Susheel Bibbs site
  • Female
  • Sacramento, CA
  • United States
  • I'm an SFF Filmmaker

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Welcome, Susheel Bibbs!

Profile Information

My current Project Title:
VOICES FOR FREEDOM -The Hyers Sisters' Legacy
I describe myself as a
I'm an SFF Filmmaker
My areas of expertise include:
About me - current project:
=The film, A brief bio, and Awards
Voices for Freedom
In a time when night riders and lynching terrorized black people and black- face minstrels ridiculed them across the land, Anna & Emma Hyers – the 1st African- American women to succeed in touring, concert opera – left opera to become Voices for Freedom. Using their nationwide appeal, the Sisters became the first to use integrated casting in music-theater and the first to create daring works that became the first American musicals. This colorful performance documentary features enactment, acclaimed live performances, and informed commentary as it chronicles the lives, times, and legacy of The Hyers Sisters; a hip-hop poet, narration, montages illumine their importance to our lives today Superstar of opera Denyce Graves hosts. See

About Susheel Bibbs
Independent filmmaker/singer/actress Susheel Bibbs has served the arts and the humanities for over 26 years. An acclaimed classical singer, national Emmy winner, and once the youngest Executive Producer in the PBS system for a major international series, Bibbs has, since 2007, secured 13 international, independent-film awards (including three for excellence in directing) and two international Telly Awards. Both of her award-winning documentaries – Meet Mary Pleasant and Voices for Freedom - The Hyers Sisters’ Legacy -- are now on PBS nationally, on DVD, and touring nationwide.
See also (VOICES FOR FREEDOM - The Hyers Sisters' Legacy)
Laurels, awards and other accomplishments:
A QUICK LOOK: Career Highlights and Key Awards
Susheel Bibbs (Cheryl Susheel Bibbs)

=Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Vocal Performance/Opera
=Apprenticeships at the Santa Fe Opera; diplomas at the Mozarteum in Austria
=26 years as a touring opera and concert singer and actress
Touring Artist (singer-actress) -- (details below)

=PhD, Mass Communications
=Certifications, State of CA, in Voice and Philosophy
=Diploma in Vedic Philosophy & Culture, Bombay, India

=Independent filmmaker - 13 awards since 2007, inc 2 Telly Awards
=Awards Independent Film
Voices for Freedom Film: 2017-18 Winner of 6 Int'l film-festival awards: Berkeley International Video & Film Festival, Houston Worldfest, Hollywood Int'l Documentary Festival, Honolulu Filmfest/Awards, Sacramento Int'l Video & Film Festival and A Telly Award.

Other films: 7 documentary film awards for MEET MARY PLEASANT.
Willis Patterson Award for film research 2016 for AN UNSUNG MUSE (black classical song)

PBS: WGBH Television/Radio
=WGBH Executive Producer/Producer - National EMMY, 2 (CPB) Best Program awards, CPB Management Training Grant, Action for Children's Television Award

WORK TITLES (1970-Present)
=touring classical singer-actress
=Independent Filmmaker
Director-Performer, M.E.P. Productions/Publications
(Author and Scriptwriter for documentary films)
=Producer/Director of Music Program Development, WGBH Radio
=Producer-Executive Producer, WGBH-TV
=former Lecturer, UC, Berkeley Interdisciplinary Studies: Technical Communications (retired)

-2018 - Telly Award & more Documentary Awards: Houston Worldfest, Hollywood Documentary Awards, Honolulu Film Fest/Awards, and Sacramento It'l Film Festivals.

-2018 - PBS KVIE Arts Showcase Profile of Susheel

-2017 - Good Day Sacramento Hyers film profile 2017

- Grand Festival Award for Voices for Freedom - The Hyers Sisters' Legacy (Festival Version)Berkeley Int'l Film & Video Festival.

