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One Room. Two Men. One bold conversation. 

The Baldwin Archives

short film 

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"A work of subtle power"

The Queer Review 

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Directed by Laura Seay

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In 1963, famed author James Baldwin sits with BBC journalist Peter Duval Smith as the legendary writer expresses his perception on the plight of racism in America, and the importance of compassion for your fellow human being

Georgia, USA Premiere: Out On Film: Atlanta's LGBTQ Film Festival, September 23rd, 2022

*Oscar-qualifying film festival  

Indiana, USA Premiere: Gary International Black Film Festival, October 8th, 2022

New York, USA Premiere: NewFest: The New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival  October 23rd, 2022

Chicago, USA Premiere: Black Alphabet LGBTQ Film Festival  November 5th, 2022

Official Selections: Festival Screenings 

World Premiere: The Ignite Film Festival, June 29th, 2022

*Official Ignite Film Festival Nominee: Best Actor-Tory Devon Smith as "James Baldwin" 

US Premiere: Outfest LGBTQIA+ Film Festival  July 19th, 2022

*Oscar-qualifying film festival  

Hollyshorts Film Festival, August 15th, 2022

*Oscar-qualifying film festival  

The Baldwin Archives
Behind the scenes

Director: Tory Devon Smith

DP: Derek Martin

Editor: Keith Sturtevant of Reel Lyfe Productions 


Reviews & Interviews

The 25 Best Shorts from the Hollyshorts Film Festival

"Tory Devon Smith (who also wrote the screenplay) captures the cadence and spirit of Baldwin so effortlessly that if they ever make a feature or series about him, we have the best candidate right here."

Joey Moser of AwardsDaily


"A work of subtle power, that urges us to continue to heed his words, The Baldwin Archives is dedicated to “Jimmy”, and fittingly given the crux of the writer’s argument in the interview, it feels like a tribute to Baldwin the human, as much as Baldwin the great mind. It’s also a strong showcase for this creative team, particularly Tory Devon Smith’s considerable talents."

James Kleinmann of The Queer Review


"A 1963 BBC interview with James Baldwin, and conducted by Peter Duval Smith, is recreated in this polished and energising narrative short."

Ben Nicholson of The Film Verdict


"Audiences for this film will be cinematically teleported to 1963 where and when Baldwin and Peter Duval squared off. That space on that stage in THE BALDWIN ARCHIVES is the BBC broadcast in 1963. The verisimilitude is astonishing."

Greggory Morris of The Word


"Some films hand you their themes and issues on a platter while some let you contemplate and discover them on your own, but The Baldwin Archives is a great mix of both."

Film Carnage 


Filmmaker 5 

Filmmaker 5 with Tory Devon Smith

By Kami Spangenberg 


TV Grapevine

Celebrity Spotlight: Tory Devon Smith

By Sammi Turano 



Laura Seay

Exploring the mind and life of James Baldwin is an exercise in humility. His bravery and tireless wielding of intellect against racism was unmatched. In my preparation for the shoot and rehearsal with Tory, I used the source BBC interview footage to track and plot Baldwin’s facial expressions throughout. Particularly at points of potential conflict. In this case, moments of confronting bigoted or ignorant questions from Peter Duval. I suspected this might reveal patterns in Baldwin’s communication tactics.

What revealed itself far exceeded that. What revealed itself were teaching tactics. Each time Baldwin fields a personal or bigoted question from Duval, he decides to teach rather than attack. When I realized this, I was overcome by the heroism of it.

Because it was not a shouting or violent revolution, his power. It was meticulous, incising, and astoundingly patient. Fielding ignorance and converting it to knowledge for the perpetrator is about the most selfless thing I can think of, and a deeply worthwhile story to tell.

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Jordan Gavaris 

Tory Devon Smith

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James Baldwin
Peter Duval Smith

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James Baldwin

James Baldwin (1924-1987) born and raised in Harlem, New York, became one of the most revered American writers of the 20th century. Through his work as an author, essayist, playwright, and cultural critic, Baldwin illuminated the world by unraveling complex social issues that, not only challenged the status quo, but revolutionized the voice of the Black perspective in America.


The Baldwin Archives pays homage to him and the great impression he left behind.


Production Team


Laura Seay

Story by

Tory Devon Smith

Executive Producers

Kirk A. Moore

Eric E. Richardson

Tory Devon Smith


Sharon Scott Brooking

Jesse Abbott Chin

Lamont Lamar

Briauna Draper

Laura Seay

Director of Photography

John Orphan


Alex "Splice" Jones


Temesgen Gebremeskel

Production & Costume Designer

Alex Nelson 

Makeup & Hair styling  

Julie Hassett & Kevin Haney

Dialect Coach

Andrea Odinov


Corece Smith

1st AC

Samantha Kelly


Taylor Huddleson

Production Sound Mixer

Rob Filmore

Boom Operator

Cody Roberts  

Graphic Designer 

Chris Hemingway 

BTS Director of Photography

Derek Martin

BTS Photography 

Corey Seeholzer

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