Friday, December 21, 2007
I must say I've put off exploring the news that This American Life - the stunningly good radio show hosted by the sublime Ira Glass - had made a television debut on Showtime. TAF is so eclectic and so original that I felt television in all its literal-ness would kill its unique voice. Not so, it seems. TAF has partnered with Killer Films - who created Boys Don't Cry, Far From Heaven and I Shot Andy Warhol. The result? A whole new being that couples the radio show's famous dramatic narrative with beautiful, cinematic images that seem to take TAF to a whole new level.
This is very good news.
Here is the website:
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Save the date for the Washington, DC premiere of Wit, Will and Walls; the Betty Kilby Fisher Story. American University's Center for Social Media (my VERY favorite film advocacy organization)is hosting the film as part of their MLK celebration. Betty and I will be there to present. Mark your calendars and come on over!!!
When: Wednesday, January 23 at 6PM
Where: Wechler Theater, 3rd Floor, Mary Graydon Center, American University Campus
Sunday, November 11, 2007
A fellow peacebuilder reminded me of this quote today.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Monday, October 22, 2007
This week on Fridays at 11, Shenandoah University's student news roundtable show - participants talk about the fallout from the Jena 6 situation in Louisiana, where for the past year tensions have escalated over racial clashes. Watch 6 minutes now on YouTube.
Another YouTube story explaining the Jena situation... very good.
And an interesting analysis by Peter Applebome in the NYTimes Our Towns column from last week about the significance of the appearance of nooses in Jena, at Columbia University and at a New York post office. Is the appearance of the noose a racial crisis? Or just a rope in the hands of fools?
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Nice article in the NYTimes today about 3 new buildings, dedicated to media, breaking new ground on interacting with the public... WGBH in Brighton, MA, the Newseum in Washington, DC and the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University. Love it.
The building’s facade is itself a media element: a digital skin that will project varying LED images every day. (The city prohibits any text display there because of broader concerns about commercialization.) On a gray morning, for example, the electronic mural could display fluffy white clouds in a deep blue sky.
The notion is to have the building consistently engaging with the public. “Hopefully people will think, ‘What is WGBH going to throw at me today?’ ” Mr. Olcott said.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
On this edition of The Point for SUTV, I interview Pulitzer Prize-nominated photojournalist Bernie Boston and his wife Peggy about being witness to the civil rights era, decades at the White House, scores of front page news stories... and their new phase of life in the Shenandoah Valley.
Watch 7 minutes now on YouTube:
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
On the 6th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC, EMU Conflict Transformation Masters Program student and Fulbright Scholar Boniface Cheembe from Zambia said he was receiving calls from overseas asking how people in this country were observing the day. He told them he couldn't speak for the rest of the country, but he felt right to be in a class called Conflict Analysis examining the root causes of the struggle between the U.S. and Al Qaeda.
Fellow CJP student Michele Edwards forwarded this thought provoking link - about a few cautious voices beginning to suggest the unthinkable... that maybe it is time to consider talking to Al Qaeda. See what you think...
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Classes for my Conflict Transformation Masters program at Eastern Mennonite University began this week and among so many interesting thoughts and ideas swirling around, one local effort described by a Virginia teacher named Michele in my Analysis class struck me as simple and important.
After tragedies like Virginia Tech and Colombine, Michele said that teachers and administrators in her school write the names of all of their students on a chart and if any teacher has a connection with a student, a red dot is placed next to the student's name.
Students who have no dots; those who are not communicative, not known, who have the potential to fall between the cracks of society, those students are sought out by teachers and administrators to connect in some way. They schedule lunch, a talk, a deliberate effort of interaction with the student in the hopes of creating a web of community which they hope will stave off a spiraling of those "no dot" students into violence.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Here is what I did with my summer vacation! Thanks to co-worker/all around cool guy producer David Norman - I was part of a Shenandoah University crew that made a 14 hour trek to Stonington, Maine (and back!) to film a gorgeous, quirky, touching performance called Quarryography. The dance is directed by renowned choreographer Alison Chase in collaboration with Mia Kanazawa.
The two bring professional dancers, university students and their beloved community together to show us what goes on at the local quarry when no one is watching...
Watch 3 minutes now on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xZccJxuaw0
Monday, August 27, 2007
In the last of a 3 part series - the Shenandoah Conservatory Choir is one of just three international groups chosen each year to sing at Notre Dame's High Mass in Paris. Students take us behind the scenes at the renowned cathedral - revealing the sights, the sounds of the event and the antics of some amusing Eucharistic ministers.
Watch 6 minutes now on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=EILYhAz9D14
Shenandoah Conservatory choir members continue their tour through France with a trip to the poignant landscapes of the Normandy Beaches. There the group gives an impromptu and deeply moving performance to some appreciative onlookers.
