2018 Sundance Docs in Focus: HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by IDIOM Film/RaMell Ross

HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
RaMell Ross rewrites familiar representational tropes of race, region, and class in this impressionistic portrait of two young African American men in the American South.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

How does one express the reality of individuals whose public image, lives, and humanity originate in exploitation? Photographer and filmmaker RaMell Ross employs the integrity of nonfiction filmmaking and the currency of stereotypical imagery to fill in the gaps between individual black male icons. HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING is a lyrical innovation to the form of portraiture that boldly ruptures racist aesthetic frameworks that have historically constricted the expression of African American men on film.

In the lives of protagonists Daniel and Quincy, quotidian moments and the surrounding southern landscape are given importance, drawing poetic comparisons between historical symbols and the African American banal. Images are woven together to replace narrative arc with visual movements. As Ross crafts an inspired tapestry made up of time, the human soul, history, environmental wonder, sociology, and cosmic phenomena, a new aesthetic framework emerges that offers a new way of seeing and experiencing the heat, and the hearts of people in the Black Belt region of the US as well as black people far beyond.

Some Background:
Director/Writer/Producer/Editor:

  • RaMell Ross

    Ross is an acclaimed photographer making his feature documentary debut with this project, for which he received support from the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program. He was also a Sundance New Frontier Artist in Residence at MIT Media Lab (2015) and Art of Nonfiction Fellow (2016).

Producers:

Associate Producer:

  • Sarah D’hanens
    Past Sundance docs:

    DOUBLE TAKE (2009, assistant editor)

Executive Producers:

  • Danny Glover
    Past Sundance docs:

    STRONG ISLAND
    CONCERNING VIOLENCE
    THE HOUSE I LIVE IN
    THE BLACK POWER MIX TAPE 1967-1975
    TROUBLE THE WATER

    The acclaimed actor produces under his Louverture Films banner, for which he is co-founder and CEO.

  • Susan Rockefeller
    Past Sundance docs:

    STRONG ISLAND
    CONCERNING VIOLENCE

    Rockefeller is an entrepreneur, filmmaker, and philanthropist, and a partner in Louverture Films.

  • Bertha Foundation
    Past Sundance docs:

    STRONG ISLAND

    The Bertha Foundation supports activists, filmmakers, and attorneys working for inclusive social justice and human rights issues.

  • Laura Poitras
    Past Sundance docs:

    STRONG ISLAND
    PROJECT X (short) (2017, director)
    PEACE IN THE VALLEY (short) (2016)
    SPEAKING IS DIFFICULT (short) (2016)
    THE LAW IN THESE PARTS (2012)
    THE OATH (2010, director/producer)

    The Field of Vision co-founder and Oscar winner for CITIZENFOUR is also an executive producer for fellow US Doc Competition title CRIME + PUNISHMENT.

  • Charlotte Cook
    Past Sundance docs:

    PEACE IN THE VALLEY
    SPEAKING IS DIFFICULT

    Cook, a co-founder of Field of Vision and former director of programming at Hot Docs, also produced World Cinema Doc Competition title OUR NEW PRESIDENT and executive produced CRIME + PUNISHMENT.

Co-Writer:

  • Maya Krinsky

    Krinsky is an artist whose work focuses on language, translation, and photography, and an instructor at RISD. This is her first Sundance project.

Why You Should Watch:
Ross employs and then subverts preconceptions and expectations about African American masculinity, behavior, and community, creating an impressionistic, lyrical portrait.

More Info:
Website
Sundance’s Meet the Artist

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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