Tag Archives: documentary

Relish & other spices.

A couple of years ago, we took my niece to the Owensboro Museum of Science and History.  We took her on the tour of the coal mine.  I noticed the gentleman who conducted the tour, thinking of how great it will be to do some work with him.

Now, I have my chance.

Myself, Adam Pryor, Jody Hulsey and Lauren Brown Calhoun will be joined in our Relish film by Todd Reynolds.

Todd Reynolds is a mainstay in Owensboro.  He has been involved with Theatre Workshop of Owensboro, Back Alley Musicals as well as several different theater companies in Owensboro.   He has been directing the Voices of Elmwood for the last year.  He has been working several years as programming director for the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, by the end of November, he will take over as Executive Director of Theatre Workshop of Owensboro.

Todd is a very good human being.  He brings such a glorious human side to whatever project he is involved with.  He will be a joy to work with.

I also would like to take a minute or two and thank Nikole and Michael Gross of The Creme for allowing me to film my little movie at the Creme.

Looking forward from Relish, I have two short films, plus one feature in various stages of completion and I have the idea for my next documentary.

I don’t know what it is about documentaries that keeps me coming back for more, but I do.  I like telling stories from the past of all of us.  I suppose of mostly American history, but I would keep an open mind about 

But the next documentary I want to do is about the Haymarket Riot and their aftermath, America’s first Red Scare.

Artist rendering of the Haymarket Riots.

The Haymarket Riot was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on Tuesday May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour day and in reaction to the killing of several workers by the police, the previous day. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb atpolice as they acted to disperse the public meeting. The bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; scores of others were wounded.

In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy. The evidence was that one of the defendants may have built the bomb, but none of those on trial had thrown it.  Seven were sentenced to death and one to a term of 15 years in prison. The death sentences of two of the defendants were commuted by Illinois governor Richard J. Oglesby to terms of life in prison, and another committed suicide in jail rather than face the gallows.  The other four were hanged on November 11, 1887. In 1893, Illinois’ new governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned the remaining defendants and criticized the trial.

The Haymarket affair is generally considered significant as the origin of international May Day observances for workers.  The site of the incident was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1992, and a public sculpture was dedicated there in 2004. In addition, the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument at the defendants’ burial site in nearby Forest Park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

“No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair. It began with a rally on May 4, 1886, but the consequences are still being felt today. Although the rally is included in American history textbooks, very few present the event accurately or point out its significance,” according to labor studies professor William J. Adelman.

The Haymarket Memorial.

As a working class Chicagoan southsider, I have always heard that the bomb was thrown by some agent of the police.  I really don’t know, but I can tell you that one of the police in charge was this slightly shady character, so…

At any rate, this documentary is somewhere in the future.  At best, right now, I have started my pre-research into a dark episode of my hometown’s past.

Backwards Into The Future

Well, with the premieres of the Owensboro film finally behind me, my thoughts can turn toward future projects.

What’s in the future for myself and South Cicero Media? Projects with which to keep stretching myself. First of all, one on which I’m already working, a documentary called The Great Crusade.

normandy2June 6th, 1944, the Western Allied Armies invaded the Normandy coastline of France, establishing a second battle front in Europe against the Nazi armies. Next June marks the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings and I feel I should do something to commemorate the individuals who helped launch the Great Crusade.

Several years ago, I made a documentary about WWII over all. I used actual newsreel footage, from a variety of sources, photographs, and the radio broadcasts from those days. * This time, I am concentrating on a well-known campaign, the Normandy Invasion. There will be extensive narration with some dramatic readings and possibly interviews from historians and maybe a few veterans.

Beyond the Great Crusade, I believe it might be time to turn my attention to fictional films.

One I hope to do is tentatively titled Shadows Dancing. It will be based on a small item I read in a book about the Leopold and Loeb murders, about a relationship of mismatched souls which ends tragically. This film will be using the forms of a documentary but, although based on a real incident, will have a central story that is fiction. ^

Beyond those two will be a comedy called Schnickeroodle Wannabe Post-toasted Modesto. This film will be round, or perhaps square with an overhead that’s too high and a brow that’s too low.

*- sources included German propaganda films

^-I dislike that term “mockumentary.” I am neither mocking the idea of documentaries nor am I mocking my audience.

Evansville Showtime!

evansville annoucementOn August 30th & 31st, Owensboro: Portrait From Middle America will be shown at the Evansville Civic Theater Annex in the North Park Shopping Center, 1000 North Park Drive, Evansville IN 47710.

Tickets to this august event are $5.00 per person.

Join with filmmaker Keenan Powell as he talks to civic leaders and a few residents about Owensboro today and what they hope the future holds for Owensboro.

Owensboro stars in documentary

Owensboro stars in documentary
By Angela Oliver
Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer

With “Owensboro: Portrait From Middle America,” Keenan Powell has merged his love of history and filmmaking.

