Monday, December 22, 2008

Jeremy Dean Interview: On Dare Not Walk Alone and independent film making

Just published in The Independent, which describes itself as "obsessed with independent film since 1978," a substantial interview with Jeremy Dean, producer and director of Dare Not Walk Alone.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Show Time at the Hippodrome State Theater in Gainesville

Below are the times for the Dare Not Walk Alone engagement at the Hippodrome State Theater in Gainesville next month. Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 16th
6.00pm: Reception with producer7.00pm: Screening
8.45pm: Screening


Saturday, January 17
4.30pm: Screening
7.00pm: Screening
8.45pm: Screening

Sunday, January 18
2.30pm: Screening
4.30pm: Screening
7.00pm: Screening

Wednesday, January 21
4.30pm: Screening
7.00pm: Screening
8.45pm: Screening

Thursady January 22
7.00pm: Screening
8.45pm: Screening

This is a beautiful theater folks, and big too! Please let people know about this screening so we can fill all 266 seats.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Arne Duncan, Obama's Pick for Secretary of Education, on Dare Not Walk Alone

We'd like to be among the first to congratulate Arne Duncan for being President-elect Obama's pick for Secretary of Education. It is another example of the President-elect choosing to surround himself with the brightest and best.

Mr Duncan he was an early supporter of Dare Not Walk Alone. Here's what he has to say about the film:

"An important tool for showing the bravery of those who struggled for equality during the civil rights movement. But it goes far beyond past history and exposes issues that we face everyday in the continued struggle for equality, especially when it comes to the health and education of all our children."
At the time he wrote that, Mr. Duncan was CEO of Chicago Public Schools. We wish him every success in his new role as a key player in the Obama administration.

And for the record here's what some other prominent public servants have said about Dare Not Walk Alone:
"This moving film, which I was honored to be a part of, will serve as an important reminder to audiences that even though we have made advances in the civil rights arena since the 1960s, we still have a long way to go."
That was US Congresswoman Corrine Brown. Here's Florida State Senator Tony Hill:
"The documentary was so moving that, as chairman of the Black Caucus of the State of Florida, I have filed a bill for the 2007 legislative session in the House and the Senate to have all records cleared for anyone who was arrested because of segregated laws. That is how compelling the film was to me."

We're Back! And looking for a holiday boost from Santa

The server issue was resolved this weekend and we now have plans to consolidate the blog and the official site on a new server before the end of the year (day jobs permitting).

In the meantime, please consider giving the Dare Not Walk Alone DVD for Christmas this year (or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or Hogmanay or whatever holiday moves you to gift-giving around this time of year).

Click here to buy copies at Walmart.com or order from your favorite video store such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

THANKS!
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's Up With DareNotWalkAlone.com?

A couple of days ago an issue cropped up with the official web site for Dare Not Walk Alone. We have a fix in the works and normal service should be returned over the weekend.

In the meantime there is lots of info about the movie here on the blog. And if you are looking for the trailer click here.
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Monday, December 01, 2008

From James Brock to the Meaning of President Elect Obama

Thanks to Adrienne in DC for pointing out the following commentary written shortly after Barrack Obama's victory. Posted by Hamilton Nolan, it uses the Monson pool incident as a sort of benchmark of where race relations were at in America 44 years before the historic 2008 presidential race. Nolan's observations are worth pondering:

"The more relevant question may not be "What does Obama mean for Black America?" It may be, instead, "What does Black America mean any more?" And if every non-black person goes out and has a conversation about that question with somebody who might actually know the answer, we'll all have made some good old-fashioned racial progress." Hamilton Nolan, Gawker.com
We couldn't agree more. Encouraging inter-racial dialog has always been one of the main goals of Dare Not Walk Alone and I see it happening after each screening I attend. As Nolan notes "with every year that passes, and every successive generation that's born, our country becomes less white, more diverse." It's up to each of us to decide what that means for us, hopefully after considering a diversity of input.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Google Ads, Twitter, and DVD Buzz

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving Day!
Are you surfing the net for deals today or waiting until Cyber Monday?

We just launched the first Google display ad for the Dare Not Walk Alone DVD and it would be great if you could let us know if you see it during your surfing (but please don't click it unless you really need to--each click costs us money).

You can leave a comment on this post or tweet us. We are http://twitter.com/dnwa. We're curious to know where the ad shows up. Note that the design of the ad is pretty much dictated by Google. We did the best we could with the available options (when the ad appears, the two images, the poster and the 1964 shot of Dr. King and James Brock, slide into view to provide some animation to draw attention to the ad). Without a PR company or anything of that sort we are hoping the relatively low cost of Google ads will help boost awareness of the DVD over the holiday shopping season. As usual, anything you can do to spread the word is much appreciated.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Countdown to Change

As you may have noticed, I just added the "Countdown to Change" clock on the right of the blog. It is probably the same software people are using to count down to the end of the Bush presidency.

Now that code has been recycled to count towards a day many people thought would never come: the inauguration of the first African American president of these United States. I actually made my own "end of an era" license plate back in June of 2007 and put it on my car (see the pic on the left). Back then a lot of people would ask "What's that mean?" I would simply say "That's the last day President Bush will be in office."

