2014 marked the eleventh year of the CDS Documentary Video Institute, offered each summer through the Continuing Education program at the Center for Documentary Studies. It drew twenty-eight students—up from the usual twenty-four, in response to strong demand—for an intense week of “boot camp”–style doc training. In one week, they went from setting up interviews to showing their work at a public screening. (Scroll down to view the videos.) Along the way, they learned all aspects of documentary filmmaking, from location scouting and interview techniques to shooting, lighting, miking, and editing. The topics were prearranged, and center around a theme; this year, as part of CDS’s renewed commitment to engaging the Durham community, the projects were all connected to the East Durham and Cleveland-Holloway neighborhoods. The students created fifteen short docs on some of the people, places, and institutions that make up the fabric of life in these historic and rapidly-changing parts of town.
Russell Barfield and Valica Boudry | The Bells
N.R. and Mabel Bell are a retired couple in their eighties who’ve seen the city undergo many changes from the vantage point of their front porch.
Jill Hendra and Loree Long | Brewing Community
Rick Tufts, head brewer and co-owner of Triangle Brewing Company, took a chance and fulfilled his longtime dream of opening a craft brewery.
Jay Summach and Alan Young | Bryson Rogers: A Perfect Frame
The accomplished yet humble pro shop manager at the Village Lanes bowling alley talks about his love of the sport and the family feel at his workplace.
Sean Graham and Ernest Smith | “Church of God United Nations”
Zimbabwe-born Reverend Johannes Gumbo ministers at Shepherd House, an East Durham church that’s heavily invested in the surrounding neighborhood, hosting a multitude of community-focused programs.
Uma Akkineni and Joy Piazza | Cleveland-Holloway: Neighborhood in Transition
Neighborhood association leader Natalie Spring comments on the stark—and accelerating—changes she’s seen in her 12 years in Cleveland-Holloway.
Beth Browne and Bradley Wilder | Cocoa Cinnamon
Installation artist David Solow designed an exquisite interior, full of historical and poetic references and surprising colors and textures, for a beloved local coffee shop.
Marc Menish and Erika Smith | deb.
A gay biracial woman feels at home in her East Durham neighborhood. She recounts an eventful childhood and describes her multifarious interests as she painstakingly renovates her 1918 house.
Victor Bynum and Kris Dyson | Driving Lessons
Two young African-American men talk about their experience of being stopped and searched by the police. Expert testimony attests to the racial disparities in this type of profiling.
Christina Verano Carter and Bill Pope | Frank & Dolly
Frank & Dolly Pokrass reflect on their 24 years running the Blooming Garden Inn, an antique-studded, garden-encircled, opulent yet homey bed & breakfast in the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood.
Christina Holder | From Within
Ernest and Camryn Smith run Neighborhood Allies, a consultancy that helps organizations working in East Durham value the voices of the people who live there.
Ed Cottingham and Michelle Keeton | El Maestro
Eduardo Perez, a family facilitator at Eastway Elementary School, works tirelessly to help immigrant families adjust to their new lives in Durham.
Kent Corley and Owen Riley Jr. | More Than a Haircut
Samuel Jenkins, proprietor of Samuel & Sons Barber Shop, holds court in his one-man shop, sharing warmth and wisdom with each haircut.
Eric Gordon | That Really Cool Car Place Over on East Pettigrew Street
A brother and sister from England continued in their father’s trade by opening Flying Circus English Cars, a unique repair shop situated near the Durham freeway.
Kailey Barfield and Mazi Lombard | Undefeated Gardener
An independent-minded young man from East Durham, Ralph McCombs is one of the most dedicated members of the Angier community garden.
Marla Frederick and Cynthia McCoy Romano | The Voice
The Durham Voice, a student-run newspaper forged in a partnership between NC Central and UNC-Chapel Hill, gives a positive voice to the residents of Northeast Central Durham.
The North Wind and the Sun, an exhibit by North Carolina native Cathy McLaurin, presents an ongoing investigation of her rural hometown of Siler City through video, photographs, and mixed media installation. McLaurin’s work examines a significant economic and demographic transition in Siler City revolving around the Townsend poultry-processing plant—while also questioning the meaning of home.
The North Wind and the Sun
June 17–August 15, 2014
Power Plant Gallery, American Tobacco Campus
320 Blackwell Street, Durham, North Carolina
Artist’s Reception: Friday, August 15, 2014, 5–8 p.m.
