Documentary films are intensely collaborative efforts, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on several teams. These have focused on the South, Virginia, Civil Rights, and the Civil War. Each one has been different, but I have written, produced, or co-produced:
|THE BELL AFFAIR||
Daniel and Mary Bell sue for their freedom and then lead one of the largest escape attempts in American history. About to be separated, they are forced to make a terrifying choice.
This feature length live action animated film from our Salt Marsh Productions team tells their story.
In November 1815 Anna leapt from the third floor window of George Miller’s F Street tavern in Washington, D.C., after she was sold to Georgia traders and separated from her family. This animated film and the accompanying website attempt to tell her complete story, dramatize the historical complexity of enslavement, and place her resistance to enslavement in its full context. Co-produced with Michael Burton and Kwakiutl Dreher, Salt Marsh Productions. Released February 2018.
“Rising Up: Virginia’s Civil Rights Movement” co-produced with Bill Reifenberger, University of Virginia, The Community Ideas Station, 2007, NETA, 2008. The film broadly covers the South, but concentrates on Virginia and follows major events with close, personal stories, including: Samuel W. Tucker’s 1939 library sit-in, Irene Morgan’s 1946 busing case before the Supreme Court, the school desegregation crisis in 1958-59, the 1960 sit-ins, the violence of Danville and Birmingham in 1963, and the resurgence of black voting and politics in 1965. Asking what made everyday people decide to take a stand in a time of transition and cultural conflict? This is the question at the heart and soul of Rising Up. In asking it and answering it, the film brings a fresh perspective to the civil rights struggle. Aired February 2008 on over 20 NETA affiliated stations.
For a short from Rising Up, go to Rising Up–on Southern Spaces
“Massive Resistance” co-produced with George Gilliam, with the Community Ideas Stations, 1999. Massive Resistance earned an Emmy Nomination and has aired numerous times in the years since. The film chronicled the history of school desegregation in Virginia, and the massive resistance campaign to prevent school desegregation in the 1950s. Bringing alive the stories of this searing experience through interviews with black and white Virginians, Massive Resistance explored the student strike of 1951 in Prince Edward County, and the lawsuit that became one of the key cases in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Includes interview with Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Oliver Hill. Aired September 15, 2000.
|THE GROUND BENEATH OUR FEET||Documentary film series The Ground Beneath Our Feet was produced by Central Virginia Educational Television, with George H. Gilliam, including episodes on “Reconfiguring Virginia,” aired October 1, 1999, “New Deal Virginia,” aired February 26, 1999, “Massive Resistance,” aired September 15, 2000, and “Virginia Fights: World War II,” aired September 1, 2001.|