In itself, that's not a political statement but I found it was a great way to flush out people's opinion of our 43rd president. And as time went by the response I got was more and more like "That day can't come soon enough."

So on this Thanksgiving Day, 2008, I'm giving thanks that the clock stands at 53 days, and counting.

Stephen Cobb
Producer
Dare Not Walk Alone

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Power of Song in the African American Community: Audio

The power of song in the African American community is the focus of this second blog post containing a short audio excerpt from the soundtrack of Dare Not Walk Alone.

The clip begins with the voice of J.T. Johnson of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference talking about what it was like to march onto a "Whites Only" beach in Florida during the Summer of 1964, facing intimidation and violence from white people who didn't want black people bathing on "their" beach.

(It's quite a shock to some younger people who watch Dare Not Walk Alone that 40 years ago there was active support for segregation, in other words, a lot of white folks fought to keep black folks "in their place." So the civil rights movement wasn't just "Let's raise awareness of this injustice." Many people supported segregation because they thought things were fine just the way they were. The followers of Dr. King, black and white, faced an active opposition in the form of white people who were vocally, and sometimes violently, opposed to equality.)

Listen as J.T. calmly describes how the marchers took the blows on those beach protests, without retaliation, and then returned the next day, fortified by prayer and song, exemplifying Dr. King's strategy of non-violent protest that eventually led to the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


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Monday, November 24, 2008

Young Women Pick Race Issues As Top Obama Priority

Yes! This is what we call good news:
"A survey of young woman for YWCA USA finds most of them want the Obama administration to make civil rights and racial justice a top priority"
KCTV Kansas City

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Looking Back on Segregation: An audio sample

I'd like to try something new in this blog post and present an audio clip from the soundtrack of Dare Not Walk Alone. Please let me know if you find it interesting. If it works, I will try adding some music from the soundtrack as well.

Post-screening discussions of the film sometimes revolve around one historical figure, and it's not Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Maybe it's because so much is already known about Dr. King but attention tends to focus on one person against whom Dr. King squared off in the final confrontation before the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: James Brock.

It's not that Dr. King sought a fight with Mr. Brock or that Mr. Brock took on Dr. King. You might even say that Mr. Brock was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In 1964 Mr. Brock owned one of the most prominent motels in the City of St. Augustine, America's oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin. This was long before Disney World and St. Augustine was one of Florida's leading tourist destinations. That made it a prime target for people campaigning to ban segregation in restaurants and motels, in swimming pools and on beaches (yes folks, in 1964 the Atlantic Ocean itself was segregated--something the Beatles probably didn't think about when they flew over it to perform on the Ed Sullivan show in February of that year).

Mr. Brock was a prominent local businessman. He started the organization that became the United Way of St. Johns County. Most of the business owners in St. Johns County were white and most were opposed to segregation. Mr. Brock's personal position is unclear. He made statements opposing desegregation, but also expressed a willingness to integrate if the law was changed (the law in Florida required segregation). When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed he opened his motel and restaurant to all races; several former protesters have talked about being made welcome there. Mr. Brock's established was then picketed by Klan supporters objecting to his conformation with the new federal law.

Listen now as the late Mr. Brock, speaking in 2004, talks about some of the events of 1964 (in this excerpt from the soundtrack of Dare Not Walk Alone--click the small white > button to start the audio).


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Great Feedback on Dare Not Walk Alone's "Transformative" Power

We just heard back from a university professor in Tennessee who used Dare Not Walk Alone in a class project.

She said that watching the film was "a profound experience for our group and in a few cases truly transformative."

In the next few days we hope to post some of the student comments here. (As a reminder, Jeremy Dean, the director of Dare Not Walk Alone, is available to visit colleges and universities with the film--email info@dnwa.info for more details.)

Photo Caption: Watched by state troopers, black and white protestors opposed to segregation kneel in prayer outside the Monson Restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida, 1964.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Dare Not Walk Alone DVD Pick of the Week

Thanks Columbus, Ohio!

When Dare Not Walk Alone played in Columbus last year it was an audience favorite and you gave us our first award.

And now that the DVD has been released, Dare Not Walk Alone is a Pick of the Week. We really appreciate your support and encouragement. The world needs to know: Columbus rocks!
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Powerful Civil Rights Film Now On DVD

Here is the latest press release about the DVD. Please pass it on to any reporters or journalists you happen to know. You can send them this short link: http://is.gd/70Pc

Thanks!

POWERFUL CIVIL RIGHTS FILM NOW ON DVD

Brooklyn, New York, November 11, 2008 -- Dare Not Walk Alone, a feature-length documentary about little-known events in America's civil rights struggle, is now available on DVD at Walmart and other stores. The film clearly illustrates what President-elect Obama has called "the gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time." While documenting Dr. King's heroic campaign to end segregation, the film also paints a disturbing portrait of lingering inequality, some 40 years later, in one community where that campaign was waged.

The Dare Not Walk Alone trailer can be seen at the film's web site: http://darenotwalkalone.com.

Created by Brooklyn-based artist and director, Jeremy Dean, Dare Not Walk Alone has been hailed by critics as "a powerhouse of a picture" and "important filmmaking." However, making the film was an uphill battle according to executive producer Stephen Cobb.

