A proud African-American, an award-winning & acclaimed indie documentary film director, community activist & writer, Kevin Epps hails from Hunters Point, a predominately black, historical community in San Francisco. He is a self-taught and trained documentary film director whom many credits as the base for building the foundation, if not creating; an entire genre of independent film – ‘Indie films,’ inclusive of documentaries & real-life stories primarily as well documentaries focusing on the ‘culture,’ sociology, psychology, social anthropology, the historical significance of the urban African-American inner-city neighborhoods, more colloquially referred to in English vernacular as Black Ghettos.
Kevin Epps first gained fame with Straight Outta Hunters Point. With the Black Rock, he expanded his range as a documentary historian and author by spending years unearthing every document on the Black prisoners at Alcatraz, one of America’s most visited sites. Before Epps, no one had ever asked what conditions were like for the segregated Black prisoners at the infamous Alcatraz. His
“The Black Rock: The Untold Story of the Black Experience on Alcatraz.” The Black Rock chronicles the role of African-Americans at Alcatraz, the first super-maximum-security prison, and examines the lives of a few African-American prisoners who were important figures in the history of “The Rock” from the 1930s to the 1960s. The book highlights the truth about the perseverance, sufferings, and resilience of the African-Americans who experienced Alcatraz during this time of racial prejudice and discrimination. Interviews with historians, archival footage, photographs, and re-enactments were used to present an entirely new perspective on the most feared prison of its time.
Epp’s long-time fascination with Alcatraz as a resident of Bayview Hunters Point led him to ask if there were any black prisoners there. Following the success of his critically acclaimed “Straight Out of Hunter’s Point” in 2002, Epps enlisted local historian John Templeton, and the quest to tell the stories of these oft-forgotten black prisoners was on.