Theatrically released by MGM/UA, celebrated at Cannes, Telluride, New York, Toronto and London film festivals, Say Amen, Somebody was named “One of the Ten Best Films of The Year” by People magazine, Roger Ebert and Rolling Stone. The film focuses on two of gospel music’s pioneers, “Mother” Willie Mae Ford Smith, one of gospel’s first soloists, and “Professor” Thomas A. Dorsey, hailed as the Father of Gospel Music.  In scenes leading up to a St. Louis tribute to Mother Smith and to an annual Gospel Convention in Houston, we learn firsthand about the early days of Gospel, its development, the real challenges that faced its founders –particularly the women – and the humanity of those who felt compelled to answer a calling to spread the gospel through this powerful, soul-grabbing, transcendent and utterly joyful musical form.  The Barrett Sisters, The O’Neal Twins and others deliver absolutely luminous performances in this film that can’t help but leave the viewer moved and downright uplifted.

"Say Amen, Somebody is one of the most joyful movies I’ve ever seen.  It is also one of the best musicals and one of the most interesting documentaries.  And it’s a terrific good time.”
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

"Say Amen, Somebody is a feel good, inspirational movie for all to enjoy.  Full of humanity, tenderness and grace that would make “even a tone-deaf atheist say ‘amen!’” Richard Schickel, Time Magazine

“The most exuberant and revitalizing musical in years – perhaps since Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz." Michael Sragow, Rolling Stone



In 2017 Nierenberg's classic film "No Maps on My Taps” was digitally restored and released theatrically in New York City and nationwide.

“No Maps on My Taps” was initially released theatrically in 1978 before airing on television internationally where it won an Emmy and numerous other awards. The spirit of tap in its heyday, shown in rare photos and Hollywood film clips of the 1930s, provides a backdrop for intimate portraits of three surviving “hoofers.” Sandman Sims, Chuck Green and Bunny Briggs tell the story of tap as an expression of black heritage and culture. No Maps on My Taps is an indispensable historical record of this distinctly American art form.

"The films No Maps on My Taps and About Tap, which I consider the two best ever made about the art, didn’t just record tap history; they became part of it, helping to stoke a revival."  Bryan Siebert, The New York Times

No Maps on My Taps is considered a classic.” David Denby, New York Magazine

“Through interviews, photographs, vintage movies and some of the happiest feet around, Nierenberg communicates the pleasure, satisfaction and difficulty of one of America’s indigenous art forms." Michael Blowen, The Boston Globe

“This is an exhilarating, touching, thoroughly absorbing history of tap dancing.” John J. O’Connor, New York Times

Back to top