"The director insisted the film go beyond documenting the bravery and brilliance of Dr. King's victorious strategy of non-violence to explore the aftermath of that victory," said Cobb. "But a lot of people thought this approach was too radical for a mainstream audience."

Yet this is one small budget independent documentary that beat the odds and achieved DVD distribution through major stores like Walmart, Target, FYE, Movies Unlimited, and Amazon.com. The film's distributor is Indican Pictures.

"When Indican told us Walmart ordered DVDs," says Dean, "We were thrilled, but also stunned. That's almost impossible when you're an indie project with no star backing."

Although the DVD is not on the shelves in every Walmart yet, the retail giant is shipping from Walmart.com, according to Cobb.

"Our hats are off to both Walmart and Indican," said Cobb. "We're delighted with Indican because they have moved us closer to our goal of giving everyone in America a chance to see this film."

The DVD features interviews with Ambassador Andrew Young and the late James Brock, owner of the motel in St. Augustine, Florida, where Dr. King was arrested. There is also an interview with Dean who is currently on a campus tour, most recently appearing at Notre Dame University's WorldView Film Series.

About Dare Not Walk Alone

Featuring rare archival footage, the film also contains recent interviews with participants in the campaign to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The project began in 2003 when director Dean was still in his twenties. After post-production work at Atlanta-based Crawford Communications, the final cut debuted in 2007 and was quickly signed for distribution by Indican Pictures. Theatrical screenings in New York, Los Angeles, and Portland garnered praise from critics:

"Powerful slice of roiling American history."
Los Angeles Times

"Has great potential to do real good in the world."
Boxoffice.com

"Minutely attuned to disparities of class and race...a triumph of outrage and empathy."
Willamette Week

"Deserves to be seen"
New York Times

"Packs a punch."
Village Voice

Contact:
Jeremy Dean, writer and director
Stephen Cobb, executive producer
email: info@dnwa.info

Release is now on the wire and showing up:
MarketWatch,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President-elect Obama!

Three wonderful words!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

New Civil Rights Film Now Available on DVD from Walmart

PRESS RELEASE: New Civil Rights Film Now Available on DVD from Walmart

(This is a preview of the press release that will be going out soon--if you know of journalists who might interested in covering this story, please pass this information to them--and/or email info@dnwa.info--Thanks!)

Brooklyn, New York (Pre-release) November, 2008 -- Dare Not Walk Alone, the critically-acclaimed documentary about the civil rights struggle, has beaten the odds and achieved DVD distribution through Walmart. The retail giant normally carries only a select group of documentary feature films, such as An Uncomfortable Truth and Fahrenheit 9/11. (The Dare Not Walk Alone trailer is available on YouTube and at http://darenotwalkalone.com.)

Created by first-time director, Jeremy Dean, Dare Not Walk Alone offers a fresh and gritty perspective on the civil rights struggle and its aftermath in a community that dramatically illustrates what Senator Barack Obama has called "the gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time."

Acknowledging that this was a major marketing coup by the film's distributor, Indican Pictures, Dean said "When they called to say Walmart had ordered the DVD, we were thrilled." Added Dean, "We were also a little stunned because it’s almost impossible to get a feature-length independent film with zero star-backing into Walmart."

While not yet on the shelves in every Walmart, the retail giant has started shipping Dare Not Walk Alone to customers who order the DVD from Walmart.com, according to the film's executive producer Stephen Cobb.

"Our hats are definitely off to Walmart," said Cobb, adding, "As for Indican, we were both impressed and delighted that they got our film into Walmart because it takes us a big step closer to realizing our goal of giving as many Americans as possible as chance to see this film."

Hailed by one critic as "a triumph of outrage and empathy," Dare Not Walk Alone does more than document a number of crucial but often-overlooked confrontations in Dr. King's fight against segregation. Described by Film Journal International as "More than just another civil-rights history lesson," the film also explores the aftermath of that struggle in one African American community where those confrontations took place.

In addition to being available at Walmart.com, the Dare Not Walk Alone DVD, which features deleted scenes and an interview with the director, can now be queued at Netflix and should be widely available from stores such as F.Y.E., Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and Movies Unlimited starting November 11.

Director Jeremy Dean is currently touring college campuses conducting workshops on the film and holding Q&A sessions after screenings. He most recently appeared at Notre Dame University as part of its WorldView Film Series.

