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Watch: “East Durham Stories,” From the 2015 Documentary Video Institute


Sherman Ragland Sr. surveys his backyard garden. Still from “God, Family, Garden” by Brenda Jamerson and Kent Truckor.

2015 marked the twelfth year of the Center for Documentary Studies‘ Documentary Video Institute, offered each summer through our Continuing Education program. In early June, students in the Documentary Video Institute returned to the East Durham, North Carolina, neighborhood for the second year of a planned three-year collaboration with this dynamic and diverse part of the city. Sixteen students from across the nation came for a week-long crash course in documentary video production: While they chose their topics from a preselected list, they handled all other aspects of the shoot, including pre-production, lighting, camerawork, audio, interview techniques, b-roll footage, and finally editing and polishing short video pieces. The resulting eight documentaries continue the work begun last summer, to paint a portrait of East Durham and the many remarkable people who make up the community.

Rahima Rahi and Bryson Rogers | Al Frega
Sculptor Al Frega turns demolition projects and found materials into original, eye-catching works, both decorative and functional, at his East Durham studio.


Brenda Jamerson and Kent Truckor | God, Family, Garden
Sherman Ragland Sr.’s impressive backyard vegetable garden is a relaxing, rewarding hobby, but it also connects him to his childhood, when the family garden was an important source of sustenance.


Amy Cleckler and Afi Scruggs | Good Times Roll
Locally-owned Wheels Fun Park has offered roller skating and other family fun since 1972.


Erin Birney and Brenda Hughes | Not Just a Job
In his East Durham funeral chapel, Bishop Franklin O. Hanes performs last rites, and also ministers to the living, counseling those in need.


Jonathan Jenkins and Katelyn LaGrega | The Reverend Dante Randolph
After a stint in prison as a young man, Dante Randolph was inspired by a sermon and discovered a new faith and purpose. Today he’s the pastor at Grace Park Church and executive director of Agape Corner School.


Tiara Lassiter and Sandra Stinnett | School of Hard Knocks
Bishop Arnold S. Harris is devoted to training young men for the boxing ring, and fleet-footed Keyon L. Jones is his star pupil.


Andrew Kragie and Julia Rogers | This Side of the Counter
Family-owned Los Primos Supermarket has been a neighborhood anchor and a labor of love for Miguel Collado since he opened it with his brother in 2002.


Bradley Bethel and Patricia Tolbert | The Woodcrafter
In a small storefront in East Durham, veteran craftsman Bryant Forehand repairs wooden furniture with a patient hand.

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