McLaurin writes: “Mining my personal history and that of my chicken-farming family is a method of engaging with and reacting to an industry in order to peel back its veneer, revealing networks, power, desire, and histories that combine with historical and contemporary issues of race, immigration, and agribusiness.”
For more information, go to powerplantgallery.org.
The Power Plant Gallery is an initiative of the Center for Documentary Studies and the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University.
Anytown, USA is a class offered once a year through the Center for Documentary Studies Continuing Education program, in which students produce and edit short videos related to a small town in North Carolina. Developed by longtime CDS instructor Randy Benson, previous Anytown courses focused on the towns of Pittsboro, Bladenboro, Smithfield, Star, and Scotland Neck. For this year’s class, seven students traveled to Liberty, North Carolina (population 2,668), to make videos on topics of their choice. The films were screened at the Freedom Family Church in Liberty as well as the Full Frame Theater on the American Tobacco Campus in Durham.
Now available for your viewing pleasure, all of the 2014 Anytown, USA student films:
Kyra Burton | An Awesome Find
Carol Wall shows up every morning with a smile to greet her customers at her thrift store, Awesome Finds. After a life of travel, today Carol is a major contributor to the small town of Liberty, where many people are downsizing and abandoning “bigger is better” lifestyles to simply enjoy their surroundings and the company of friends and family.
Kyra Burton started her career as a teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. After four years of teaching, she moved to Florida and began a career as a television scriptwriter. She has written a variety of segments that have appeared on regional and national television, and for several years served as production manager at United States Media Television. She currently resides in Raleigh and works as the program director for Today in America, hosted by Terry Bradshaw.
Morgan Capps | That’ll Do
A portrait of Henry Kuykendall and Louanne Coulter, sheep farmers and border collie breeders living near Liberty. They train a special line of purebred border collies whose lineage dates back to the 1960s. Their reflections on their work and their relationships with their animals reveal the contentedness that comes from a lifetime of dedication to their craft.
Morgan Capps is a recent Durham transplant from Chattanooga, Tenn. After completing the Documentary Video Institute at CDS last summer, she was inspired to uproot and enroll as a Certificate in Documentary Arts student. Morgan is currently the intern for the Continuing Education program.
Random Gott | The Curtis Theatre
A look at the town movie theater as a source of shared experience for the citizens of Liberty. Stories told by the employees, patrons, and the family that built and ran the theater illuminate its history.
Random Gott works at the School of Government at UNC–Chapel Hill, where he currently resides. He attended California College of Arts and Crafts and majored in painting. He has held staff positions at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Spoleto Festival USA, and the High Museum of Art. He is currently pursuing a Certificate in Documentary Arts at CDS.
Christine Ryan Harland | Sustaining Liberty
Steve Tate of the Goat Lady Dairy made a choice to grow his business, honoring his sister’s legacy, at a point when others might have chosen to wind it down. His ethos of sustainability drives innovation and growth, and ensures that his land, animals, and employees are well taken care of.
Christine Ryan Harland has worked in international film and television for HBO and other networks. In 2010 she moved to North Carolina with her husband and daughter; she is currently pursuing a Certificate in Documentary Arts at CDS.
Houck Medford | Not on Our Farm
A devoted couple retired from academia and found a new way to contribute to the world and connect people with each other.
Houck Medford was born into a rich world of storytelling traditions. As an award-winning photographer and documentary artist, he builds community by celebrating others and finding the extraordinary embedded in the ordinary. Houck is a CDS Certificate in Documentary Arts candidate.
David Persoff | As Though It Never Was
In 1965, there were two high schools in Liberty: Randolph High School for black students and Liberty High School for white students. When Randolph County schools were integrated, Randolph High was closed, even though it was both fully accredited and newer than Liberty. Interviews with Randolph alumni tell the story of its closing.
David Persoff is a producer and post-production supervisor in commercials and television. He moved to the Triangle from Los Angeles and is currently enrolled in the CDS certificate program. He is grateful to the alumni of Randolph High for sharing their story.
Kelly Sims | One Day at a Time
An exploration of the past and present of ninety-one-year-old Liberty resident Guy Troy. He competed in the modern pentathlon in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, and remained an active participant in the Olympics for thirty years thereafter.
Kelly Sims developed an interest in identity and cultural influences during her fine art studies at the University of Florida. She decided to study filmmaking before undertaking a journey to Finland to uncover the life of her grandmother, Irene Surraka, a couture seamstress in Helsinki. Attracted by the Center for Documentary Studies’ reputation for community involvement, she moved to Durham, fulfilled her dream to work as a lead baker, and now plans to stay. One Day at a Time is her first film.