About Dare Not Walk Alone

Featuring previously unaired archival footage from 1964 and exclusive present day interviews with participants in the campaign against segregation, Dare Not Walk Alone was conceived and created by Jeremy Dean, now a Brooklyn-based artist and film maker. He began work on the project in 2003 while still in his twenties and the film was first shown at festivals in 2006. A new cut was created when tragedy struck one family highlighted in the film. After extensive post-production work by Atlanta-based Crawford Communications the final cut debuted in 2007. Soon after winning the audience award at the Deep Focus Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio, the film was signed by Los Angeles-based Indican Pictures for theatrical and DVD/TV distribution. Here are some of the comments from critics during theatrical outings in New York, Los Angeles, and Portland:

"Powerful slice of roiling American history" - Los Angeles Times

"Has great potential to do real good in the world" - Boxoffice Magazine

"A powerhouse of a picture, minutely attuned to disparities of class and race...a triumph of outrage and empathy" - Willamette Week

"Packs a punch" - Village Voice

"The racial politics of the current presidential election make this film all the more significant" - Film Journal International

"Mesmerizing and heart-rending" - L.A. City Beat

"Deserves to be seen" - New York Times

Source/Contact:
Stephen Cobb, producer and executive producer
Jeremy Dean, producer and director
Dare Not Walk Alone
email: info@dnwa.info
Official Web Site: http://darenotwalkalone.com
Walmart listing: http://tinyurl.com/dwmart
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Dare Not Walk Alone: More images from 1964

Andrew Young being attacked by white segregationists during a night march to the historic slave market in St. Augustine.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Senator Barack Obama on Civil Rights

We noticed this quote from Barack Obama recently, from a speech he gave at Howard University, September 28, 2007, and we thought it was worth blogging:

“The teenagers and college students who left their homes to march in the streets of Birmingham and Montgomery; the mothers who walked instead of taking the bus after a long day of doing somebody else's laundry and cleaning somebody else's kitchen — they didn't brave fire hoses and Billy clubs so that their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren would still wonder at the beginning of the 21st century whether their vote would be counted; whether their civil rights would be protected by their government; whether justice would be equal and opportunity would be theirs. . . . We have more work to do.”
This quote brought to mind this shot, taken from film footage in Dare Not Walk Alone. It shows three students, one black and two white, at a non-violent protest against segregated dining. The police officer is using a cattle prod to "enourage" one student to get into the police car. Eventually, all three students were taken into custody. Interestingly, James Brock, the owner of the restaurant that was the site of the protest, asked the police to stop using cattle prods on the protestors (and they complied).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

DNWA Mini-College Tour a Big Hit: Race + politics = lively classes!

Jeremy just got back from events at Mercyhurst College and Notre Dame University. Both went really well. There were over 200 students at one of the screenings. He did several classroom visits and conducted Question & Answer sessions after each screening, receiving a lot of thanks and encouragement.

(If you would like to book the film on your campus or want to get in touch with Jeremy for an interview please email speaker@dnwa.info.)

There's no doubt that the topic of race in American politics is a hot one right now, on news networks as well as on campuses, even as the two presidential campaigns steer clear of the subject (which we totally get, I mean neither Obama or McCain want to bring this up, at least not directly).

But if we have learned anything from the four years we have spent working on the Dare Not Walk Alone project it is that what people say in public and what they think in private can be very different when the topic is race. And don't you get this feeling that many Americans are holding their breath over this election? They are just hoping that race does not play a role in the outcome. We want to believe we are past that. But we're just not sure.

We know a lot of Obama supporters are worried that the Bradley-effect may still be very real. ("Named for Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor's race despite being ahead in the polls--the Bradley effect refers a voter tendency to tell pollsters they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate but on election day they vote for his/her white opponent."--Wikipedia)

Pundits and so-called experts appearing all over TV this weekend kept saying the Bradley effect is a thing of the past. But they obviously haven't spent much time living and working in North Florida, where you will find a lot of white people are still angry over the forced desgregation of their once "separate but equal" communities.

We think the reason Jeremy is earning the respect of students at these campus events is that he is an expert. If you spend five years of your life making a documentary about racial issues in American society you've defiintely earned that title. We think folks like CNN, CBS, NBC and BBC America should be talking to Jeremy, not political pundits. And they should be showing clips from Dare Not Walk Alone, where you can almost feel the hatred of white Americans back in 1964, Americans who actively opposed equal rights, with bats and chains and boots. (Those civil rights marches weren't awareness building exercises like a rally for the environment--there was, as Commissioner Errol Jones so wryly points out "opposition.")

And 1964 was not that long ago when you think that some of the white kids attacking blacks on the beaches of Florida back then are just turning 60 this year. As Jeremy's brilliant interview with James Brock in the film makes clear, many of those people are not apologetic for the role they played. But very few of them are as honest with the public as Mr. Brock was with Jeremy in that interview.
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Thursday, October 09, 2008

South Bend Tribune: Forgotten Civil Rights battleground focus of film

A good article about Dare Not Walk Alone in the South Bend Tribune by Jeremy D. Bonfiglio today. The film is being shown shown Friday and Saturday as part of the Worldview Film Series at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Academic Praise for Dare Not Walk Alone

We wanted to share with you some feedback we received about Dare Not Walk Alone from the halls of academia, namely a college professor of American history:

"I want to, first of all, thank you for making Dare Not Walk Alone. What a powerful film. I have been teaching the civil rights era for 15 years, but your film enriched my understanding and appreciation for the significance of St. Augustine in 1964."

This is not the first time that someone in higher education has praised the film for shedding light on this important piece of American history. But Dr. Chris Magoc, who chairs the History Department at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, also goes on to say:

"The issues of legacy and unmet challenges of the movement are nowhere better addressed than in your film."

And that comment was really appreciated, but it provides further proof that Dare Not Walk Alone has succeeded in bridging the gap between the heroic achievements of the past and the continuing challenges of the present. (Something that some critics have failed to grasp.)

