Briscoe Center Documentary Focuses on Opera Singer Barbara Smith Conrad, Who Overcame Discrimination

Feb. 4, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — "When I Rise," a new documentary about Barbara Smith Conrad, an opera singer who overcame racial discrimination to achieve international stardom, is an official selection of the 2010 South by Southwest Film Festival.

The film, made possible by support from AT&T, will hold its world premiere as part of the internationally recognized festival in March.

"When I Rise" is the powerful story of Conrad, a gifted University of Texas music student who became a target of racial discrimination and ultimately ascended to the heights of international opera. Produced by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, "When I Rise" is an Alpheus Media Production, in association with Allentown Productions. The film was directed by Austin filmmaker Mat Hames.

"We're thrilled to have the premiere of this powerful and important film as part of the SXSW Film Festival," said Dr. Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "It has been a privilege to work with Barbara Conrad to make this project a reality. Our involvement with this film is an excellent example of what makes the Briscoe Center unique among history research centers. We not only serve as a repository for the evidence of history — we bring that history to life with unique projects like 'When I Rise.'"

"Barbara Smith Conrad's remarkable story of struggle, and eventual triumph, over racism is one that echoes the university's own commitment to diversity and inclusion," said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. "In creating this documentary, the university takes a hard look at its own history. 'When I Rise' is more than just the journey of one of our most distinguished alumni. It embodies the messages of tolerance, justice and diversity that are central to the university's mission."

"'When I Rise' tells the story of an extraordinarily talented woman whose journey to overcome bigotry and ignorance on the way to becoming a world-famous opera singer is nothing short of incredible," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. "AT&T is proud to support programs like this documentary and other multicultural outreach efforts that offer hope to others and demonstrate our belief that all individuals are valued and all voices should be heard."

To learn more about the film and see a schedule of upcoming screenings, visit www.WhenIRiseFilm.com.

For more information, contact: Erin Purdy, Center for American History, 512 495 4692.

1 Comment to "Briscoe Center Documentary Focuses on Opera Singer Barbara Smith Conrad, Who Overcame Discrimination"

1.  Catherine Moore said on Feb. 21, 2010

Hello:

I know Barbara Conrad very well and I just want to say that she is a beautiful person, inside and out, and that I believe that the real victory for her is that she brought the mysteries and joys of classifical music to East Texas in such a grand yet down-to-earth way.

Kudos to AT&T in helping her to spread the good word!