Watch 5 minutes now on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=jS166JxnXEc
Shenandoah Conservatory Choir takes a rollicking tour of France. In this, the first of 3 segments, the group performs in major cathedrals, channels Marie Antoinette at the Palace of Versailles, and students reflect on the challenges and the honor of working with Grammy Award-winning conductor Robert Shafer.
"Robert Shafer has been a treasure for the Washington choral community for more than 30 years."
-The Washington Post
Watch 7 minutes now on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ltHtGEZI6oo
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
October 26-27, 2007 the Gandhi-King Conference on Peacemaking in Memphis, Tennessee. The theme is Building the Beloved Community and it's presented by the National Civil Rights Museum, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, HEAL Foundation and Indian Community Fund.
I'll be speaking along with author and activist Betty Kilby Fisher and "cousin" Phoebe Kilby who works at Eastern Mennonite University about the role of television and film in building community.
The title is Seeing Ourselves, Healing Our Hearts; the Role of Filmmaking in Building Peace Within Community.
Our proposal states that television and filmmaking as a magnifying element and delivery system for storytelling and narrative is proving to be an important tool in areas of tension and crisis to build community and promote peace. This presentation is a case study of two recent documentaries about desegregation in the Shenandoah Valley created by Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia titled; Wit, Will and Walls; the Betty Kilby Fisher Story and its companion film In My Grandmother’s Footsteps. We will recount how these films have provided a platform for personal exploration and public discussion around the social trauma of the civil rights struggle in the Shenandoah Valley and have led to opportunities for healing and reconciliation within the community.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Enfranchised, A Daughter's Journey is the topic for a documentary about my mother and me for which I am currently seeking funding.
In 1970 my mom, Patricia Moore, aged 37, sold our family’s Indian Rights to the Six Nations of the Grand River Reservation in Brantford, Ontario. Her intent was to settle once and for all the question of her identity.
Patricia’s father was Mohawk and grew up on Six Nations Reservation in Brantford, Ontario. Her mother was white, a former indentured maid from Rochester, NY who married to escape a life of servitude. She, sadly, later referred to her husband’s relatives as “the dirty Indians”
Throughout Patricia’s life, she was forbidden by her mother from telling others about her native background. This secret came to define her. People asked her why she had dark skin and a prominent nose. Was she Italian? Jewish? The questions were troubling and persistent. And her anticipation of them was torture. Her mother’s racism instilled in Patricia a deep and abiding shame about who she was and what other people thought of her.
This shame led my mother to a legal loophole in how to deal with her abhorrent identity. Patricia Moore found she could sell her rights to claim herself as an Indian back to her Mohawk tribe under a Canadian law that had been in effect for more than 100 years. Canada’s Indian Act intended to mainstream Indians into white society and promoted a process where Indians became full citizens by relinquishing ties to their community including language, dances, traditions and rights to land. Until 1960 an Indian could vote in a federal election only by renouncing his or her Indian status. The United Nations ruled in 1981 that the Indian Act was a human rights violation and by 1985 Canadian Indians were no longer able to sell their rights.
But on June 22nd, 1970, in Brantford, Ontario my mother saw the provisions of the Indian Act as an opportunity to in one small way be free of a lifetime of scrutiny. When the transaction was finished, Patricia received $36 and was deemed by Canadian law “a person”. The registrar crossed out my mother’s name on the tribal books and next to it wrote the word that the Canadian Government gave to those who forfeited their Indian identity; “Enfranchised”.
The hour-long documentary titled Enfranchised, A Daughter’s Journey tells the intimate story of my mother and me; two strong-willed women wrangling with our identity and our legacy. This show documents our physical, spiritual and legal quest to regain the Mohawk rights we lost on June 22nd, 1970 and to reclaim a missing part of our family’s history.
Watch 3 minutes now on YouTube - I contact Six Nations Reservation in Brantford, Ontario to attempt to begin the process of reclaiming these rights.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Well, a cool internet TV group called Cooking Up a Story (www.cookingupastory.com)
seems to be revealing how to monetize TV production on the web. They've hooked up with internet distributor Brightcove to push their product and bring in revenue for a simple concept of an internet show about food, sustainability and the people who are dedicated to both.
Here is the pitch from CUAS site:
Syndicate our shows through Brightcove on a managed account and receive 20% of the ad revenue, when available. Cooking Up A Story Syndication Offers:
Single Title; Multiple Line-up; Single Line-up; Sign up now for your free player(s) and for those who qualify, share in the ad revenue generated from your site.