Dare Not Walk Alone will be screened at Mercyhurst in October as part of the Guelcher Film Series. (Screenings will be in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center, on Wednesday the 8th at 2PM and 8PM). The film's director, Jeremy Dean, will be on hand to discuss the film.
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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dare Not Walk Alone and "Award-Winning"

We recently learned that Dare Not Walk Alone is now eligible for several awards. One of these is the 2009 Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking (that's their logo on the left).

Film awards serve many purposes, not least of which is acknowledging the years of struggle and heartache and effort and grit that go into getting a good film made. And believe us when we say that making a film these days takes all of these, even when you are being bankrolled by a studio or star. Want to make a serious film without financial backing and/or star power? Then count on the toil and sweat factor being multiplied many times over.

Thus far, DNWA has won one award: the Audience Award at the Deep Focus Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio. This might not sound like a big deal. You probably never even heard of it. But it meant a lot to us. For a start, it proved that the people who go to see DNWA appreciate the film. As you know, there have been some critics who have not [fully] appreciated the film. But we didn't make this film for the critics, we made it for the people. So winning an award voted on by the audience was like getting a whole bunch of hugs and thank you's (we have in fact received many hugs and thank you's when attending screenings, but we can't get to all the screenings).

However, the value of an award goes way beyond making the filmmaker feel good and reminding him or her that all the toil and sweat was not in vain. Awards help spread the word about a good film. Let's face it, there are loads of films out there these days (e.g. DNWA will be competing against close to 100 films for Cinema Eye Honors). And that makes it very hard just to get people to see your film, even if your film is very good and has a big budget.

Obviously we think DNWA is very good, but we know it has no budget (funny thing a budget, turns out that whatever money we could scrounge together was spent on making the film, and even then a lot of people worked for nothing, just because they believed that the story Jeremy was determined to tell, deserved to be told).

So you won't see ads for DNWA on FaceBook. You won't see DNWA as a featured [paid] video on YouTube. What you may see is the results a guerrilla marketing effort, led by those who support what DNWA is trying to achieve. This includes word-of-mouth, both physical and digital, with emails and link-swaps, and blog posts, and phone calls. Basically, the stuff that's free but takes effort. And we have racked up several thousand trailer views on YouTube, a very respectable rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a solid IMDB score.

Awards add a lot to such efforts. You can bet that as soon as we won our first award we started referring to DNWA as an award-winning film. It's one more way to get your film noticed, and thus seen, and it's about as honest as marketing can get. So thanks to Cinema Eye for deeming DNWA eligible for an award. Whether it wins or not, every little bit of exposure helps spread the word and get more people to see the film.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New York Times Says Dare Not Walk Alone "Deserves to be seen"

Cell phone photo of DNWA poster outside Pioneer Theater[Media: cell phone shot of the Dare Not Walk Alone poster outside the Pioneer Theater]

When the toughest critic for one of the toughest papers says that your movie "deserves to be seen" you have to embrace that, even if she leads off her review with some painful [and in our humble opinion misguided] comments that could hurt attendance. It would be a pity if some people who might otherwise be exposed to the film stayed away because of those comments.

However, we are pleased to report that the opening night, Friday, went very well, with a good-sized crowd in attendance. A slight problem with the print was remedied in time for the Saturday screening. Judging by the number of people who hung around afterward to talk with the director and producer on Friday evening, the film was well received (with no reports of the rumored unwatch-ability).

Interestingly, nobody seemed to have a problem with the way the film flowed from past events to slices of present reality, not unlike the way hip-hop mixes samples from old recordings with fresh vocals. So maybe some people just expect films that address this subject matter to do so in a strictly sequential and formal format. Admittedly, Dare Not Walk Alone might be more challenging to watch that a traditional documentary, just as some hip-hop can be more challenging to listen to than traditional music. And certainly the film makes no claim to deliver clear-cut answers to complex issues, but muddled? A lot of people would beg to differ.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Thank You New York Times, Maybe

Today's review of Dare Not Walk Alone in the New York Times was both encouraging and disappointing. The line we should all take from the review is: Deserves to be seen.

Those of you who have helped us over the past four years to work against the odds and get this film made and distributed should take heart that a. the film is playing in New York City (an incredible achievement for an independent film about a controversial topic made with virtually no budget); b. it has so far racked up an impressive string of positive reviews, with great scores on RottenTomatoes and IMDB.

What you should not do is pay any mind to the negative comments in this NYT review, which merely echo remarks made by other, equally narrow-minded reviewers on the other coast. When critics say the movie is "muddled" or "haphazard" they are clearly missing the point.

Dare Not Walk Alone
is a different kind of civil rights film, in more ways than one. Just as the film takes you closer to the gritty, street-level reality of the civil rights struggle than other films, it also exposes you to the muddfled and haphazard reality of life today in a community where that struggle was waged.

And if there is one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to the issue of race and rights today it is this: it's messy. So why would a film about this topic be neat and tidy and nicely linear, like every other potted history of a movement that is still working itself out in American society today?