On July 25, the Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund will present a free screening of director Chad Stevens’ coal country documentary, Overburden, as part of the Fresh Docs series, which features works-in-progress and recently completed films. Screenings are followed by a moderated conversation with the filmmaker in which the audience participates.
After a West Virginia mine disaster kills her brother, a coal miner’s daughter—a fiery, pro-coal conservative—joins forces with a tree-hugging grandmother to take on a powerful coal company. Overburden is “the first documentary to bear witness to the end of coal in America” through the story of individuals confronting the might of corporate power and emerging victorious. Decades after Barbara Kopple filmed her seminal documentary Harlan County, USA, the coal industry is in peril. The epicenter of change may come from the most unexpected place—the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains—as Betty and Lorelei unite to rebuild their fractured community. Read a recent story by Chad Stevens from Proof, the National Geographic photography blog.
Chad A. Stevens is an Emmy-winning filmmaker, editor, journalist, and professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has also received an Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award and two Webby Awards in Documentary. Most of Stevens’ work centers on environmental visual communication, with innovative projects that range in topic from hydraulic fracturing to the BP Gulf oil spill and that include Powering a Nation, an acclaimed interactive documentary series from UNC funded by the Carnegie and Knight Foundations.
Catherine Orr (co-producer and assistant editor) is a multimedia journalist specializing in documentary storytelling and the co-founder of StoryMineMedia. She was the editor-in-chief of Coal: A Love Story, an award-winning Powering a Nation project; her short film Born into Coal won the gold award in the 2012 College Photographer of the Year competition, and third place in Picture of the Year International.
Elena Rue (co-producer and assistant editor) is program director of the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship at the Center for Documentary Studies, where she also teaches multimedia classes. Rue is co-founder, with Catherine Orr, of StoryMineMedia. She was a fellow with UNC News21, which produced Powering a Nation. Rue’s short film Shared Origins has been featured in several prominent LGBT film festivals including Frameline and Outfest.
“The ambivalence of photographs, their possibilities and limitations, suggest that we should not trust images as records of our lives and histories.”—CDS Documentary Essay Prizewinner Iveta Vaivode
In her photo essay “Somewhere on a Disappearing Path,” Iveta Vaivode seeks to create a new family album, one full of images of imagined memories. The compelling, unique body of work garnered Vaivode the 2014 CDS Documentary Essay Prize, a Center for Documentary Studies competition that honors the best in documentary photography and writing in alternating years. Vaivode, a freelance photographer based in Riga, Latvia, writes, “Looking at my parents’ family albums, I would imagine their lives before me. I constructed memories I didn’t have, playing them over and over again. . . . My work addresses the idea of memory and ‘looking back’ through the creation of a narrative based on family history.”
Click here to learn more about Vaivode’s winning essay and to view a slideshow of her photographs.
For the last three years, Vaivode has been documenting the people of Pilcene, a remote village in eastern Latvia where her grandmother and mother were born, to search for stories connected to her family. The rural landscape and the people were quite different than she had expected, transforming her project from “a nostalgic photo album into a peculiarly dramatic portrait of perhaps the last inhabitants of a contemporary Latgale village.”
Vaivode receives $3,000 and will have her work featured in Document, a periodical published by the Center for Documentary Studies, as well as on CDS’s website. Shortlisted finalists included Mustafah Abdulaziz, “Water”; Justin Maxon, “Heaven’s Gain”; Dara McGrath, “Project Cleansweep”; Myriam Meloni, “Behind the Absence”; Noritaka Minami, “1972”; Chris Payne, “Textiles”; Magda Rakita, “God Made Woman, Then He Jerked”; Eirini Vourloumis, “In Waiting”; Wesley Thomas Wong, “The Ice Man Cometh.”
The next CDS Documentary Essay competition will be for writing; submissions will be accepted from November 1, 2014, to February 15, 2015. Click here for guidelines.
Put it on your calendar: Tough Love, which had its World Premiere at the 2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, returns to Durham for a free Third Friday screening as part of the Full Frame Road Show presented by PNC.
Following the stories of Hannah, in New York City, and Patrick, in Seattle, director Stephanie Wang-Breal uses vérité footage, intimate access to sessions at family treatment court, and interviews with foster parents and case workers to convey the tangle of bureaucracy and economic realities that make it so difficult for parents—however reformed and determined—to get their kids back home. View the trailer on the Tough Love website.
