, who raised him in St. Louis, Missouri, instilled in him a deep sense of empathy, cultivating his desire to shed light on various injustices and all of the“isms” that keep people from truly connecting.

Smith’s stage and television credits include the NAACP Theater Award-winning production of “12x9,” and most recently the television series “Snowfall” on Fx Networks and “The
Purge”on USA networks.

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Director Statement

I want to use film to teach my people how to fish. To show my people there are other opportunities in the entertainment industry besides being on-camera, to show my people what we can do and help promote the arts and use the film to be able to show everybody “you can do this.” Wherever I am, whatever project I am on, I will always have locals working alongside me on every aspect of the film – from crew and staff to the musical score and soundtrack. With every story, I want to show the world the community's potential. I want to show each story authentically in every aspect. Part of why I utilize film is to show other people who only have limited perceptions – and misconceptions – about people, and to show off what a beautiful people we are collectively. I would like to tell stories of equality and justice through all my stories, especially in the documentary side of things. To show the humanity that is in all of us, and what is unfortunate is that we have to show and prove our humanity because if they did see the humanity in us, there wouldn't be incidents like Eric Garner's, Oscar Brown's or you know, Philando Castile's. I get to change that thorough directorial work, and storytelling. I enjoy being positioned to have control, and comfort in being a piece of a bigger puzzle. Paramount to the way I work is rooted in combating ignorance. Unfortunately, a lot of things are racist or definitely rooted in systemic racism. Still, there is also a portion of things that are rooted in ignorance that can be misguided and portrayed as racism. So I hope my work creates enlightenment and generates conversation in the most entertaining way possible.