Thankfully, a lot of people who see the film do get the point, and see the skill of Jeremy Dean's direction, particularly those who experience the film in a theater. As we've said before, most movie reviews are not written by people who watch the film in a cinema side-by-side with their fellow citizens. When you do that, when you have that expewrience, you get what the film accomplishes, and why it is, and had to be, so different from the linear, date-by-date history lessons that we are accustomed to seeing on this topic.

So we say "See it!" For as even the New York Times says: It deserves to be seen.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Good Movie at a Good Theater: Who could ask for more?

When you are a small, low budget, independent documentary like Dare Not Walk Alone you can't exactly pick and chose which theaters you play in, which is why we're delighted to be playing in New York's Pioneer Theater--because it really is a great little cinema! Don't take our word for it, check out these great reviews from people who've seen movies there.

"Perfect little indie movie theatre."

"I was very impressed with this charming little theater!"

We hope you 'll be able to join us there, August 22 at 7PM and the next 6 nights. Try to buy your tickets early because it is not a large cinema and can sell out. Oh, and here's a friendly tip from the review page: "It's a few minutes longer walk from the subway than you would think by the map, so leave a few extra minutes as shows start right on time."

Two Boots Pioneer Theater
Manhattan/East Village
155 E 3rd St
(between Avenue A & Avenue B)
New York, NY 10009

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dare Not Walk Alone Manhattan Poster: Now online

The odds are firmly against an independent documentary ever making it to theaters. One reason that Dare Not Walk Alone has beaten those odds is its loyal band of supporters.

One thing those supporters have done is print out and distribute fliers for the movie when it comes to their town. This is a great way to increase 'buzz' about the film (along with blog posts and calls to local radio stations). And so it is that we proudly announce the Manhattan Project. Sorry, that should be Manhattan Poster. It is now ready to download print, and post [responsibly]. Remember, black and white or color print makes no difference. The message is the same.

Click here to get the poster in jpeg and pdf.

Some supporters have printed these and put them on employee bulletin boards at work, on grocery store bulletin boards, and on church bulletin boards. Other good spots are coffee shops and book stores.

As always, anything you can do to get out the word is much appreciated. A strong turnout is not just a vote for independent film but also a vote to continue and expand productive dialog about race in America. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New York Times on Obama's "Delicate Path"

A timely article in the Sunday edition of the New York Times highlights the class/race issue through a discussion of Obama's thoughts on affirmative action. We can frame the issue as a question that may be more challenging than it first appears: Would it be appropriate for Senator Obama's daughters to benefit from affirmative action?

The question can also be framed like this: At what point do inequalities in society become more about class than race? And this question was poignantly raised several years ago during the making of Dare Not Walk Alone. The question naturally arises when the film surveys the current living conditions of some African Americans in a town where one of the great battles of the civil rights movement was fought and supposedly won. And the issue was addressed directly by Dr. Todd Boyd, Professor of Critical Studies at USC, speaking in the film:

"In this generation you have a lot of African Americans who have come up economically. A lot of black people have been assimilated in the society at large. A lot of other people have not. I think the point is, at a certain time it becomes as much about class as it does about race. Now you can’t divorce the fact that being poor and black is worse than being just poor but the poverty component of it is real."

In other words, over the last fifty years the lines have been redrawn. Almost without exception, to be black in 1958 was to be poor. There were also poor white folk in 1958, but being white did not equal being poor. In 2008, to be black is not to be automatically poor. But to be black still means finding yourself subject to institutionalized racism, and probably more so if you are poor and black than if you are black and affluent (although driving an expensive car while being black still seems to be regarded, at least in some parts of the country, as grounds for suspicion).

These words of Dr. Boyd can create something of an acid test of attitudes: being poor and black is worse than being just poor. Some people will balk at that statement. Of course, we think it's hard to watch Dare Not Walk Alone or spend time with black friends and then disagree with it. But the challenge facing Barack Obama, or anyone who wants to tackle the social and economic ills and inequalities of our time, is to walk that delicate path to the common ground where can work on solutions together, poor and affluent, black and white, male and female, and whatever other distinction you want to draw. For as Dr. King said, 40 years ago:

"There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society, with a large segment of people who feel that they have no stake in it, who feel they have nothing to lose."

Friday, August 01, 2008

New York Screening Just 3 Weeks Away

Just wanted to remind everyone that Dare Not Walk Alone will open at the Pioneer Theater on Manhattan's Lower East Side in three weeks time.

There will be one show each evening at 7PM starting on Friday, August 22 and running through Thursday, August 28. You can get details and tickets here. With the dialogue about race in America now attracting mainstream media attention, Dare Not Walk Alone is more relevant than ever. In no other film will you witness both the gritty reality of the struggle for equality and the disquieting reality of life today in a community on whose streets that struggle was fought.

Interestingly, as the film reaches a wider audience, we may be seeing a split emerge between folks who object to the way the film mixes past and present aspects of the racial divide in America, and others who 'get' where the film is coming from. We're not quite sure what factors account for this difference of opinion, however, it does seem like younger people, who may have received only a condensed and sanitized version of the civil rights struggle in school, really appreciate the up-close and personal style of Dare Not Walk Alone. They like that the film does not preach or narrate but simply allows you to experience sounds and images and words that convey with great immediacy both historic events and present realities.