- Broadcast of Voices for Freedom (short version) on PBS nationally to 2020 (yet been broadcast in DC & mid-Atlantic region)

- Marquis Who's Who - Lifetime Achievement Award

-2016 It'l African-American Artsong Alliance's screening and Willis Patterson Award for excellence in research for my film An Unsung Muse, Classical Song of Black Composers

MEET MARY PLEASANT (Mother of Civil Rights in CA) Gold Kahuna Award for Excellence in Filmmaking, Honolulu International Film Festival

In 2008-09
=Official Screening at Cannes Film Festival (Marché du Film) for Meet Mary Pleasant (Mother of Civil Rights in CA)

=Silver Telly Award* (Best short documentary): for LEGACIES OF MARY ELLEN PLEASANT (highest level award in 2008)

=Broadcasts on PBS and in Canada -- MEET MARY PLEASANT (60 min)2008-2018

=Best Director of a Documentary -- New York International Independent Film Festival in New York 08

=Best Documentary (feature documentary) -- New York International Independent Film Festival in Hollywood

==Finalist in the Hollywood Black Film Festival

In 2007
Peace-reel Medallion, Berkeley Int'l Video and Film Festival: Best Documentary Short: Meet Mary Pleasant (short version)

Best Feature Historical Documentary (feature, New York International Independent Film Festival in Hollywood: Meet Mary Pleasant, Mother of Civil Rights in CA,

Earlier Awards
=Award and Selection as California History Alive featured touring program - Meet Mary Pleasant

=California Touring Artist, California Arts Council Roster 1990-2003

=The National Park Service Network to Freedom Program (Grant performance and program roster participant) Meet Mary Pleasant and O Freedom programs on Mary Pleasant

-Selection and broadcast: documentary -- An Unsung Muse, Classical Song of Black Composers, KTOP-TV (award winner)

-The Highest Commendation for my work on Pleasant and Black classical song by the Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco

Early Broadcast Awards
-Two CPB "Best Program" Awards and an Action for Children's Television Award as Producer, WGBH

-A National Emmy Award as series Executive Producer of ZOOM, WGBH-TV, Boston
My home region is:
Capital Region

About VOICES FOR FREEDOM - The Hyers Sisters' Legacy

Please plan to come to the next screening of  Voices for Freedom – the Hyers Sisters’ Legacy, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, June 23, 2 pm. Free to the public.  

 This documentary is now on PBS nationally and the festival version has won 6 international awards. See  detail here and at

   The Hip-hop poet who appears periodically in the film to comment on this period story for our day says, "What do you bring to the table of life? Do you just wait some time?  Life passes by."  The Hyers made a way in perilous times with their talents where there had been no way.  They refused to wait and used love, laughter and talent to create works that changed minds and hearts in their mainstream audiences.  Their inspiring story is colorful and important because it reveals hidden history and sheds light upon many of the social attitudes that persist today.

   Who?  Anna and Emma Hyers were operatic prodigies, products of the 1860's civil-rights communities of Sacramento and San Francisco.  They who used their art to fight against the profiling and ridicule of their people from 1876-1894. The first African-American women to tour successfully across the Land in concert opera, they  are also credited with commissioning and popularizing the first American musicals.  

   The year 1876 ushered in a period of widespread oppression for workers and terror for African Americans, and in 1877, when federal troops were withdrawn from the South, lynching and night riding increased as black-face minstrel shows mocked black people across the Land.  The attitudes that they produced later fueled social restrictions, such as  “separate but equal.” 

   Despite the perilous times, The Hyers Sisters, as products of their  civil-rights communities, stood up for the dignity of their people -- They left concert opera and used their popularity to bring black leading players and integrated casts to American Music Theater  for the first time; they produced characters who were like real people rather than caricatures within sympathetic and entertaining musical stories. These "stories" changed minds and hearts and are now known as the first American musicals. And, they were the first black women to tour under top management.  

   The musical troupes that followed copied many of the Hyers' innovations, so US Music Theater and human rights owe them a debt of thanks.

VOICES FOR FREEDOM tells this story for the first time.

Here's an appearance on Good Day Sacramento about the film when it was first broadcast:

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Susheel Bibbs site's Blog

Voices for Freedom screens on PBS and in the Bay Area 6/23/18

Posted on June 20, 2018 at 3:26pm 0 Comments

Dear Friends. 

Here is the correct url for my films. Please use this one.  Somehow I have two sites:

A lot is happening.

=Both films --Voices for Freedom and MEET MARY PLEASANT are on PBS nationally, and in Sacramento Voices for Freedom we are screening this…


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