During the volatile summer of 1971, Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis come together to co-chair a community summit on the desegregation of schools in Durham, NC. People working together to effect change is always a welcome sight, however, these two people couldn’t have been more opposite. Atwater was an African-American outspoken civil rights activist while Ellis was a local Ku Klux Klan leader. Against all odds, the two made great strides toward the goal of desegregation and formed a lifelong–if unlikely–friendship. On the final night of their initial summit, Ellis tore up his Klan membership card.
This journey is the subject of Diane Bloom’s award-winning documentary, An Unlikely Friendship, which has been featured at 26 film festivals, won 5 national awards and has aired on PBS. To bring the documentary added exposure, Strategic Insights worked with Diane on the layout, language and functionality of a website that would educate those unfamiliar with the riveting story and offer them a way to buy a copy of the film and share it with larger groups. Diane is also available to attend screenings and lead discussions around the film. This story has become more publicized since 2019’s The Best of Enemies, a film that gives the events the “Hollywood treatment,” and its director has credited Diane directly with inspiring him to pursue the project.