And the pitch from Brightcove:
The Brightcove online service is used by content owners, consumers, web publishers, and advertisers. With Brightcove, content owners can create, distribute and monetize Internet TV channels. At the same time, consumers use Brightcove to discover, watch, share and participate in channels. Web publishers can find content and syndicate channels to enhance their sites and generate new revenue. Finally, marketers can use Brightcove AdNet to aggregate online video audiences and reach consumers across wide range of niche channels with both advertising and branded broadband content.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Today on The Point - I interview Diane Kearns and Philip Glaize, orchardists from Frederick County, Virginia who talk about the state of their industry and the subtleties of apple tasting.
Watch it now on YouTube:
Monday, June 04, 2007
Watch 2 minutes now on YouTube:
Photo by Byron Jones
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Today NYTimes blogger and theoretical physicist Mark Buchanan links these stones to human social patterns in some lovely and reassuring ways:
Although we tend to think of ourselves as individuals making up our own minds, we’re obviously influenced by what others around us do. Social patterns routinely emerge that have little to do with the character of individual people.
Check out the link at:
Monday, May 07, 2007
And a New York Times article reacting to the story using a Tyrone photo:
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1jBDsK-9r4 – 6 minutes in length.
Brought to you by SU students Lacey Rollins firstname.lastname@example.org and Raul Hasbun email@example.com.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), formerly the Conflict Transformation Program (CTP), was founded to further the personal and professional development of individuals as peacebuilders and to strengthen the peacebuilding capacities of the institutions they serve. The program is committed to supporting conflict transformation and peacebuilding efforts at all levels of society in situation of complex, protracted, violent, or potentially violent, social conflict in the United States and abroad.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Check out Suburban Secrets on Court TV, Monday, March 26 at 10:30pm. This is a show I directed in January with Sirens Media out of Silver Spring, MD. A Dudley, Massachusetts woman was poisoned by her husband and it took her mother and a dedicated detective years to put him behind bars.
It's called Methanol Mystery.
NYTimes reporter David Pogue recommended the Sony VRD-MC3 DVD Recorder in his Circuits column a few weeks back. I just got the device and it is what he promised; a simple 4-button, high quality, low cost device that makes life so much easier.
You still have to do an output to Mini-DV tape before transferring it over - but this is a great solution until the PC world decides to cross the DVD divide.
Here is an excerpt from the Pogue column:
DIGITAL VIDEOTAPES -- If you have a more recent camcorder -- a MiniDV digital model -- things are even simpler. You connect the camcorder to the Sony's FireWire jack. The camcorder magically rewinds itself and then pours itself onto a blank DVD. Each scene on the tape is supposed to become a new title on the DVD automatically, although that feature didn't work on my unit.
The Sony can even handle video from Sony high-definition camcorders, although it doesn't burn high-def DVDs -- just wide-screen, standard ones.
All this being said, Pogue's next 2 columns dealt with the DEATH of the DVD - but in the meantime, this was $249.00 well spent.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Thanks to the dynamic-duo-brother-filmmakers Clai and Will Lashely, I was recently honored to meet and adore Hazel close-up while the Lashley's interviewed her in her adopted hometown of Washington, DC for their upcoming documentary on Bluegrass tentatively titled "Music Across the River".
Dickens is characterized by her "high lonesome" singing and her provacative pro-union, feminist songs. Her voice is considered among the most powerful and moving of all bluegrass singers.
Look for an upcoming tribute album to Hazel which includes covers by Roseanne Cash, EmmyLou Harris, Wyononna Judd and others.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
It seems, however, that the Sharptons and the Thurmonds won't be taking any lessons of transcendance from Betty Kilby Fisher and Phoebe Kilby along the lines of sitting down together at the table, as Dr. Martin Luther King dreamed.
Mr. Sharpton said he had not heard from the Thurmonds and had no immediate plans of contacting them. “This is not family,” he said firmly. “This is property.”
Amazingly, some transcendance on race issues is coming out of Richmond, Virginia - former capitol of the Confederacy. The Virginia state legislature issued an apology over the weekend for the state's past history of slavery. The Old Dominion becomes the first southern state to formally acknowledge its role through legislative channels. The measure also expressed regret for the state's treatment of Native Americans.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Jill Finsen, Artist and Non Profit Policy Staff - It was remarkable that Wit, Will and Walls brought together relatives of a former slave and slave owner—a significant meeting as told by both of these women. Wit, Will and Walls allows us to better appreciate what was a remarkably courageous and threatening experience for those who led the way. Thanks to those who participated 50 years ago and to those who continue to keep the story alive to improve relations for today and the future.
David Sheon, President PR Firm - After hearing those stories, I appreciate more how deep the emotional scars, the systematic disenfranchisement, and the cultural deprivation caused by white society's raping of black society must still hurt.
Consider that Kilby's great grandmother - if I've guessed the generations correctly - could well have been a slave attacked/raped by the slave owner. Somehow I doubt it was love behind that! So the wheels were put in motion from that point on to create a person who would not be "at home" anywhere.
