At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, in one of the most controversial moments in American sports history, gold medal winner Tommie Smith raised his black-gloved fist in the air in quiet defiance as "The Star-Spangled Banner" roared through the stadium and into millions of television sets across America. With Drawn Arms journeys deep into the catastrophic toll that it took on Tommie's life by uncovering the public vilification, death threats and professional boycott he endured following his Olympic career. With intimate access to Tommie himself and important figures in the activist movement, including the late great John Lewis, this seminal piece of athletic, political and racial documentary showcases a reconciliation of the Black athlete's place in the national conversation and serves as a timely inspiration for contemporary athletes taking a knee today.
STARZ Documentary and Official Selection for Hot Docs Film Festival 2020 and Tribeca Film Festival 2020
“The documentary’s title is a play on words and ideas. With Drawn Arms alludes to the arms Smith and Carlos raised on the Olympic podium, to the current police gun violence against Black people and to Kaino’s exceptional art installation. That extraordinary piece recreates Smith’s raised arm sculpturally, reproducing it many times over and laying the pieces side by side to create a giant undulating bridge. ” – POV Magazine
About the filmmaker
Glenn Kaino was born in 1972 in Los Angeles. Kaino’s works, often functioning as poetic contradictions, aim to reconcile conflicting ideologies, opposing systems, and strict dichotomies in material and experiential ways. Kaino is also an Emmy and Webby Award-winning producer and documentarian, whose films have been featured at the Tribeca Film Festival and SXSW.