March 8, 2021Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts, in partnership with Southampton African American Museum, is pleased to announce the special online presentation of Martin Luther King Jr: A Personal Portrait on Thursday, March 25, at 8 p.m. via Zoom. Following the screening, Emmy Award-winning cinematographer George Silano, who filmed the footage over the course of a week in December 1965, will join Brenda Simmons of SAAM for a question-and-answer session. Tickets are free at baystreet.org; email registration is required.

Martin Luther King Jr: A Personal Portrait is an intimate and candid glimpse at the life of America’s great Civil Rights leader, at a high point in his work and the Civil Rights Movement. Filmed in his Atlanta home over the course of a week in December 1965, the documentary introduces Dr. King shortly following his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize and the passage of the The Civil Rights Act. Dr. King speaks openly with the film’s producer, journalist Arnold Michaelis, about his position within the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and the notion of sacrificing one’s own life in the fight for a higher cause. The film includes rare footage of a discussion with King’s wife, Coretta, who provides her own unique perspective of their home life and his activism.

Arnold Michaelis is a renowned television producer and journalist, who over the course of his career interviewed such important cultural figures as John Wayne and Leonard Bernstein to Eleanor Roosevelt and Indira Gandhi. To help create the film, Michaelis hired freelance cinematographer, George Silano, who would later rediscover the footage in 2012 in the archives of the University of Georgia, where the film had been kept following Michaelis’ death in 1997.


George Silano is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer and photographer whose career has spanned fifty years. In addition to his work on Martin Luther King Jr.: A Personal Portrait, Silano worked on a number of feature length documentaries, including The City of Ships, Changing World, The Hippie Temptation, and What Do You Say To A Naked Lady? He directed the film The Stoolie, and was director of photography on films Recess and The Last American Hero. He lives in North Haven.


Born and raised in Southampton, Brenda Simmons earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Community Human Services with a Concentration in Advocacy from SUNY Empire State University. From 2005 to 2015, she served as the Assistant to the Mayor and Recording Secretary in the Village of Southampton. She is Founder and Executive Director of the Southampton African American Museum (SAAM), located in a former restaurant and barbershop dating to the late 1940s, a place well known as “The Gathering Place” for Blacks at that time. She is Founder of the Pyrrhus Concer Action Committee (PCAC), which was formed to preserve the homestead of Pyrrhus Concer, a former indentured servant, legendary whaler, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who was born in Southampton Village in 1814.


Bay Street Theater is a year-round, not-for-profit professional theater and community cultural center, which endeavors to innovate, educate, and entertain a diverse community through the practice of the performing arts. It serves as a social and cultural gathering place, an educational resource, and a home for a community of artists.



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