For more information, including other upcoming Full Frame programming, click here. Note that while Full Frame Third Friday screenings are free, all attendees must reserve a ticket via Eventbrite, available at 9 a.m. on the day of the event.
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies.
On the evening of April 25th, six Center for Documentary Studies Continuing Education students received their Certificates in the Documentary Arts at the Full Frame Theater. The presented work included four videos, one audio piece, and one dramatic reading with multimedia accompaniment. Their projects reflected many years of study at the Center, culminating in the Final Project Seminar, taught this term by longtime CDS instructor Nancy Kalow. Kudos to our graduates, and best wishes for future projects!
Three of the videos and the audio piece are now available to enjoy:
Michelle Hanes | Inscape | Multimedia video
An intimate glimpse into the studios of four artists located inside the historic Inscape Arts building, a Seattle landmark that once housed dark memories. The artists’ relationship to the physical space and the community they’ve established within it reveals how Inscape influences their work.
Photographer Michelle Hanes moved from Seattle to study filmmaking, writing, and audio at CDS and to earn her Masters of Liberal Studies at Duke. Now back home, she is continuing her documentary work with a multimedia project about a community of early-onset-memory-loss patients and a master’s thesis about photographers who give cameras to children so they can document their own lives.
Jane Marsh | Invitation to Trespass | Multimedia
A story of unconditional love and the unlikely friendship between Mr. Smylie, an older man in poor health, and Jane, a younger, energetic lady who volunteers for the American Cancer Society. The piece is woven together through Smylie’s archival photographs from post–World War II Europe while serving in the Air Force, and Jane’s photos of Smylie taken decades later. [image: Photograph by Jane Marsh]
Jane Marsh was born and raised in High Point, North Carolina, fertile ground to explore her first creative loves, still photography and film. Within the many commercial photographic studios that service the home furnishings industries in High Point, she conceived, produced, sold, and marketed editorial and advertising photography. Marsh worked as a set and interior designer before enrolling in classes at CDS in 2010 to pursue her dream of telling an authentic story about a man she did not want society to overlook or disregard.
Hanes Motsinger | The Roots of a Porcelain Rose | Audio
The story of Luziela de Jesus Gaspar-Martins, a woman Hanes Motsinger met at the University of Sussex in Falmer, England, in 2009. By age 31, “Luzi” had lived, worked, and studied in countless countries around the world, spending only nine years in her country of birth, Angola. In this audio documentary, Luzi reflects on her experiences to make sense of the people, places, sounds, smells, and tastes she calls “home.”
Hanes Motsinger grew up among the tobacco fields of Surry County in the North Carolina foothills. At age twenty-two, inspired by dreams of becoming an international development professional and expatriate, she began a journey around the world with camera and pen in hand. The experience nourished her longing to tell stories that advance cross-cultural understanding and fostered her desire to advocate for social change in the United States. In March 2012, Motsinger landed at CDS, finding inspiration in the ways teachers, friends, family members, and strangers tell stories.
Mary Samouelian | The Guardians of History | Audio and Photography
The story of seven archivists working in the Technical Services department of Duke University’s Rubenstein Library. Through photography and audio, Guardians explores why we archivists do what we do and how our work makes it possible for researchers, historians, writers, and the general public to discover and experience intimate connections between their lives and historical materials.
Mary Samouelian is the Abraham Joshua Heschel Processing Archivist at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University. She is an avid photographer and intrepid documentarian. In 2011, she enrolled at CDS to expand her knowledge of documentary art forms and to explore different media for telling stories.
Brooke Darrah Shuman | Findings | Video
The study of chimpanzees in laboratories began in the 1930s, when Robert Yerkes purchased two baby chimps that had been captured in the wild. This short video looks at the history of our closest evolutionary relatives in labs, in entertainment, and in the field, using archival footage, with special attention paid to one of the most famous primatologists, Jane Goodall. [image: "Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees," 1965, National Geographic]
Brooke Darrah Shuman moved to Durham after she took a weeklong video course at CDS and found the heat, the trains, and the barbecue too good to pass up. With some friends she met at the Center, Shuman helped start Vittles Films, a documentary collective that makes art about food systems and culture in the American South. Her video work with Vittles has appeared on the Oxford American, IndyWeek, and Southern Foodways Alliance websites, and her radio work has aired on WNYC’s Studio360 and Maine Public Radio.
