Films: Works in Progress

2017 WORKS IN PROGRESS, CLIPS & TRAILERS

All Skate, Everybody Skate (documentary trailer)  Nicole Triche, director
Not much has changed at the local skating rink in Topsail Beach, North Carolina since the early 1960’s and proprietor Doris Jenkins, who started the business with her husband,  likes it that way.

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Nicole Triche is an assistant professor at Elon University in the School of Communications where she teaches production and documentary classes in the cinema concentration.  She is also the faculty director of elondocs and the founder of the elondocs production program.  In the summer, Triche is an instructor for the video institute at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.   Her work has been shown at various festivals including Full Frame, RiverRun, the Atlanta Film Festival, and the Sidewalk Film Festival.
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Straws (documentary excerpt)  Linda Booker, director

Straws charts the history of straws, and continues to present day issues that surround our current culture’s obsession of single use conveniences. Used once and tossed, billions of plastic straws wind up in landfills and streets finding their way to oceans.  A viral video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw in its nose has now sparked anti-straw campaigns globally. Actor/Director Tim Robbins narrates the history and story of Straws, and marine researchers, citizen activists, and business owners discuss how it’s possible to make a sea of change, one straw at a time.

 
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Linda Booker
produced and co-directed the award-winning feature documentary film BRINGING IT HOME (2013). Her experience playing in brooks and outdoors as a child instilled a love and respect for nature that now drives the mission of her company By the Brook Productions: To tell stories and spotlight issues that enlighten and entertain as well as inspire solutions and possibilities for a healthier planet. Linda completed the Certificate in Documentary Film Arts from The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in 2005. This is the second documentary project that Linda has teamed with cinematographer and Duke CDS Alum Blaire Johnson.

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2016 WORKS IN PROGRESS

Black Enuf  (Carrie Hawks)

Work in progress

This documentary work in progress takes a playful approach to heavier questions of identity, difference and self-acceptance. Mixing animation, interviews, archival photographs and a strong dose of humor, the filmmaker invites you to come along on a family’s search for belonging.

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Carrie Hawks is a filmmaker whose creative work addresses gender, sexuality and race. Prior to making films, she concentrated on visual art and design, and her work media include painting, drawing and dolls. She holds a BA in Art History and Printmaking from Barnard College and a BFA in Graphic Design from Georgia State University. Her first animated documentary, ”Delilah,” premiered at the Animation Block Party in 2012 was awarded Best Experimental Film (Reel Sisters of the Film Festival) that year.
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Lauren (Laura Doggett, director/ Lauren Garretson, writing & performance)
Selected clips

Lauren is a collaborative, imaginative portrait of a teenage girl and artist from the West Virginia mountains as she moves through the complexities of leaving home. Using the landscape as her stage, Lauren’s dreams, fears, and meditations play out through her impromptu performances, creative writing and personal reflections. Rather than letting her circumstances defeat her, she uses her surroundings to carve a vision and path to her dreams of life beyond the mountains.

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Laura Doggett
is a filmmaker and educator who believes in the transformative power of creative expression and storytelling in the lives of young people. She has spent much of the past twenty years creating opportunities for teenagers and girls to be heard in their own voices. Through video, audio, writing, theater and visual arts, Laura has worked with girls from underserved and marginalized communities in the Appalachian mountains of KY and WV; the immigrant communities and inner cities of NYC, Queens, the Bronx and DC; and Jordan’s Syrian refugee camps and urban areas, to express their experiences through various artistic approaches to storytelling. She graduated from Duke University with an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts in 2013. She was a Felsman Fellow in Jordan in 2014. Now, as a Hine Fellow, she is working with girls in the Bronx who are in the foster care system to help them express their stories through video.

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Elizabeth King film project/Body of Work (Olympia Stone)
Trailer for feature documentary

This documentary film, currently in production, features the work of sculptor and stop-action animator Elizabeth King, who embarks on each new project by posing a single question to herself: “How/Can this be physically done?” The film traces King’s creative flow, curiosity and obsessive drive to solve the inevitable series of artistic and technical problems that arise in the process of creating her disconcerting sculptures and animations. Balanced between realism and surrealism, it explores King’s interest in automatons and puppetry, and the role in her work of gesture and the body.

