While I Breathe, I Hope


Produced in USA | 2018 | 72 min

Language: English

Sun Oct 13 at 11:00am-12:45pm

SET 12

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"While I breathe, I hope” is a paraphrase from a Latin idiom and the state motto of South Carolina. As the title of director Emily L. Harrold’s documentary about politician Bakari Sellers of South Carolina, it reflects a steadfast belief that, even when the legacies of human injustice loom large, sociopolitical justice can be achieved. While I Breathe, I Hope, co-produced by Xuan Vu, follows Sellers, an African American, in his 2014 campaign to become South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor. While on the campaign trail, Sellers confronts the racial dynamics of being a black politician in the American South.

During production in June 2015, while this film was originally envisioned to end with the conclusion of Sellers’ campaign, a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. As a self-described "child of the Civil Rights movement,” Sellers responded to the massacre and the horrific mindset behind it with gravity and eloquence. How he viewed and reacted to other racially-tinged events stems from his education and his upbringing. White supremacy, present before the United States’ founding, has been emboldened in recent years. Through the life of one politician, While I Breathe, I Hope showcases a deeply personal response to these momentous changes. – Eric Nong

Emily Harrold

Director's Biography

Emily Harrold is a documentary filmmaker from Orangeburg, South Carolina. Her films have screened at festivals such as the Tribeca Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Telluride Film Festival. She is a graduate of New York University, where she earned honors majoring in Film Production and US History.

Lynnwood Pictures


Emily Harrold, Lauren Franklin, Xuan Vu, Diane Robertson


Alexander Hufschmid, Kyle Kelley, Kelly Creedon


Xuan Vu

Lead Actor/Actress:

Bakari Sellers