Leanne Simon | Looking Around: A Memoir | Writing, presented with multimedia
A self-described “dreadful avalanche of a child,” Leanne leaves her troubled home life at the age of fourteen, setting off on what she thinks will be a grand adventure. She is in search of what she considers her missing piece—family. On her many travels through city streets and jailhouse yards, she instead finds a string of dysfunctional relationships, life on the run, and drug addiction. At twenty-six, she is hooked on heroin, married to a batterer, and pregnant. When DSS takes the baby away, she discovers the true meaning of family and reclaims her power. In her journey to recover her son, she also discovers what she had been looking for all along: quiet. [image: "Simon, circa 1995." Photograph by Artie Dixon.]
A lifelong writer and photographer, Leanne Simon was brought to documentary arts through her work in social justice. Since 2009, she has produced numerous videos and photo essays that have been used to help raise awareness of local and international issues and to spur communities to action.
One of Wiley’s one-man plays, Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till, is about the black Chicago teenager who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Biewen tagged along as Wiley performed that play in Florida, not far from where Trayvon Martin lived and died almost a half-century later. Listen to “Emmett and Trayvon” on Public Radio Exchange (PRX):
Mike Wiley was a Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies in Spring 2014, and taught the undergraduate course Acting Out Black History. The Center for Documentary Studies coordinates the program, which brings distinguished practitioners and scholars of the documentary arts to Duke University and UNC–Chapel Hill.
Founded on the spirit, values, and actions of Lewis Hine, the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program at the Center for Documentary Studies connects the talents of young documentarians with the resources and needs of organizations serving children and their communities around the world. Read more about Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows and their work on the program’s blog at lewishinefellowshipblog.org.
CDS is pleased to announce the 2014–15 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows, both of whom will be working with organizations in the New York City area:
To be a photographer is to be in the world; at the heart of Amanda Berg’s practice is a simple desire to be with people in shared moments and to collect pictures that will remind us of something felt.
Amanda graduated from Duke University with an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts in 2014. Prior to that, she received a BFA in photojournalism from Rochester Institute of Technology. While at RIT, she began documenting the culture of female undergraduate drinking. In 2011, this project, Keg Stand Queens, was awarded the Alexia Foundation student grant, which lead to multiple publications and speaking engagements.
After graduating from RIT, Amanda attended the Eddie Adams Workshop and moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she interned as a full-time photojournalist at the local newspaper. This experience fueled her passion for community journalism that challenges social expectation. While there she was awarded first and second place in “Best Video” of 2012 by the North Carolina Press Association.
During her time at Duke, Amanda explored a range of stories through many mediums, attended the Radius Book Workshop, New York Times Portfolio Review, Flaherty Film Seminar, and worked as a teaching assistant to David Gatten and Alex Harris. This culminated in a thesis film and exhibit about women’s tackle football.
Amanda is grateful to be a 2014 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellow. She says, “There is so much to learn and share about images and people. This is an ideal opportunity to become a more socially aware storyteller, get to know a vibrant new community and work in the legacy of one of the great social observer photographers.”
Sarah Stacke is a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. One of her current documentary projects takes place in Western North Carolina, where she photographs the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. Sarah is also working on Love From Manenberg, a long-form documentary project in Cape Town, South Africa, and another project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she’s developing an archival repository in collaboration with photographers in Kinshasa.
In addition to making photographs, Sarah teaches and generates projects at the Center for Documentary Studies that ask viewers to think critically about cross-cultural visual literacy. Sarah has written about photography for Lens, the New York Times photography blog, and Duke University’s Nasher Museum. She is the curator of exhibitions including Keep All You Wish: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum and AfriPost: Epistolary Journeys of African Pictures.
In 2012 she received a Master of Arts from Duke tailored to research photographic representations of sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora. Sarah also received certificates in African and African American Studies and Documentary Arts with a focus on multimedia while at Duke.
She began her career as an assistant to Burt Glinn of Magnum Photos. Clients and publications include The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time Out New York, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Miami Herald, The Boston Globe, Marie Claire, YMCA, KARIBU Kinshasa, HOPE Cape Town, SONKE Gender Justice Network, and Yéle Haiti.
About being a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellow, Sarah says, “This is an incredible opportunity to work with Exalt Youth, an organization that serves youth in the criminal justice system. As a photographer I’m interested in intersections of culture, history, and geography that have created marginalized communities. The disproportional incarceration rates within black communities have marginalized many people with devastating consequences. Exalt inspires youth at a critical crossroad to believe in their worth and transform themselves to reflect that worth and create lasting change. Documentary has the power to subvert the stereotypes surrounding incarcerated youth, inspire new ways of looking, and motivate people around the related social issues of racism and poverty. I can’t wait to get to work.”