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Olympia Stone is an award-winning, independent producer of documentary films about art and artists. In April 2015, her documentary “Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck,” a portrait of a largely unknown artistic genius, premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC, and is being screened nationally and  internationally. Olympia’s previous film, about the artist James Grashow, “The Cardboard Bernini” (2012), charts the artist’s exhilarating quest to create an intricately detailed cardboard version of the Trevi fountain. The film was broadcast nationwide on PBS, won Best Documentary at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival 2013, and was an official selection at Sebastopol, Santa Fe, and 18 other festivals. Her first independent film, “The Collector: Allan Stone’s Life in Art” (2007) chronicles the obsessive collecting of her father, a New York art world gallerist whose habits and prescient scouting shaped his life and the lives of many in his artfully cluttered orbit.

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Turn (Ellen Shepard)
Work in progress

The documentary “Turn” seeks to bridge the gap between religion and the gay community. With this excerpt of short interview clips from the film, we hear the intimate stories of LGBTQ’s who have been turned away by their various religious communities and often their families, all in the name of God. It also tells the story of others who have turned toward a religion or community that accepts them for who they are and whom they love.

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Ellen Shepard is producer and director for E. Shepard Productions. She recently completed the feature documentary “Sitting at God’s Table,” in which she invited five leaders from different religions to “break bread” together and discuss why do we do what we do in the name of God.  Her earlier documentary ”My Parents Are Growing Old and So Am I” won First Place at the North Carolina Film Festival. She also produced/directed “TEEN RAP Watch Out for Suicide” and ”Tribute to the Coaches from Remember the Titans.”  She served as Sr. Producer/Director of Documentaries and Educational Media at UCLA; and was Assistant Professor of Film at Saint Augustine University in Raleigh, NC, where she developed their BA degree in Film.

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Landfill Dogs: The Documentary (Camden Watts)
Work in progress

This short documentary will be a portrait of photographer Shannon Johnstone, who uses her camera to help dogs from the Wake County Animal Shelter in Raleigh, NC, find permanent homes. As a tenured professor and high art photographer, Johnstone has been taking portraits of dogs at a landfill park – a haunting reminder of where the dogs may end up if they are not rescued – since 2013. The film also will provide a look inside the complex issue of animal overpopulation in the United States.
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Camden Watts is a self-taught filmmaker. Born and raised in eastern North Carolina, she is passionate about stories set in the South. Since she started making films in 2007, Watts has written, produced, funded, directed and distributed four films – including two feature-length documentaries. In 2009, she started the TriFilm Society, an organization that shares resources, connections, and opportunities to build a stronger film industry in North Carolina. Learn more and sign up for email updates at trifilmsociety.com.

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The Ties That Bind ( Diana Newton)
Work in progress

When the youngest sibling unexpectedly “gets real,” an uneasy journey of transformation ensues for a Southern family.  Family members grapple with both the news itself, and how their aging mother might respond to it. Reflecting today’s culture wars, diverse and longstanding beliefs and generational differences surface among the Newtons as they seek a new normal.  The Ties That Bind is a deeply personal study of the fragility and fortitude of family ties.

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Diana Newton
is the President of Falling Apples Consulting, a company committed to developing integrated leaders. She is the coauthor of “Leadership Blueprint: Why We Better Lead and Lead Better” (2012). Her background as a psychotherapist led her to write, direct and produce the educational documentary case study “Change Journey: Facing Terminal Illness,” which focuses on the process of managing change, based on the true story of a cancer patient and her Hospice support team.

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baartman, beyonce & me (Natalie Bullock Brown)
Work in progress

This feature-length documentary film, now in production, will examine the historical context, and social and psychological impact, of Western beauty ideals on black females. Through the stories of various black women, including the filmmaker, baartman, beyoncé, & me will challenge and complicate our most fundamental notions of what it means to be beautiful. It will also examine how who is beautiful and who is not is often an imposed designation. The film will explore parallels between, and nuances of, the way black females regard themselves, and are regarded by others, not only in America but in Brazil, Jamaica and elsewhere. A portion of the film’s journey will include exploration into how the megastar Beyoncé both subverts and engages with American and global beauty ideals, and performs within the legacy of Sarah Baartman.

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Natalie Bullock Brown is an award-winning and Emmy-nominated producer, and is an assistant professor of film and broadcast media in the Department of Media & Communications at Saint Augustine’s University. For more than a decade, Natalie served as co-host of Black Issues Forum, a public affairs program on UNC-TV.  Natalie was also an associate producer on documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ 10 part PBS series “Jazz.” She holds an MFA in Film Production from Howard University, and a BA in English from Northwestern University.

