New film series highlights Southern films

Staff Report

COLUMBIA — South Carolina ETV and UNC-TV have partnered with the Southern Documentary Fund to create a new TV showcase for independently produced documentary films about the American South. The series will air for five weeks on ETV Thursday nights beginning Jan. 28.

Reel South is an anthology series highlighting the best non-fiction storytelling from the region. Distributed to over a dozen public television stations around the Southeast, the series will bring diverse Southern voices, topics, and points of view into millions of homes.

The six acclaimed films have recently premiered at film festivals and theaters. The films include stories about a barn dance, follow Carolina cotton to China, recount Rock Hill’s “Friendship 9”, and watch an artist transform saplings into sculptures.

The films are:

The Last Barn Dance is a story about farming, fragility and a fight to save the family business. Randy Lewis struggles to save his dairy farm in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, where dozens of family-owned dairies have disappeared.

While keeping the business afloat, Lewis also hosts one of the only true old-time barn dances left in the region, keeping the tradition alive and the community that loves it. This film by Ted Richardson and Jason Arthurs airs at 9 p.m. Jan. 28 on ETV.

Tommy! The Dreams I Keep Inside Me is a touching portrait of Tommy Onorato, a 60-year-old man with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the life-long dream of singing with a Big Band. Armed with his golden voice and his All-American optimism, Onorato embarks on a quest to have the “world on a string.” This film by Rodrigo Dorfman airs at 9 p.m. Feb. 4 on ETV.

Cotton Road follows the cotton commodity from South Carolina farms to Chinese factories, illuminating the people and processes behind a global supply chain. This film by Laura Kissel airs at 8 p.m. Feb. 11 on ETV.

Counter Histories: Rock Hill is the story of nine college men who decided in 1961 that they were ready to go to jail to fight segregation laws and inequality in Rock Hill. Their sit-in at the local whites only lunch counter changed the course of the civil rights movement by introducing a new strategy. “Counter Histories: Rock Hill” explores the untold story of the “Friendship 9,” and the human capacity to find courage, take action and inspire change. This film by FR3DER1CK airs at 9 p.m. Feb. 18 on ETV.

Can’t stop the Water is the story of Isle de Jean Charles, La., and the Native American community fighting to save its culture as its land washes away. This film by Rebecca Marshall Ferris and Jason Ferris airs at 9:30 p.m. Feb. 18 on ETV.

Bending Sticks is a celebration of the 25-year career of internationally renowned environmental artist Patrick Dougherty, who has created hundreds of monumental, site-specific sculptures out of nothing more than saplings. The film follows the artist and his collaborators during a year of stick work and reveals Dougherty’s process, personal story and inspirations. This film by Penelope Maunsell and Kenny Dalsheimer airs at 9 p.m. Feb. 25 on ETV.

Staff Report

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