Documentary Film

Image of teacher Angie Scioli
At Large Productions

Teachers are a common subject in Hollywood films. Portrayals of teaching range from the unorthodox style of Robin Williams’ character in “Dead Poets Society” to the dull and droning econ teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” A new documentary film about a veteran North Carolina teacher explores how popular culture’s portrayals of the teaching profession are a far-cry from what happens in most classrooms around the country day-in and day-out.

Charlie Thompson / www.homeplaceunderfire.org

In the 1980s, rising interest rates, decreased farm prices, and misguided federal policies led to a crisis that hit farmers across the nation. Many farmers were either forced to sell their properties or driven to foreclose.

Courtesy Monica Berra/ Soul City

Like many utopian societies, Soul City was a dream that was doomed to fail. It was the brainchild of civil rights leader Floyd McKissick who wanted to build a haven of racial equality for nearly 20,000 people. Construction for the project began in the Piedmont region of North Carolina in the 1970s, but constant bureaucratic battles led to its demise.

slim, white-haired Abby Abinanti stands looking serious on a misty hill
Courtesy of Anne Makepeace

In Native American communities, poverty, drugs and the school-to-prison pipeline mean few second chances for those who commit crimes.

Two tribal judges in California are taking a different approach: Abby Abinanti and Claudette White are using restorative justice techniques to rehabilitate offenders and keep families together.
 

Courtesy of Dawn Sinclair Shapiro

For more than 70 years, programs around the United States forcibly sterilized tens of thousands of American citizens.

Courtesy of Malinda Maynor Lowery

Malinda Maynor Lowery is a Lumbee Indian whose family goes back more than 10 generations in Robeson County. Lowery was born in Lumberton, N.C. but raised in Durham, where from an early age, she often fielded the question, “what are you?” Although she grew up in a family with a strong sense of Native identity, this question stayed with her much of her life, and eventually became the subject of much of her academic and documentary work.

Image from The Andy Griffith Show
Wikimedia

Many know Mayberry as the idyllic town that was home to the fictional Andy Griffith show.

A new film highlights the characters of the true Mayberry: Mount Airy, North Carolina. Filmmaker Bill Hayes, a Mount Airy native, captured the characters and places that make Mount Airy a representation of “Hometown USA.” 

Despite economic struggles caused by the decline of textile manufacturing, The Real Mayberry continues to thrive and retain its unique character.

Image of Dyanna Taylor and Dorothea Lange
Paul Taylor

Dorothea Lange is best known for her portraiture photography documenting America’s Great Depression. Her image “Migrant Mother” depicts a destitute woman with three children in California. It is one of the most recognized photographic portrayals of that era. When Lange passed away in 1965, her granddaughter, Dyanna Taylor, inherited one of her cameras and began to follow in her footsteps.

 

Photo of Prince from "Purple Rain"
Sound Opinions / Flickr

Music can transport people to a particular time and place in a way that not many other things can. And for that reason, it has become an essential element of film.

Sometimes music is used as a tool to underscore a particular emotion or theme, and in other instances it is so distinct and memorable that it becomes a character of its own.

Still from "Deep Run"
Courtesy of producer Chris Talbott

There are tens of thousands of transgender individuals living in North Carolina.

House Bill 2 sparked a national conversation about one particular aspect of their lives, but the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival aims to paint a broader picture.

One of the documentaries featured this year "Deep Run," is a verite portrait of a trans man named Cole Ray Davis living in Deep Run, N.C., a rural town outside of Kinston.

Film Still: A girl awaits her train on a Tokyo subway platform. Tokyo is home to the world’s busiest metro system, with approximately 8.7 million daily riders.
Patrick Shen and Brandon Vedder

For some, silence is defined as the absence of sound. But a new documentary film, "In Pursuit of Silence," explores the many facets of silence. From religious meditation to the natural world, silence is an integral part of existence. And the noise of modern life may be damaging in physical, mental and emotional ways.

