Synopsis: AVAILABLE AUGUST 15th AND 28th | 10:00 AM – MIDNIGHT
Southern focused documentary shorts that explore the stories of two independent women driven to make a difference.
THEY SAY I’M YOUR TEACHER
Bernice Robinson, a Black beautician from South Carolina, was the first teacher in the Citizenship Education Schools that taught literacy in order to pass voter registration requirements in the South during the mid-1950s and 1960s.
She taught adults to read and write as part of Citizenship, understanding that registering to vote and engaging people in the issues that affect their lives was a key step toward changing the system. This helped to set the stage for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
LILLIAN SMITH: BREAKING THE SILENCE
Lillian Smith (1897-1966) was one of the first white southern authors to speak out against white supremacy and segregation.
A child of the South, she was seen as a traitor to the South for her stance on racial and gender equality. A friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr., she used her fame after writing a bestselling novel (“Strange Fruit”) to denounce the toxic social conditions that repressed the lives and imaginations of both blacks and whites. With her lifelong partner Paula Snelling, she educated privileged white girls at her summer camp in north Georgia and tried to open their minds to a world of compassion and creativity.
Segregation amounted to “spiritual lynching” she said.
Before the Civil Rights Movement took off in the late 1950s, she was a voice of reason to white and black southerners afraid to speak out. Here was a southern woman who remained in the South and wasn’t afraid to break the silence against the demagogues.
Why haven’t I heard of her before? That’s the question so many people ask after they hear about Lillian Smith’s life and her fearless stand against segregation and white supremacy in the South. Her words are more relevant than ever. She’s a role model for whites whose voices need to be heard as they protest overpolicing and over-incarceration and the demagogue in the White House — all rooted in a country that has never come to terms with its racist past.
Hal brings a career in freelance writing and developing written/video resources for higher education into film work that focuses on arts, social justice and the environment. The Lillian Smith documentary is his first full-length project. Previously he worked on a short documentary about Georgia weaver/entrepreneur/visionary Mary Hambidge, who founded the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, the oldest artists’ residency program in the Southeast. His next project will look at a liberal arts education program taking place in Georgia prisons, Common Good Atlanta.
Henry is a photographer, filmmaker and musician. He is also the Middle Chattahoochee Outreach Director for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. His photography has appeared publicly in several juried exhibitions and can be found in the permanent collection of the Lamar Dodd Art Center of LaGrange College. A licensed drone pilot, in 2016 he travelled to La Libertad, Guatemala, to produce documentary films for a project called “Love Crosses Borders.”
Georgia Center for the Book - United States - 2019
Award for Literary Contribution
South Georgia Film Festival - United States - 2020
The documentary is an engaging, enlightening and at times devastating portrayal of the underexamined life of a woman who lived in a once-upon-a-time that is all too present today. With the 50-minute film, the Jacobs deliver an indelible gift to those who will listen — and we must all listen — in a divided country that needs the voice of the protagonist and others like her now more than ever. - Donna Mintz, ArtsATL