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ABOUT THE FILM
Marshawn Lynch: A History is a kaleidoscopic look at newly retired NFL star Marshawn Lynch and his use of silence as a form of protest. Culling more than 700 video clips and placing them in dramatic, rapid, and radical juxtaposition, the film is a powerful political parable about the American media-sports complex and its deep complicity with racial oppression.
Born and raised in Oakland by a single mother, Lynch became an All-American, an All-Pro running back, and a Super Bowl champion, but over the last five years he has emerged as a nationally significant figure precisely because he has refused to “play the game” of being a dutiful interviewee. Silence-as-rebellion has African-American roots tracing back to slavery, and it’s a gesture that has flourished spectacularly in Oakland, where Lynch is deeply involved in the betterment of his city and where “troublemakers” have changed the game generation after generation—from Jack London and Gertrude Stein to the Black Panthers, Hells Angels, and Oakland Raiders (after playing the last two years for his hometown team, Lynch reportedly retired from football on August 24, 2019) to Bill Russell and Curt Flood to Alice Walker and Ishmael Reed to Tupac Shakur, Ryan Coogler, and Boots Riley.
Lynch: A History documents and celebrates Lynch’s attempt to be true to himself in a capitalist, racist society that wants to exploit him and that he wants to both exploit and oppose. Lynch is leaving a legacy of the eloquence of silence, echo, and mimicry as key tools of defiance. Albert Camus says, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” No one is absolutely free, but Marshawn Lynch comes thrillingly close.
Written, produced, and directed by David Shields, New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Black Planet: Facing Race during an NBA Season (upon which Lynch: A History is very loosely based) and Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications). Executive-produced by Danny Glover (Sorry to Bother You, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Lethal Weapon).
Shields has designated 10% of the film’s proceeds for Marshawn Lynch’s charity, Fam 1st Family Foundation.
David Shields, Director
David Shields is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Reality Hunger (named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications), The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (New York Times bestseller), Black Planet (finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), and Other People: Takes & Mistakes (NYTBR Editors’ Choice). The film adaptation of I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel was released by First Pond Entertainment in 2017. Nobody Hates Trump More Than Trump: An Intervention was published in 2018; The Trouble With Men: Reflections on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, and Power was published in March 2019. A recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships and a senior contributing editor of Conjunctions, Shields has published fiction and nonfiction in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Esquire, Yale Review, Salon, Slate, Tin House, A Public Space, McSweeney's, Believer, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Best American Essays. His books have been translated into two dozen languages.
Danny Glover, Executive Producer
In addition to being one of the most acclaimed actors of our time (Places in the Heart, The Color Purple, Lethal Weapon, To Sleep with Anger, and Sorry to Bother You), Danny Glover has also executive-produced numerous projects for film, television, and theatre, including Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Good Fences, 3 AM, Freedom Song, Get on the Bus, Deadly Voyage, Buffalo Soldiers, The Saint of Fort Washington, and Mooladé, as well as the series Courage and America's Dream. Since co-founding Louverture Films, Glover has co-produced Bamako, Africa Unite, Trouble the Water, Salt of This Sea, Soundtrack for a Revolution, Dum Maaro Dum, and The Black Power Mixtape. He associate-produced Apichatpong Weerasethakul's 2010 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. The recipient of numerous awards for his humanitarian and advocacy efforts on behalf of economic and social justice causes, Glover is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Amnesty International.
John W. Comerford, Consulting Producer
President of Paradigm Studio, John Comerford has served on the board of The Seattle International Film Festival and the Northwest Film Forum. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studied with Stan Brakhage. Comerford’s recent films include Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense (recognized by AFI’s 20/20 program as a top U.S. documentary) and The Breach (winner of Best International Documentary at the Galway Film Festival). His work has been distributed and exhibited by Showtime, Netflix, Public Television, iTunes, Amazon, AFI, SIFF, SXSW, and the Cannes Film Market.
James Nugent, Editor, Music Coordinator
James Nugent is a writer, songwriter, and filmmaker. He’s the songwriter and singer for the bands Mountain Con and Berkeley Pit, which have released a number of albums. His compositions have been featured in films and on television.