Beyond Beats and Rhymes: Filmmaker Bios

God Bless the Child Productions, Inc. 

A Film by: Byron Hurt
Directed and Produced by: Byron Hurt
Edited and Co-Produced by: Sabrina Schmidt Gordon
Executive Produced by: Stanley Nelson 

GOD BLESS THE CHILD PRODUCTIONS, INC. is a documentary production company that creates socially relevant, cutting-edge documentary films for diverse national and international audiences. Founded by filmmaker Byron Hurt in 1993, the company's first documentary video, Moving Memories: The Black Senior Video Yearbook was made in collaboration with Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalism professor, Andrew P. Jones. Hurt and Jones developed the 50-minute documentary about the dreams, aspirations and trials of 55 graduating African American seniors at a predominantly white New England university. 

Hurt and Jones teamed up again for God Bless the Child's second documentary film, I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America, which won the International Prized Pieces Community Choice Award. Hurt has toured with I Am A Man, showing the film to diverse audiences throughout the United States. BEYOND BEATS AND RHYMES, is God Bless the Child's third film. 

Byron Hurt is the New York-based producer of the award-winning documentary and underground classic, I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America and Moving Memories: The Black Senior Video Yearbook. Hurt, 35, is a former Northeastern University football star and long-time gender violence prevention educator. For more than five years, he was the associate director and founding member of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, the leading college-based rape and domestic violence prevention initiative for professional athletics. He is also the former associate director of the first gender violence prevention program in the United States Marine Corps. 

Byron Hurt was the recipient of the prestigious echoing green public service fellowship in 1999, an award given to ambitious young activists devoted to creating social change in their communities. Over the past decade, Hurt has lectured at more than 100 college campuses and trained thousands of young men and women on issues related to gender, race, sex, violence, music and visual media. 

BEYOND BEATS AND RHYMES' Co-Producer and Editor Sabrina Schmidt Gordon has been committed to educational, cultural and social advocacy programming for over a decade. Her editing “debut” garnered an Emmy for WGBH's Greater Boston Arts series. She has worked in both producing and editing capacities on numerous award-winning documentaries for public television and cable. She also collaborates with non-profit and grassroots organizations to create video programs. Most recently, she worked with Witness, an organization founded by Peter Gabriel that trains activists around the world to use video as a tool for social change. Gordon is also the Producer and Director of the upcoming 180 Days, a documentary about the NYC Teaching Fellows Program and ROUGHSTARS, a profile of the band at the forefront of the “rock and bounce” music scene in New York City. 

Stanley Nelson, a 2002 MacArthur “genius” Fellow, is Executive Producer of Firelight Media, a not-for-profit documentary production company dedicated to giving a voice to people and issues that are marginalized in popular culture. Nelson is a multiple award-winning documentary filmmaker with over 20 years' experience and is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking historical documentaries that illuminate critical but overlooked history. His 2003 film, The Murder of Emmett Till, was broadcast nationally on PBS's American Experience to rave reviews, and Nelson went on to win the Primetime Emmy for Best Directing for nonfiction; the Special Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; a coveted award from the International Documentary Association; and the highest honor in broadcast journalism, the George Foster Peabody award, among many others. His 2004 film, A PLACE OF OUR OWN, a semi-autobiographical look at the African American middle class, moved audiences to tears at the Sundance Film Festival's documentary competition and in national broadcast on PBS's acclaimed series Independent Lens. With four films in competition at Sundance in the past six years and multiple industry awards, Nelson is acknowledged as one of the premier documentary filmmakers working today. 

58 Acorn Avenue Central Islip, NY 11722

Posted on January 18, 2006