IMPACT-Dick Gregory is an intimate, real time conversation between Dick and actor/activist Jane Fonda, actor Clarke Peters and director Ernest Dickerson. Jordan Stone’s original concept was to share the quality time he spent with Dick and explore topics rarely discussed openly and see how America has been shaped and affected by history especially as Dick asks, “…why did the universe pick me to change things…”
He also quoted Robert Kennedy in the 1960s saying that in 30 years from now there could be a black president…
I first met Dick at the Friars Club in New York City for his roast in 2011. The legendary booking agent Irvin Arthur introduced me to him. He also represented the stand up comedian and political satirist, Professor Irwin Corey about whom I was making a film. I was sat in between these two legends. It turns out that in 1960 while performing at The Playboy Club in Chicago for a week Irwin was asked to work on a Sunday and it being the seventh day in a row Irwin couldn't work so Hefner hired Dick. It was the first time a black comedian performed to a white audience. The world was about to change.
Irvin suggested that Dick be in the film discussing Irwin’s contribution to the world not only comically but also in historical and political context. Dick agreed and suggested I arrive the night before the filming in Washington DC because he was performing at a club and that I should attend.
I did, of course.
The show was great and the next day we filmed Dick talking for two hours in a recording studio. Halfway through the filming I realized I had enough material to make a film about Dick, too. He covered all the topics I wanted to hear about without any prompting. Even when we cut camera he carried on for another half hour.
When someone watches and listens to Dick Gregory they feel and sense an unforgettable impact that he is able to share in his own unique style which is animated and physical.
His energy and eloquence is infectious and his presence is brilliant and what one learns from his knowledge, experience and activism should be shared.
"As a filmmaker, what really interests me is how the past can help us to make sense of the present when told accurately”.
1st London Screening
7th December 2022 at
WATCH HERE THE INTRO BY ROSARIO DAWSON
AND Q&A HOSTED BY CLARKE PETERS: