FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Three years after WANE 15 reintroduced a local audience to Johnny Bright and the brutal hit that changed the face of football, a new documentary will share his story nationwide.
“The Bright Path,” created by Indianapolis filmmaker Jerald Harkness, will be shown Thursday at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
Harkness told WANE 15 that when people discover his profession, they often suggest topics for his next documentary, which is how he learned of Bright’s story.
“I gotta be honest. I knew nothing about Johnny Bright,” Harkness confessed.
Harkness was impressed to learn how Bright didn’t allow “the incident” to define him and thought the third act of his documentary was the most important.
“He goes to Canada and has a storied career with the Canadian Football League. He also becomes an award winning educator, and we were really fortunate to interview one of his former students. It’s probably the most emotional part of the documentary.”
Harkness thought anyone can find inspiration in Bright’s story.
“It’s an important part of Black history, American history,” he said. “I hope the documentary just shows the full scope of the man who overcame so much and did not allow his worst days or his worst experiences to define himself, and that’s the bright path.
“That’s where the title comes from.”
Harkness expected the film to be shown in a Fort Wayne theater later this year.