As many of you know, I have segued into filmmaking. As a still photographer, I was always interested in film, but never had the opportunity. When then Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour told the Weekly Standard that the integration of the public schools in his hometown of Yazoo City had gone smoothly because the Citizen's Council had kept out the Klan, I was intrigued. My father had also grown up in Yazoo City and written extensively about race relations and the integration of the schools in 1970. I thought revisiting the integration of the schools would make a great still photography project. However when Barbour decided not to run for president in 2012, I realized it would work better as a film. I worked on the Yazoo project for three and a half years before premiering in January 2015. I subsequently produced several more films and have actively explored a variety of subjects.
Since its release in 2015, "Yazoo Revisited" has been shown at more than a dozen film festivals across the country, including the Clarksdale Film Festival, the Oxford Film Festival, and the Sun and Sands Film Festival in Mississippi; the New Orleans Film Festival and Cinema on the Bayou in Louisiana; Indie Grits, in Columbia, South Carolina, the Orlando Film Festival, the Macon Film Festival, the Kansas International Film Festival, and the San Antonio Film Festival. It won the Most Transformative Film Award at the Crossroads Film Festival and second place for Documentary Feature at the Lake Charles Film Festival. "Yazoo Revisited" also won a Special Recognition/Awards of Merit from the IndieFEST Film Award and the Impact Docs Awards, an Award of Merit from the Accolade Global Film Competition, and a Bronze Award from the Spotlight Documentary Film Awards. To purchase a DVD of the film, complete with extras and extended interviews, please visit the Store, or visit the vendors listed below. If you would like information on licensing "Yazoo Revisited" for educational use--Public Performance Rights (PPR), a Digital Site License (DSL) or a Streaming License--or bringing me to your campus to lecture and screen the film, please contact me directly.
Yazoo Update - Due to the current pandemic I am offering a special on the DVD of Yazoo Revisited of 50% off, plus shipping! Get your copy today. Personal use and domestic orders only. The DVD includes the broadcast version of the film PLUS extended interviews with many of my subjects, including several who were not included in the final edit of the film. You can purchase your copy from the site store. The DVD is also be available at the following locations in Mississippi:
The Two Museums Museum of Mississippi History/Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
222 North Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201
The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience (The MAX)
2155 Front Street
Downtown Market Place
231 South Main Street
Yazoo City, Mississippi
Mississippi Museum of Art
380 S. Lamar Street
Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art
252 Delta Avenue
160 Courthouse Square
202 Banner Hall
4465 I-55 North
1101 Washington Street
Drawing on a Dream, follows the life of musician and painter Jerry Lee "Duff" Dorrough from Ruleville, Mississippi. Produced as part of the Barefoot Workshops in Clarksdale, Mississippi in September 2011, this piece went viral after Duff collapsed and was taken to the hospital in Jackson with serious health issues. We had 3,000 views the first week and like to think it produced enough good karma to carry Duff through the crisis. He lived another year before passing away in October 2012. We miss him every day. My thanks to my creative partner Susan Allen Liles, and workshop leaders Chander Griffin, Alison Fast, and Teddy Symes. Drawing On A Dream won third place at the 2012 Elgin (Illinois) Short Film Festival. Enjoy.
After I started doing interviews for Yazoo Revisited and had completed Drawing on a Dream, I was approached by Mississippi Public Broadcasting about producing a piece on the 50th anniversary of James Meredith's integration of the University of Mississippi in 1962. Integrating Ole Miss: James Meredith and Beyond aired on MPB in September 2012. It received a special recognition award from the Mississippi Humanities Council, as well as a Telly Award. You can stream it from the MPB site at the above link. Be sure to also check out some of the extras mini-edits and the extended interviews.
I have been working on this short film on my friend Simon Gunning for the past several years. I have known Simon since the mid-1990s and have always admired his paintings. He is a rare breed of artist who not only allows people to watch him work, but actually enjoys the company in the studio. I am still tinkering with the timeline, and have submitted a working edit to several film festivals, so far without any success. I welcome suggestions and ideas.
From a series of interviews conducted by Leslie Parr for the the Journal of American History web project.