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Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America


On November 1st the 18th annual Whistler Film Festival announced this year's full program lineup. Amongst the official selections are Academy Award®-winner Brigitte Berman's Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America and Canadian filmmaker Zack Bernbaum's The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova.  View some iconic photos of Hugh Hefner below!


Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America is directed by Academy Award®-winner, Brigitte Berman, and was the only Canadian presentation at the 45th Telluride Film Festival. It was written and produced by Victor Solnicki and Brigitte Berman, and features the most cutting-edge personalities, open and frank dialogue about pressing social concerns, and the most captivating performances from Hugh Hefner’s landmark TV series, Playboy’s Penthouse and Playboy After Dark.

The new feature length documentary explores how during a period of censorship and inequality in the 50s and 60s in America, Hugh Hefner’s show, Playboy’s Penthouse, was the first TV series that featured African-American and Caucasian artists performing together on television. Hefner also invited people that were branded Communists to speak on the show. The second series, Playboy After Dark continued where the latter left off ten years later, allowing individuals to speak freely on a platform that enabled them to openly express their ideas about the Vietnam War, civil rights, freedom of speech and human rights. Some of the stars featured in the film include: Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Maher, Smokey Robinson, Pete Seeger, Linda Ronstadt and Sammy Davis Jr.

What Hefner created with these pioneering TV shows that were provocative in subject matter, it broke social and racial barriers, which remains relevant to this day. Both aired on syndicated American television and in some parts in Canada.

Hefner on Playboy’s Penthouse with Guests

Smokey Robinson

Playboy’s Penthouse show with Hefner, Tony Bennet, John Hendricks and Count Basie.

Taj Mahal

Hefner with Sammy Davis Jr. o Playboy’s Penthouse

Brigitte Berman the Director

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