When Al Sharpton walked off the stage at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem this weekend, television cameramen and reporters packed up their things and left too. But Terrell Taylor picked up his camera and got to work.
Taylor is a 38-year-old filmmaker who is working on a documentary about Sharpton, the National Action Network and the modern civil right movement. After filming Sharpton for a project focusing on the 40th anniversary of the civil rights movement, Taylor said he approached Sharpton about doing a second project. And Sharpton, not usually one to shy away from reporters, was more than obliging.
Sharpton has granted Taylor and his six-man-crew access that includes lots of exclusive footage of Sean Bell’s family and friends.
According to Taylor, “We were with the family 48 until the verdict. So, we had an opportunity to sit down while they ate their last dinner before the verdict, while they went to church and prayed. Also at the vigils. We were actually there at the breakfast before the trial.”
Taylor thinks Sharpton makes for an excellent cinematic character. “He can call Hillary Clinton. He can call Barack Obama. He can call the governor of New York,” said Taylor. “He can call the community to come together.” (Taylor said he doesn’t have footage of Sharpton speaking in person with Clinton or Obama, but has seen him on the phone with them.)