The documentary will premiere at 7 p.m. Friday and will show again at 7 p.m. Saturday at Theater Workshop of
Owensboro’s Trinity Center, 407 W. Fifth St. It was produced by his company, South Cicero Media.

It features black-and-white clips of early Owensboro life, present day scenes and interviews with Mayor Ron Payne,
Judge-Executive Al Mattingly, long time journalist Keith Lawrence and the Rev. Larry Birkhead, among other residents.

Powell said he was inspired to the start the documentary by the opening of Smothers Park last August.

In the film, Payne describes as “the most exciting place in the state of Kentucky, if not the region.”

“I hope that with the film, 50 years from now, people will have an idea of what Owensboro was at this time, Powell
said. It’d be hard to make a definite film right now because (the city) is constantly changing.”

Though he’s made five other documentaries, including “Before I Sleep: Remembering John Kennedy” and “Blood, Toil,
Tears & Sweat: The Saga of World War II,” Powell said his recent effort is his most involved.

“The others were mostly old clips and narration, some interviews,” he said. “This has far more interviews. The
mayor, the judge-executive, everyone was really receptive. Those two have seen the film and they’ve told me they loved
the film.”

The documentary highlights some of the bright sides of Owensboro, such as the development, but Powell didn’t shy
away from asking his interviewees about the trouble spots, such as teen pregnancy rates, substance abuse, homelessness and
recovering from the economic downturn.

Though lacking in some aspects, Powell said he’s proud of “Owensboro: Portrait From Middle America.”

“I wish it was more diverse, he said, noting that he would consider a more inclusive follow-up.

Powell, who grew up on Chicago’s South Cicero Avenue, has lived in Owensboro for 11 years. His interest in films
came during a family trip to Universal Studios in California in 1970 when the tour guides demonstrated a few production
tasks. He was also inspired by a silent film version “Phantom of the Opera” that he saw at Disney
nd. It reminded him of the silent comedies he often saw as a boy at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

His next project, due in 2014, will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The documentary will also show at 7 p.m., Aug. 30th and 31st at Evansville Civic
Theater Annex, 717 N. Fulton Ave., Evansville. Admission is $5 at all shows. For more information or to purchase the
DVD, see southciceromedia.net

OWENSBORO DVD PRE-RELEASE SALE IS ON!

ImageOWENSBORO: PORTRAIT FROM MIDDLE AMERICA PRE-RELEASE SALE!!!!

We are now accepting pre-release orders for Owensboro: Portrait From Middle America. The official release date is August 11, 2013. On that day, all pre-release orders will be shipped. From now till August 11, you can order a copy at our pre-release sale price of $7.99 each, with $3.99 S&H and possibly KY sales tax. Go to southciceromedia.com and click the button marked “Store” to order your copy today!

Owensboro is a small town in a rural area of Kentucky. Known mostly for being the hometown of Florence Henderson and Johnny Depp, Owensboro finds herself in a position where she is trying to cling to her past while pressing ahead with her future.
Keenan Powell interviewed civic leaders, and residents to hear their opinions about Owensboro, her past, present and what they hope for the future.

NTSC Region 1 DVD.

Owensboro: Portrait From Middle America

Smothers Park, Owensboro, on the Ohio River

Smothers Park, Owensboro, on the Ohio River

Not the greatest name for a film, I admit, but much better than the working title, “Stalking Project.”

My Owensboro project is finished. Next step will be artwork and getting the film to the distributor as well as making plans for exhibition and getting copies to film festivals.

This film is not quite what I envisioned at the start. How many filmmakers say that about any movie they create? This film is not quite what I envisioned, mainly because I wasn?t able to interview sufficient people for this film. This film tends to be a little on sided for my tastes. Something else to remember in the future.

This has been a nice learning project. I’m lucky it was a local subject. Made things a little easier. However, I need to work on organizing for projects. Furthermore, I can’t allow myself to be intimidated by people or locations. I took my lighting with me to interview Judge Mattingly and Mayor Payne, but I intimidated myself, let their offices make me very self-conscious and didn’t use them. The end film shows it. Let me state, for the record, Judge Mattingly and Mayor Payne are both good people who went out of their way to help me relax. I allowed myself to become intimidated. And I can’t allow that to happen anymore. The next film I’m planning on will be larger in scope, so I need to do everything right the first time.

There are technical problems with the camera work and the sound. Some were unavoidable, such as taping Governor Brashear’s speech at an outside event. Some “shaky camera syndrome,” learn to use your tripod more, quit laughing when your hand is still on the tripod. You’ll see.

I’m very glad I followed through on this project. This was the first time I conducted any interviews at all. I wish I had conducted more interviews, but I did arrange all the interviews, by approaching people in a professional manner, both by letters and by simply talking to people. Although several people declined to be interviewed, it is good that some agreed.

This won’t quite be the last you hear of this film, with any luck. But I’m already to begin the research for the next one.

Here is the link to the trailer for Owensboro: Portrait From Middle America:

https://vimeo.com/63013039