Tag Archives: documentary

Birth of an Ancestor (film)

I’ve been on hiatus here a while, but there truly wasn’t much interesting content to post, and I wasn’t just sure who was still reading. Alas, several folks have landed here and found my other work, so I’m back to share some updates. This is the first; more to come soon…

A few years ago, I got some great support at Claflin University to turn materials from my fieldwork into a documentary film called Birth of an Ancestor. Apart from an excellent digital video course I took from a tremendous teacher at Florida State a few years prior, the only experience I had was hours of participant observation during field research. It turns out half the battle is having great material to shoot. The other half, as every reluctant post-production editor learns, is having decent gear and good conceptual habits. Evidently I was able to cobble together some combination of these to produce this film.

I showed part of it at the conclusion of the grant period at a collaborative exhibition we did at Claflin’s Arthur Rose Museum, and later that same year, Claflin funded an opportunity to do follow-up work in the village where I shot the initial footage. Well, I finally finished the project, and 2020 pandemic lockdown gave me time to find a few festivals and a distributor for it. Word to the wise first-time filmmaker: FilmFreeway is your friend. If you make content for academic audiences, you should also know that conferences, distributors, and festivals abound, so no excuses: get your stuff out there. Check out the Birth of an Ancestor trailer here.

Over the summer, this thing made its way through a few independent film festivals, and this morning I was delighted to learn that the film earned Silver honors at an indie festival in Atlanta!

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