Then the well documented systematic and "legal" closure of the high school, the brutal attack, and the social alienation of Kilby by her peers, educators, and courts brings the ignorance/hate/intolerance to another generation. The story of being constantly attacked by spitballs, and then being sent to detention because she had the nerve to complain about it - is such good imagery, and so painful for us all to hear.
Reconciliation is a much higher hurdle than I ever realized, but we're fortunate to be living at a time when courageous people are beginning to poke their heads out from dark closets. The heroes of our day come in all colors, ages, shapes and sizes.
Kris Larsen, TV Director, Producer -When Betty Kilby Fisher told her story of reconciliation and introduced her "cousin" Ms. Phoebe Kilby, she pointed out that "we are living Dr. Matin Luther King's dream" -- I doubt there was a dry eye in the place! Also, involving young filmmakers to tell Tanesia's story is a brilliant move - the stories, and the whole evening, unfolded beautifully. Epic!
Dr. Ann Denkler, SU Historian - The best part of the events was the venue of the church. The film, the church, and the community just fit together perfectly. I also think that your film brings out the need to know history, to reconcile racially, and, most importantly, to celebrate these two things. It's as if one shouldn't simply try to understand racism and the horrors of segregation without looking at how the African American community wants to see it dealt with. And, clearly, it should be looked at as a celebration of healing.
Bob Burke, SU Director of Corporate Relations - For me the story is not historical but a part of who I am. I remember segregation in Southern Missouri and how stupid I though it was and how disturbing it was for me that white adults in my church could support the idea including my parents. One of the reasons I gave up going to church. The only time my father and I had a physical altercation was over segregation. It was a pretty good fight, I was 16.
M. Tyson Gilpin, Attorney - I attended the screenings of “Wit Will and Walls” at two different places. First, at the home of Tracy Fitzsimmons in Reliance, VA and second, at Mt. Carmel Church in Winchester, VA. Despite the fact that the audiences were from completely different backgrounds the reactions were the same. The audiences were powerfully moved by the coming together and triumph of Betty Kilby Fisher and her granddaughter to tell the story. In addition, both the white Kilbys and the African American Kilbys were in both audiences. The spontaneous bonding within the greater Kilby “family” at both events was inspiring.
Dr. Warren Hofstra, SU Historian -What hit me the hardest about Betty’s story and your work together is how much it lives today. Betty’s story begins 50 years ago, but what you and Betty have to say about race and reconciliation for the present is very powerful. That power was very evident in Sunday’s premiere.
Patsy Moore, Secretary, My Mom - I was very impressed with the words from Dr. Deborah Lee, the public historian, as she stressed that movements survive and much is accomplished when they are faith and spirit motivated. We linked arms and concluded with "WE SHALL OVERCOME". I know this film will evolve into a full hour-long documentary. Motives are correct and God will bless.
Sheila Smith, Director of Photography -The thing that struck me most was the courageous reunion between the grandaughter of the slave owner and Betty. Only when meetings like this happen can reconciliation and healing begin. And I was touched my the anguish of Betty's father, having to sacrifice his daughter's safety and innocence to send her into the school to "earn" the education which he was deprived.
Also, I was encouraged my the documentary made by the younger generation. It seems they really understood the hardship Betty's generation had to endure so that their descendant's could have a better life and with that realization comes the responsibility of both races of today's generation to continue the work needed for our society to move towards racial equality.
Dr. James Bryant II, SU Historian - Betty Kilby Fisher's story is a testament of how faith and perserverance can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She gives us lessons for life.
Claiborne Lashley, Lighting Director - I have been in the film industry since 1983; worked on 30+ feature films. John Sayles, Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, Ivan Rittman… Whoop Goldberg, Julia Roberts, James Earl Jones, Tom Cruise…many others.
That’s Hollywood; I prefer Betty and Paulette.
Through their vision and interpretation we come face to face with an issue that is haunting yet we see that a nightmare can become a dream. To be identified with a project like Wit, Will and Walls means to give something to our culture that is poignant and educational.
Betty’s story needs to be shouted from the mountaintop.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
The lead-up to the weekend was the round of press in Winchester and Front Royal with Betty and me. The most intriguing interview was with Dan McDermott of The Valley Today radio show. It was on this show that Betty revealed that she had kept the fact that she had been raped in Warren Couny High School auditorium a secret from her mother until last Wednesday. Her mother's response after 50 years? She simply said quietly "So it's true."
Friday, February 02, 2007
Jean Seoh of Arts Engine - an advocacy group on the participatory media panel showed a heart-stopping short film about the devastating effects of racism with the film A Girl Like Me which shows an experiment where black children are asked to chose between white and black dolls. You can find that on YouTube and the Media that Matters website.