Bruce Franks Jr.

Protestor-turned-legislator Bruce Franks Jr. was the subject of “St. Louis Superman.” 

Three months after Bruce Franks Jr. walked the red carpet at the Academy Awards, the film that landed him there is set to make its world television premiere.

The MTV Documentary Films Academy Award nominated St. Louis Superman, produced by Al Jazeera Witness will be simulcast on MTV, VH1 and MTV2 Monday, May 18 at 8PM CST. 

The award-winning film directed by Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan, tells the incredible story of Franks – who found his passion for activism and later politics, on the frontlines of the Ferguson protests. St. Louis based filmmaker Christopher Renteria served as co-cinematographer along with Khan for the documentary short. 

On August 8, 2014, Franks was known within the hip-hop community as rapper and poet Oops In The Building. But when unarmed teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by a then Ferguson police officer on August 9, Franks was among the fearless protesters who captured the world’s attention with their relentless calls for justice, accountability and change. 

He was a constant presence in the simultaneous protests taking place in Ferguson in the name of Michael Brown and in South City in response to the shooting death of VonDerrit Myers Jr. less than two months later by a then St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer. He emerged as a leader with enough political capital to represent the 78th District. 

“If you had told me four years ago I would be a state representative, I would have cussed you out,” Franks admitted in the trailer for the film. 

In 25 minutes, Mundhra and Khan provide insight on Franks’ personal trauma, his resilience and his efforts to balance the often heart-wrenching work of fighting for black lives with a political career while staying present for his family. 

“This is my time to stand up,” Franks said in the film. 

The debut of “St. Louis Superman” at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival earned a Special Jury Mention. The film enjoyed an acclaimed festival run for 2019. It won the jury prize for Best Documentary Short at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Short at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the Audience Award for Best Short at AFI Docs.

And in January of this year, it was announced that “St. Louis Superman” was nominated for a “Best Documentary Short Subject” Academy Award. 

The film will air on the MTV Networks almost one year to the day of when Franks announced that he was resigning as state representative to focus on his mental health. 

“I remember where I was at a year ago, and I remember in my head it was better off for me not to be on this Earth,” Franks told St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum after the film was named as an Academy Award nominee in January. “And a year later, we are nominated for an Oscar. I’m healthy. I’m doing well. Life is good.”

Franks also said he hoped that the nomination would serve as an inspiration.

“We tell young people all the time that come from my community that it’s a big world and you can do it – but we don’t actually show them,” Franks continued. “And I think this is a way of showing them that there is hope.”

“St. Louis Superman” will air on MTV, VH1 and MTV2 Monday, May 18 at 8 p.m. CST. Check local listings for channel.

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