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2015 WORKS-IN-PROGRESS and TRAILERS

Wednesdays in Mississippi (Marlene McCurtis)

This feature documentary tells the little-known story of how Dorothy Height, an African American woman, and Polly Cowan, a Jewish woman developed an audacious program to send interracial teams of northern women into Mississippi during the summer of 1964.  Their plan: to quietly meet behind drawn curtains with their southern sisters.  Their hope:  that this simple act of meeting would be revolutionary.  This story can finally be told and provides a critical chapter to our Civil Rights movement and the unsung role of women who worked in it.    Learn more about Dorothy Height here, part of HER STORY at ALICE FEST 2015.   See the film’s website here.

HeightCowanHamer                 L to R:  Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Height, Polly Cowan, 1964.

In Mississippi in the summer of 1964, churches and temples were being bombed.  Civil rights workers were being jailed, beaten and killed.  It was illegal for blacks and whites to eat in the same restaurants, to stay in the same motels or to be friends.  Meeting with outsiders had dire consequences.  Yet, southern women dared to hold secret meetings with northern women.  The film takes the audience inside these tense, often confrontational meeting through the use of never released audio recordings of northern women giving detail and vivid descriptions of these clandestine gatherings.  These rare recordings give an intimate, impression of the emotions and impact of the “Wednesdays” experience.

Over 300 women met in 1964.  When other civil rights organizations left Mississippi and reporters moved on, Polly and Dorothy stayed, working with local women– fighting for quality day-care, low-income housing, and cooperative farms.  Dorothy and Polly’s friendship endured as the political landscape changed and cries for black power forced many whites out the movement.  They continued working worked side by side every day to help women until Polly’s tragic death in 1976.

Women Make Movies is the fiscal sponsor for Wednesdays in Mississippi.

Marlene McCurtis is a freelance documentary producer and director.  She has directed and produced award winning documentary series for A&E, Lifetime, PBS, The Discovery Channel, and NatGeo.  Wednesdays in Mississippi is Marlene’s first documentary feature film.  The film in progress has screened at the Athena Film Festival, the Cucalorus Film Festival, Jackson State University, the Brooks Museum in Memphis, and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.  Marlene is a Fellow in  Stanley Nelson’s Firelight Producer’s Lab.

Bi-Polar Girl Rules the World and Other Stories (Dawn Dryer)

Brimming with rich visual artistry and unforgettable voices, this animated documentary feature and transmedia community engagement campaign target the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness. Filmmaker Dawn Dreyer and her diverse company of fellow travelers report from this disorderly landscape with powerful stories of vulnerability, suffering, determination, creativity, and grace.   This work-in-progress is fiscally-sponsored by the Southern Documentary Fund.

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Dawn Dryer
Artist statement: As an mixed-media documentary artist, teacher, curator, and activist, I embrace the challenges and joys of sustained collaboration as essential to my creative practice, particularly as I engage with individuals and communities whose voices are often left out of mainstream narratives. I am drawn to cultural fault lines, the geographies where language and identity break down and expose the richness, complexity, and oftentimes beauty of what is found underneath. I try to approach my work with the same vulnerability I ask of my subjects and tend towards including pieces of my own storyas part of the process and performance. That said, I acknowledge the power inherent in my role as the artist and I continue to be amazed at the generosity of the individuals who entrust me with their stories. To learn more about BiPolar Girl Rules the World + Other Stories and join our mailing list, check out www.bipolargirldoc.com or contact me directly at dawn@crackedwindowstudios.com.

Liberty Warehouse (Carol Thomson)

Liberty Warehouse (working title) captures a working class, southern city struggling to hold onto its soul as pioneering artist studios, craft breweries, gourmet restaurants, and tech start-ups pave the way for hundreds of apartment/condo developments and chain stores to rise up around the once gritty urban core. The documentary explores the conversion of one historic tobacco warehouse in Durham, North Carolina into a mixed use development (apartments above retail) and the rapid fire change in both the skyline and the demographics resulting from this ‘progress.’  Liberty Warehouse is currently in production. It is a project of the Southern Documentary Fund.

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Carol Thomson is a multimedia developer and documentary filmmaker. Carol owns FireStream Media, a downtown Durham multimedia studio and teaches the Video Institute at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies each summer. After working 13 years as a software developer in Durham, Carol studied documentary filmmaking at QPIX in Brisbane, Australia, and at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies. Carol has directed, produced, and/or edited a dozen short documentaries. Her most notable independent project is “Bridging Rail to Trails – Stories of the American Tobacco Trail”, 2010, a CD-ROM and online multimedia documentary located at http://bridgingrailstotrails.com.