REEL SOUTH

The American South has a long history of compelling, lyrical, and diverse storytelling. But many of the nationally-known portrayals of the region—like “Duck Dynasty,” “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” or “Swamp People”—still rely heavily on stereotypes.

Romantic fiction writers gather at a conference
Blueberry Hill Productions

The romance novel genre is usually portrayed as trivial and predictable. But the readers and writers of the billion dollar industry see it differently—for them it’s a community filled with empowering stories and complex heroines.

The documentary "Love Between the Covers" explores the world of literary romance through stories written by, for, and about women.

A compilation of magazine covers from all over the world showing Tab Hunter at the peak of his celebrity.
Photo courtesy of Chuck Adams

Tab Hunter was a Hollywood golden boy whose looks propelled him into quick fame. He starred in more than 40 major motion pictures including “Battle Cry” and “Damn Yankees.” 

Marco Williams is a filmmaker and film educator. Here he is filming Lloyd Knight, Marth Graham Dance company for the film Echo.
Marco Williams

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Marco Williams is a filmmaker who is not afraid of telling stories that others don't want to tell. 

He has produced more than a dozen documentaries exploring race, death, violence and the American psyche. His work has earned him an Emmy, a Peabody, and a litany of other documentary awards.

Image of Cliff Collins, owner of Cliff's Meat Market
D.L. Anderson

Cliff’s Meat Market has been a cornerstone of the food industry in the Triangle for more than four decades. Cliff Collins started the shop when he was in his 20s, and it’s now one of the last family-owned markets in the area. Many have noted that the key to Cliff’s success is his ability to evolve alongside the community he serves and create products to meet their needs.

Filming of This is My Home Now.
Siera Schubach-Mariah, Dunn Kramer, Dean MacLeod

Some of the first Montagnard immigrants, people from a mountain region of Southeast Asia, to came to North Carolina in 1986 and 1987. They were granted refugee status in recognition of their support to the U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam War. But since then, the newest immigrants have made their way to America because they were fleeing religious and political prosecution. TheMontagnard families live in two worlds: one that is still close to the traditions and ways of their homeland and the other in modern American society.

Logo for the RiverRun International Film Festival
riverrunfilm.com

The 17th annual RiverRun International Film Festival returns to Winston-Salem this month. 

Olympia Stone's film 'Curious Worlds' follows artist David Beck.
floatingstone.com

Artist David Beck carves, sculpts, paints and creates playful and imaginative creatures from dragonflies to elephants.

Much of his art is miniature, in contrast to the sculptures of many of his contemporaries. He has been praised as a “master craftsman and ingenious mechanic.”

Olympia Stone's latest film goes inside the magical world of miniature architect David Beck. 

Composer and musician Jenny Scheinman wrote the score for a film comprised of 70-year-old archival footage.
Jenny Scheinman

North Carolina photographer Herbert Lee Waters created more than 200 films of people in communities across North and South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

He called the collection Movies of Local People, and he showed the films at small theaters so the subjects could see themselves on screen. 

Now, more than six decades later, his work is being revived as part of an experimental documentary project called Kannapolis A Moving Portrait.

Photo by Barcelona-based photographer Violeta de Lama, courtesy of Wil Weldon.

More and more people around the world are choosing to get their hands dirty—digging in the dirt in their backyard or at a community garden to plant produce.

James Longley's exhibit is showing through Feb. 20 at the Power Plant Gallery in Durham.
James Longley

  Filmmaker James Longley is known for his portrayals people in politically volatile countries in the Middle East. 

His films seek to deepen an understanding of the historical and cultural dimensions of the region’s conflicts. For his low-budget, self-financed films, Longley has lived among ordinary families, gaining access to people in places rarely chronicled on film by Westerners. 

Marco Williams is a filmmaker and film educator. Here he is filming Lloyd Knight, Marth Graham Dance company for the film Echo.
Marco Williams

Marco Williams is a filmmaker who is not afraid of telling stories that others don't want to tell.