This experience may leave the audience with more questions than answers, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. No documentary is going to answer all the questions that the complex topic of "race in America" raises today. But this film makes a good starting point for discussion and many who have watched it found it to be a strong impetus to get involved with finding the answers.
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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dare Not Walk Alone Screens at Mercyhurst College, PA

The award-winning independent documentary about race and rights in America, Dare Not Walk Alone, will be shown in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center, Wednesday, October 8, 2008, at 2PM and again at 8PM, as part of the Guelcher Film Series. The film's director, Jeremy Dean, will be on hand to discuss the film.

(Mercyhurst College is in Erie, Pennsylvania.)

A Footnote to the National Slavery and Jim Crow Apology

When the U.S. House of Representatives apologized, earlier this week, for slavery and the Jim Crow laws, it was following in the footsteps of several states, including Florida, which apologized to African American Floridians in April of this year. As we noted then, another piece of Florida legislation seeks to go further and expunge the records of Floridians who were arrested for protesting the Jim Crow laws in the sixties. And that legislation was introduced in direct response to Dare Not Walk Alone.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

At Last: Congress Apologizes for Salvery and Jim Crow Laws

Sometimes good news comes out of nowhere or, as on Tuesday, out of congress, where the House has apologized for slavery and the Jim Crow laws. A lot of people have been pushing for this for some time. But there has never been, until now, sufficient collective will to make it happen. So we say: Well done congresspersons! But also: About time!

The full text of the bill makes interesting reading. This is not a collection of vague words. It reads like the person who wrote it, and the people who passed it, really do understand that there is a lot to apologize for. Consider these assertions, which the House of Representatives has now asserted to be true:

...a century after the official end of slavery in America, Federal action was required during the 1960s to eliminate the dejure and defacto system of Jim Crow throughout parts of the Nation, though its vestiges still linger to this day;

Which is what Dare Not Walk Alone is all about. And this:

...African-Americans continue to suffer from the complex interplay between slavery and Jim Crow--long after both systems were formally abolished--through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity;

So, if you should hear someone saying that racial inequality is all in the past and that things are all well and good today, kindly tell them that ain't so, and when they ask "Says who?" you can now answer "Says the United States House of Representatives."
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Theater in New York to "Pioneer" Dare Not Walk Alone

Exciting news for supporters of Dare Not Walk Alone. On August 22 the film will start a week long run in New York, at the Pioneer Theater, Third Street at Avenue A. Times are not yet posted on the theater's web site but we are told there will be two showings a night.

Please let friends and family know about this. Obviously it will be a huge boost to the film if folks turn out in strong numbers for these showings. Here's the theater info:

Pioneer Theater
155 East 3rd Street, at Avenue A
New York City
Showtimes: (212) 591 0434
Pioneer Theater Website

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama: Could both be right about responsibility?

As reported by the New York Times today, the Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized for critical and crude comments he made about Senator Barack Obama. While regrettable in a number of ways, this incident sheds welcome light on an issue that needs to be discussed more openly, the question of responsibility for the current state of affairs in poor black communities. One is reminded that the director's original tag line for Dare Not Walk Alone was "The War of Responsibility." Watching the movie certainly puts sentiments like Rev. Jackson's in context.

Now Senator Obama is inclined to say that absentee fathers are, at least in part, to blame for some of the problems afflicting black Americans, for example: “We need fathers to recognize that responsibility doesn’t just end at conception.” Rev. Jackson thinks this is “talking down to black people.” Rev. Jackson says other issues should be highlighted, including unemployment, the mortgage crisis and the number of blacks in prison. In other words, past actions by white are also to blame.

According to a statement by Rev. Jackson reported in the Times: “My appeal was for the moral content of his message to not only deal with the personal and moral responsibility of black males, but to deal with the collective moral responsibility of government and the public policy which would be a corrective action for the lack of good choices that often led to their irresponsibility.”

Surely both men are right. There is definitely a woeful lack of good choices in some communities. And bad choices by white politicians have not helped. It has to be very discouraging to grow up in a neighborhood that has no sewer system and then watch your county commissioners divert federal funds intended for sewer improvements into a wealthy and predominantly white sub-division. Or attend a school that has far less resources than the white school on the other side of town.

But the fact is, some people succeed despite such things, and maybe some of them are able to do so because they have fathers who stuck by them and encouraged them. And while some fathers shirk their responsibilities for purely selfish reasons, others find themselves ill-equipped to cope with their responsibilities. As the Times points out, the way you see this issue is partly determined by your age. Here's what Rev. Jackson's son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, who serves as a national co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, had to say: “Reverend Jackson is my dad, and I’ll always love him...[but]...I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric. He should keep hope alive and any personal attacks and insults to himself.”

Back in 2003-2004, when Dare Not Walk Alone was conceived, it was almost impossible to think that America could have a public debate on this topic. That is one reason so few people were prepared to back the film. Which proves things can change a lot in four years.
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Monday, July 07, 2008

Notre Dame to Screen Dare Not Walk Alone

The University of Notre Dame will be showing Dare Not Walk Alone in October as part of the WORLDVIEW Film Series. There will be three showings: Friday, October 10, 2008, at 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm, and Saturday, October 11, 2008, at 6:30 pm. Click here for details.

