NPT’s Human Spirit Award is presented each year to a Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) documentary selection and acknowledges a filmmaker’s work that best explores and captures the human spirit. The film must illuminate in a high artistic manner the important characteristics of what it means to be human: generosity, kindness, mercy, compassion, fortitude and honor. This year’s award went to Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America and was presented to Matt Ornstein, the film’s director and producer, Monday, April 18, during the 47th Nashville Film Festival at the Regal Green Hills 16 Cinema.
Accomplished musician Daryl Davis has played with legendary musicians around the world. But this film is about his hobby of meeting members of hate groups in an attempt to befriend them and change their minds. “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” he asks. The documentary includes interviews between Davis and civil rights activists, academics and with members of the KKK and neo-Nazi organizations.
Davis’ refusal to hate and his relentless pursuit of conversation and understanding where one would least expect to find it embodies the best of what it means to be human. He proves that we can talk and listen to each other and come to mutual understanding and respect without judgement. NPT is proud to honor the Accidental Courtesy filmmakers for introducing audiences to Davis and his life work.
The NPT Human Spirit Award jury consisted of Kevin Crane, vice president of programming and technology; Sheila Fischer, director of development; Justin Harvey, director of content; Jessica Turk, assistant program manager; and videographer/editor Matthew Emigh.