Loads of talent join multicultural film team

An impressive lineup has joined the Gullah Gone filmmaking team, bringing formidable expertise to the project as we work to complete production.

Byron Hurt is executive producer. The award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer and anti-sexist activist will serve a mentoring role and consult every aspect of the one-hour documentary as it completes production.

Hurt is an Emmy-nominated TV show host and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Journalism School. His critically acclaimed documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and broadcast nationally on PBS’ Emmy-award winning series Independent Lens. He is also a consultant for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise initiative, a storytelling project for boys and young men of color.

“Byron will help us shed light on an important untold African American story,” said director/producer Denise McGill. “He understands the rich history of the Gullah land and culture as well as the need to preserve it.”

Lacy Barnes is crowdfunding manager for our upcoming campaign. Barnes was line producer for the documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, produced by Coffee Bluff Pictures and nominated for the 2017 NAACP Image Award. She also worked on the film’s incredibly successful crowdfunding campaign. She has extensive experience in event planning and marketing.

Kim-Kim Foster Tobin joins production crew, recording audio and video on location. Foster Tobin was formerly an award-winning staff photographer for The State newspaper.

Wesley Broome is assistant editor. Broome has a BFA in filmmaking from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She has directed and edited several short films.

Finally, we say goodbye to Sherard Duvall. Divergent visions for the film required him to step down from his role as producer. Duvall says, “I’ve truly relished working with project director/producer Denise McGill to tell this absolutely remarkable, timely and necessary story. I am very proud of all that we’ve accomplished in the past two years.” We wish you well, Sherard.

Gullah Gone is currently in production phase. Recent honors for the film include selection by Working Films and Cucalorus Film Festival for their Work in Progress Lab at Wilmington, N.C.; by Southern Documentary Fund for its Spring Showcase in Durham, N.C. Additionally, the team was invited to pitch with Docs in Progress at Double Exposure Investigative Documentary Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

 

 

Summer student volunteers advance production

By Kate Chatman

Team Gullah is expanding significantly this summer with our largest group of students in history. Ten students from diverse backgrounds get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Gullah Gone: Preserving the Land, Water and Culture of the Sea Islands. Some students are volunteering to enhance their interest in media careers, while others want a chance to learn about Gullah culture. Ranging from sophomores to graduate students, the group has been trained to log and transcribe video footage at the University of South Carolina. They help sort through the backlog of imagery, sifting through interviews and organizing B-roll while highlighting the most pertinent quotes.

“Students are making a real contribution,” says Denise McGill, director of the film. “Plus, they add a lot of energy over the summer. It’s never dull around here.” The volunteer and work study program is speeding the process up tremendously, allowing the rest of the team to focus on story planning and editing. In addition to logging footage with Adobe Premier software, students share extra duties based on their experience and fields of study.

The volunteers include Alex Wyatt, a second-year student studying visual communications and marketing; Hannah Clingman is a third-year anthropology major; Valencia Abraham is a fourth-year student studying visual communications; Teleshia Toney is a fourth-year student majoring in media arts.

Anthropology major Kate Chatman works as production secretary, keeping the office organized this summer. John “Spud” McCullough, a doctoral student studying sociolinguistics, researches Gullah images in online library archives. Tiffany Jones, a doctoral student in anthropology, is a researcher. She also logs interviews with the most difficult Gullah dialects.

In addition, three student volunteers aren’t even from the University of South Carolina. Ashli White, a second-year student at Queens University of Charlotte studying business administration, is volunteering while at home in Columbia for the summer. Phoebe Johnson is a third-year mass communications major at Benedict College.

Maura Estes, a senior at Bandy’s High School in Catawba, N.C., even came for a few days to help work behind the scenes. She and the director met when they both screened short films at Myrtle Beach International Film Festival in April.

In addition to providing hands-on training, Team Gullah leaders host weekly workshops. These meetings allow volunteers to get to know one another better, and receive further training. Topics have ranged from interview techniques to a discussion of movies by filmmaker Pare Lorentz. “I feel like it provides good anthropological experience and exposure,” says Clingman, who volunteers about 20 hours per week. “You learn so many new things about Gullah culture.”

Volunteers realized their significance to the project when the footage they had logged was used in a trailer for the film. As of August 3rd, the trailer has received over 15,000 views. Several volunteers plan to stay on through the fall, and the team is looking forward to a productive rest of the year. For opportunities with The Gullah Project contact Production Manager Alex Cone at conealexb@gmail.com.