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When I Rise World Premiere at SXSW Film Festival

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

Barbara Conrad at the Texas State Capitol

Barbara Conrad performs in the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol, 2009.

Related Sites:
When I Rise Official Site
SXSW Film Festival
When I Rise Project Site

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 the site: www.WhenIRiseFilm.com.

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

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