St. Clair Bourne, a Harlem-born, an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker who recorded American black culture, died on Saturday in Manhattan, according to the New York Times. He was 64 and lived in Brooklyn. Over the past 35 years, Mr. Bourne was the producer, director and writer of about 45 film productions, including documentaries for HBO, PBS, NBC, BBC and National Geographic as well as his independent projects.
Mr. Bourne’s works were seen on public television, commercial networks and at film festivals around the country. Among his subjects were the singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson; the poet, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes; the photojournalist and filmmaker Gordon Parks; and the poet and activist Amiri Baraka.
In 1989, Mr. Bourne produced and directed “Making ‘Do the Right Thing,’” a theatrical release about the Spike Lee film shot in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In his review in The New York Times, the film critic Vincent Canby wrote, “It says something about the effectiveness of Mr. Bourne’s documentary that watching a murder scene as it is being shot is almost as harrowing as watching the scene in the finished film.”
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