Digging Them Up (Martha Weeks Daniel)

Dr. Cheryl Johnston is one of only seventy-two Board Certified Forensic Anthropologists in the United States.  At Western Carolina University at Cullowhee, NC, Dr. Johnston is a noted professor who teaches bone identification, human remains detection, proper techniques of digging up bodies, effects of human decomposition, and many other rather unusual subjects to her students majoring in forensic anthropology.  Dr. Johnston was instrumental in the creation of the second  “Body Farm,” officially known as the Forest Ostelogy Research Station (FoReSt) and Western Carolina Human Identification Lab, both of which she serves as director.  This story is part of a trilogy about people the filmmaker calls “tenants of the earth.”

This work-in-progress is fiscally-sponsored by the Southern Documentary Fund.

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Martha Weeks Daniel grew up in Rocky Mount, NC, and taught elementary school art in public schools in various states across the country and  Puerto Rico when her husband was in the Air Force.  For the past 25 years, she has been busy with her graphic/website design firm and at age sixty she found her passion for documentary filmmaking when she completed her Certificate in Documentary Studies at Duke University.  Her first feature documentary was “Miss Nancy Minds Their Manners.”

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TRAILERS:

Sitting at God’s Table (Ellen L. Shepard)

The filmmaker reaches out to religious leaders of different faiths to get to the truth of why we do what we do in the name of God.  It’s all about coming together, breaking bread, listening to one another, one handshake at a time.

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Ellen L. Shepard is a professional documentary filmmaker who previously served as Senior Producer/Director of Documentaries and Educational Media at UCLA.  Her documentary “My Parents Are Growing Old and So Am I” won First Place at the North Carolina Film Festival.  She developed the 4-year Bachelor’s Degree Program in Film as Assistant Professor of Film at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC.

Nell Shipman: Girl from God’s Country (Karen Day)

Lost to history for nearly a century, this feature length documentary tells the inspiring story of Nell Shipman, a filmmaking pioneer who was a successful twenty-year-old silent film star and screenwriter who refused a lucrative Hollywood studio contract with Sam Goldfish (not yet Goldwyn) and moved to the remote Idaho wilderness in 1920 to make action-adventure films on her own terms. She wrote, directed and starred in 25 silent films, sharing billing with her bears, wolves and sled dogs.  She embodied the first action-adventure heroine performing her own death-defying stunts while shooting on-location films like The Girl from God’s Country and The Grubstake.

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The full length film will have its World Premiere at the Sun Valley Film Festival, March 8th in Sun Valley, Idaho and screen again, March 15th at Boise’s Egyptian Theater, an iconic showcase for this film pioneer’s unique story during Women’s History Month.  The film’s trailer will screen at ALICE FEST.

Karen Day is a journalist, photographer and filmmaker and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Reporters Without Borders. Her independently-produced reports from Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan have been aired on NBC NIGHTLY NEWS, CNN and BBC. Day is the co-producer of the award-winning Plum TV series, WOMEN WITH A CAUSE, and has directed and produced 11 documentary films. FROM THE GROUND UP was featured at the 2013 SUN VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL and her current  project, GIRL FROM GOD’S COUNTRY, has its World Premiere at SUN VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL March 2015.  She is the accidental founder of AFGHAN WOMEN JUSTICE PROJECT which provides literacy teachers and school supplies for thousands of women and children incarcerated for moral crimes in prisons throughout Afghanistan.  In January, Day fulfilled the top item on her personal bucket by presenting a TEDX TALK which you can view HERE.

Brewconomy  (Camden Watts)

Brewconomy is a feature-length documentary about North Carolina craft beer. The film focuses on craft beer’s positive impact on agriculture, community, and economics in the state.  It is set for release in 2015.  More at: Brewconomy.com.

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Camden Watts is a filmmaker based in Raleigh, N.C. She is founder of the TriFilm Society, an organization dedicated to uniting, educating, and inspiring the film community. Watts created Crowdfund Your Film: A Step-By-Step Guide to help filmmakers raise funds for their work. Brewconomy is a feature-length film that will premiere in 2015. Sign up for free monthly email updates about her work at camdenwatts.com.

4 thoughts on “Films: Works in Progress

  1. Pingback: March 8: 4th Annual Alice Fest Showcases Female Directors –

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