We want to let our friends in New York know that our Academy Award-winning short documentary, The Stone Carvers, will be featured in a special program at the Museum of Modern Art, co-sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Sunday, February 3 at 2:30pm. The screening is part of the annual Academy program at MoMA. Co-producer Marjorie Hunt and I will be be there, along with family and friends.
The Wagner family is spending summer 2012 on the MV Explorer, cruising to several ports in the Mediterranean. It's our second outing on Semester at Sea, the shipboard study abroad program run by ISE, the Institute for Shipboard Education. The academic program is created by the University of Virginia and our friend and neighbor Craig Barton is the Academic Dean. So it seemed like a good fit for me to teach documentary film and to bring along the Wagner family. Mary, Danny and Frankie are on for the whole trip and Casey is joining us in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The other ports we're visiting are Barcelona, Rome, Naples, Athens, Istanbul, Casablanca and Lisbon. My students, hailing from universities all over the country, have been terrific.
Recently, we produced a short video for Monticello that will be part of their exhbition at the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, opening in mid-January. The exhibit is on Thomas Jefferson and slavery, and the video focuses on Monticello's "Getting Word" project--an effort to interview the descendants of THomas Jefferson's slaves.
With the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, we're returning to work on our documentary about the Erie Canal. This is our collaboration with old friend Steve Zeitlin of City Lore in New York. We've completed the bulk of the live action filming and will begin the editing in January, 2012.
We're happy to report that we're completing work on Faith in the Hood, a one hour documentary about religion in the inner city. The bulk of the film was shot a few years ago in "Southeast," the poorest neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where we documented the work of several churches and ministires. More recently, we filmed some amazing interviews with leading scholars on the subject of black religion, including Eddie Glaude of Princeton, Wallace Best of the Harvard Divinity School and Rev. Eugene Rivers of the Ella Baker House in Boston.s The goal of the film is to draw a portrait of the people of the inner city as seen through the prism of their spirituality. We'll be finishing the film by the end of the year and plan to enter it in film festivals in 2012.
Recently, we completed a short video for the Center for the Consitution at James Madison's Montpelier. The Center sponsored a series of meetings with a visiting group of attorneys from Zimbabwe, including several scholars and consultants, to assist them in their efforts to write a new constitution for the nation of Zimbabwe. The vid is up on the web.
Kentucky—an American Story: the Land was broadcast on KET on May 24. Many thanks to Executive Director Shae Hopkins, Program Director Craig Cornwell and Producer Matt Grimm of Kentucky Educational Television for making it happen. Our partner on the project is writer/historian/film producer Daniel Blake Smith.
We also want to thank KET for entering our documentary Thoroughbred in the competition for a regional Emmy Award. The film was broadcast on PBS nationally the week before the Kentucky Derby. And we loved presenting it in April to our friends here in Charlottesville at the Paramount Theater, along with the "star" of the film, Arthur Hancock, and his wife Staci.
The other very nice news is that we have been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to complete editing on Heartland Passage, our half-hour documentary about industrial decline along the Erie Canal. This is a project we’ve been working on with longtime friend and colleague Steve Zeitlin at Citylore. The grant was to our non-profit organization, American Focus, Inc. The project is a co-production with Steve’s New York-based non-profit, City Lore. We’ll be doing some archival research and pick-up filming along the canal later this year, then completing the editing in the spring of 2012.