Raising Bertie follows three young men over the course of five years as they grow into adulthood in Bertie County, a rural African-American-led community in North Carolina. Director Margaret Byrne had originally set out to make a short film about The Hive, an alternative school for at-risk students.
Shot in intimate verité style, the film follows Reginald “Junior” Askew, David “Bud” Perry, and Davonte “Dada” Harrell through disappointments, heartbreak and triumphs and how it affects African American boys.
Behind The Scenes
A single mom based in Brooklyn, Byrne brought her daughter with her while she was filming. Though Byrne self-financed the project for years, she eventually received funding from various sources including the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation and the Southern Documentary Fund. Co-produced by Kartemquin films, the award-winning Chicago filmmaking collective.
When we started making the film in 2009 we filmed four young men from The Hive [an alternative school for at-risk youth]. From those initial shoots, we decided to work with Bud and Junior. They had very different personalities and ambitions and we connected with them quickly. I saw promise in them despite their struggles. I knew I wanted to find a third character.