Broward Filmmakers Preview Dania Beach, Liberia Documentary For Black History Month

Feb 9, 2018

The Hollywood Historical Society hosts a lecture series almost every month. But for Black History Month, the organization is turning the event over to a young Broward filmmaker, Emmanuel George. 

His new documentary, "Dania Beach and Liberia: A Tale of Sibling Communities," has been in the works for almost a year and a half with a team that includes local filmmakers Ian Mann and Premimethieu Sterlin. George will preview a chapter from the film at this month’s lecture series. 

It’s about how similar the cultural and social scenes in Dania Beach, Hollywood and the historically black neighborhood of Liberia were in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. 

The 29-year-old George said he has an old soul and he’s always had a passion for oral histories. He believes these social movements laid the roots for how the communities are still connected today. 

“In Liberia and Dania Beach, you had the Paradise Club,  where James Brown would frequent,” George said. “B.B. King would hang out and B.B. King actually has children over here. And these are things people need to know, just to show that everything is connected.”

George said, by making the film, he and Mann and Sterlin want to show what life was like in the less-famous black history scenes in the smaller communities.

“Broward County has an untapped amount of history,” George said. “When people talk about Miami, you know, it’s Overtown, it’s Liberty City ... it’s Little Haiti, but in Broward County people usually think, ‘Oh well, Broward, you know, further north the whiter it is.' But that’s not necessarily true.”

Rich history at the local level is one of the reasons that Mann has enjoyed working on the film so much. 

"Family and community come first with our elders," he said. "I think that's something as the next generation to learn from."

Sterlin said he wants people to walk away asking themselves how many other communities like Dania Beach and Liberia are out there.

"It's super important to people who live in the city - and to people who don't - to hear from people who were raised in different times and different areas," Sterlin said. 

The trailer for the film puts an emphasis on unity between millennials and the elders of the Dania Beach and Liberia communities.  

“From the elders and the youth, to move forward we have to look back, spread love and appreciate those that have given back to their community…” the trailer says.

After the preview of part of the film, George, Mann, and Sterlin will help host a community Q&A about the future of the community, development and gentrification in Dania Beach. 

The full documentary is expected to be released sometime in summer 2018 Mann said.

The Hollywood Lecture series is this Sunday, Feb. 11 at the Stirling Road Branch Library, 3151 Stirling Rd.,  Hollywood from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This post has been updated.