Profiles of the Gullah: Brandon and Jordan Johnson

Profiles of the Gullah: Brandon and Jordan Johnson from Denise McGill on Vimeo.

Siblings Brandon, left, and Jordan Johnson have lived on St. Helena Island their whole lives. Each year they work to raise collards, sweet potatoes and sugar cane with their grandfather, Ben Johnson Jr. Then the whole family helps to sell the produce at Heritage Days Celebration in November, and they all share the profits.

Film festival screenings bring awareness to Gullah/Geechee culture

Our team created a seven-minute overview of The Gullah Project to mark our progress. We entered the overview into film festivals as a short documentary. We are excited to report that out of nine entries, The Gullah Project overview was accepted into five festivals. It screened in five cities this spring.

The screenings have raised awareness about Gullah culture for audiences all over North America. There is little knowledge of Gullah history outside of the Southeast United States. At Toronto’s Female Eye Film Festival, few people in the international community had ever heard of the Gullah. Festivals hold a Q&A after each screening so viewers can learn how the film was made. Director/Producer Denise McGill was able to attend four of the festivals.

Film festivals are valuable because they provide feedback. Just to be accepted at so many venues is a very positive sign. Met professionals in the industry who take an interest in our project, offer good advice about further contacts, possible team members, next steps and distribution. Share ideas with other filmmakers and bond. Learn from their previous mistakes and successes. Spread the word about Gullah history and St. Helena Island. Learned what elements of our film are most engaging to the audience. How the film industry works. Set realistic goals. Join network of filmmakers with similar passion and causes.

Currently working on one-hour film with the goal of airing on public television. Since getting feedback, our team has made changes to the script, and continue editing. Nearly all the filming and field work is complete. Now we are fundraising. Funds will allow us to add major talent to our team, top professionals who can polish the visuals, audio, graphics, and soundtrack for the film.

Unfortunately, the overview is not available for the public online while it is at festivals. We’ll let you know when there is a way to see it.

 

 

Introducing Jameah and Jamyah Moore

Twins Jameah and Jamyah Moore have lived on St. Helena Island their entire young lives. Their community involvement began when they started volunteering at Sara’ Reynolds Green’s Marshview Community Organic Farm at age 9. At Penn Center Heritage Days Festival in 2014, they performed in the Road of Remembrance play about the history of St. Helena Island. The Gullah Project interviewed them during a rehearsal break. At the time, the twins were in seventh grade at Lady’s Island Middle School.

 

 

The Gullah Project accepted to the 14th Annual Female Eye Film Festival

The Gullah Project has been accepted to the 14th Annual Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.

The Gullah Project will screen in an International Documentary Program block on Wednesday, June 15th. Among the films in this block are The Nike Chariot Earring directed by Karen Audette and feature film Following Kina directed by Sonia Goldenberg followed by a Filmmaker Q & A session.

Female Eye Film Festival is an international film festival dedicated to women directors uniting film enthusiast, international women directors, celebrities, and industry professionals such as film and television screenwriters and producers. Their goal is to not only support the advancement of women directors but to promote equality and empowerment for women everywhere through cinema.

To learn more about the Female Eye Film Festival please visit their official webpage at http://www.femaleeyefilmfestival.com/

To learn more about future screens of The Gullah Project please visit our Screenings page found in our main menu.

The Gullah Project nominated for Best Documentary at Cape Fear Independent Film Festival

The Gullah Project was nominated for Best Documentary at Cape Fear Independent Film Festival in March. The winner for Best Documentary went to Lee’s 88 Keys, directed by Susan Robbins. She also won the award for Best Female Director.

Despite not taking home the award, Cape Fear Independent Film Festival was a huge success for our team. The small venue provided an intimate setting to meet like-minded individuals with a wide variety of experience. Through them, we learned a lot about the art of filmmaking.

It was useful to get feedback from festival-goers about our project. Viewers confirmed that the strongest element of our film is the people of St. Helena Island. We are truly gratified that viewers responded this way. People were very generous with helpful comments. It was a great affirmation for our work.

The Gullah Project will screen at Charlotte Black Film Festival this Saturday, April 9th at 10:00am. Make sure to visit our Screenings page for other listings.

 

 

The Gullah Project screens at Cape Fear Indep. Film Festival

We are excited to screen The Gullah Project at Cape Fear Independent Film Festival tonight at 7pm in Hannah S. Block Community Arts Center. It shows alongside Unverified: The Untold Story Behind the UNC Scandal.

We also screen The Gullah Project tomorrow Saturday, March 11th at 5:30pm. This screening will also be held at the Hannah S. Block Community Arts Center and will be accompanied by Lee’s 88 Keyes, The Disappearing Church, and Witch!.

For more information about screenings and showtimes please click here.

The McKissick Museum presents Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South

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The McKissick Museum will present Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South on February 26-27 in Columbia, SC.

The conference will begin on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 3:30 at McKissick Museum located on the campus of the University of South Carolina. There is will be an artist meet and greet with Anita Singleton-Prather, a curator-led tour of Heard at Every Turn: Traditional Music in South Carolina and The African-American Spiritual Tradition in the Sea Islands.

Starting at 9am on Saturday, February 27th, Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia will hold a panel session for Vocal Godliness: Gospel in Black and White. It will be followed with a keynote address by ethnomusicologist Dr. Cynthia Schmidt, The Legacy of Song: Gullah Tradition and the TransAtlantic Dialogue and will include a film screening of The Language You Cry In.

To find out more information about this exciting presentation please visit http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/mckissickmuseum/shared-traditions-sacred-music-south.

The Gullah Project selected for two prestigious film festivals

The Gullah Project has been officially selected for two prestigious film festivals.

Cape Fear Independent Film Festival will be held in Wilmington, N.C., a destination located in the Gullah/Geechee Corridor, March 10th – 12th 2016.

Festival dates for the 6th Annual Charlotte Black Film Festival are April 6th – 10th, 2016 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

We look forward to attending both festivals and seeing the official 2016 selections.

School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Research Roundtable Series Presentation

On Tuesday, January 26th Director Denise McGill presented an update and discussed the process of making The Gullah Project at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Research Roundtable Series.

In attendance were fifty students and faculty members, all who have been following the progress of this documentary film. Also in attendance were two of The Gullah Project’s production assistances Ali O’Hara and Michael Tolbert. Both of which commented on their involvement with the film. O’Hara discussed the process of selecting the appropriate music that would resonate with Gullah/Geechee culture. Tolbert discussed obtaining a Magellan Grant, which allowed him to travel to the island to film as well as his involvement with building the multimedia site for the film.

McGill has been working on this documentary film since 2013 and has been employing students in order to give them real world and on location experience outside of the classroom.