The screenings will be in the the Browning Cinema which is equipped to show films in almost any format (and is the only THX-certified cinema in Indiana). Director Jeremy Dean will be there for a Q&A session on Friday evening.

WORLDVIEW is an initiative from the Office of the President to promote constructive dialogue about issues of diversity, including race, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic class, and gender…through the arts.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dare Not Walk Alone to Screen in Gainesville, Florida

After playing New York in August, the theatrical release of Florida filmmaker Jeremy Dean's Dare Not Walk Alone will continue in September at Gainesville's historic Hippodrome State Theater. Dates and times will be announced on the blog. Here are some comments on the film from Variety and the prestigious Film Journal International:

"This thoughtful documentary brings alive a disturbing time in American history." -- Film Journal

"Dean's ability to explore history through such a local nexus creates a uniquely intimate document" -- Variety

"The racial politics of the current presidential election make this film all the more significant" -- Film Journal

Dare Not Walk to Open in New York City in August

We are pleased to announced that Dare Not Walk Alone, the independent documentary described by the LA Times as "a powerful slice of roiling American history," will be playing in New York in August, opening on the 22nd. Details to follow.
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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

An Historic First for America: Senator Obama secures Democratic nomination

One month shy of the 44th anniversary of the signing of the first civil rights act, the headline from New York Times says it all: Obama Claims Nomination; First Black to Lead a Major Party Ticket. We've come a long way America!
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More on Race, Politics, and Dare Not Walk Alone

Carrying on from the previous post about racism that has surfaced during the Obama primary campaign, it is useful to ask where the racism resides. Dare Not Walk Alone paints a disturbing picture of one Florida community where the effects of past racism are still felt, even though none of the local officials in power there today could be described as racist.

The film quotes some pretty stark statistics that present a local snapshot of the racial divide 40 years after the first civil rights act was signed into law. One statistic that was not included in the film: infant mortality rates. Across America as a whole, black babies are nearly 2.5 times more likely than white babies to die before reaching their first birthday; but things were worse than that for black babies born in St. Johns County in the period just prior to the movie being made (2002-2004). Their mortality rate was 18.2 per 1,000 live births, way lower than the rate of 74.4 in Haiti but worse than Albania, Fiji, Grenada, and Vietnam to name a few). That number of 18.2 is also pretty dismal compared to an overall US average of 6.8 and a rate of 5.2 for white babies born in St. Johns County (these numbers are from the CDC, CIA, and PRB).

It has to be said that, following new initiatives by both the state and non-profit groups, the infant mortality rate for black babies born in St Johns County appears to have been reduced in the last couple of years. However, there is still a black/white divide both locally and nationally. That's not a political statement but a fact. Where things get political is when you talk about why the gap exists and what should be done to close it. As with the black/white unemployment gap, some responses are potentially incendiary, like: "Those kids should get jobs instead of hanging out on the corners." Reaction to a statement like that can vary, depending on the race of the person making it. But whoever says it needs to bear in mind that getting a job is easier said than done, at least in some parts of America.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Racism in the Raw: Obama campaigners run into reality

With so much going on in the presidential primaries this story did not get much notice: Racism alarms Obama backers - Washington Post. The central fact of the story, that folks doing grass roots campaigning for Senator Barack Obama have encountered overt racism, will come as a surprise to some people, but not to others.

Try making a movie about race in America today and you learn a lot about how people really feel. You find that there's a fair amount of racial prejudice just beneath the surface. Scratch the surface, for example, just by bringing up the subject, and you can get you an earful. So you have to expect the same to be true for a black person taking a run at the presidency. While some white folks are clearly quite happy to vote for a black president, for others it may just be too much, and that's a sad reflection on our country.

When Dare Not Walk Alone played in Los Angeles last month, here's what the Film Journal critic said: "The racial politics of the current presidential election make this film all the more significant." So, does this make Dare Not Walk Alone a political film?

That's a hard question to answer because politics, like beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder. The film does not preach. There is no narrator making statements. This is not a Michael Moore style documentary. Jeremy Dean lets the events and the people involved speak for themselves. (As Variety noted "Dean's ability to explore history through such a local nexus creates a uniquely intimate document.")

But that doesn't mean some of what is said in the film is not controversial. When a black US congresswoman compares parts of St. John's County, one of the wealthiest counties in Florida, home to the nation's 'oldest city' and The Players Championship, with Haiti, you can bet that riled some white politicians in the county. But then a former politician [white] describes the deplorable lack of proper sanitation. And the camera captures some scenes that are not staged and not very pretty. In the end, most people are going to get the idea that things are far from rosy and the filmmaker is not just making this up.

Is life like that for all African Americans? No. Do all white people think black people complain too much? No. Do all black people think white people can't be trusted? No. Will carrying an Obama sign while white teach you something about race in America? Probably, it pretty much depends where you are carrying it.
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Packs a Punch! What critics are saying about Dare Not Walk Alone

Here is the cream of the Los Angeles reviews for Dare Not Walk Alone which played there last week.

"Powerful slice of roiling American history" -- LA Times

"Packs a punch" -- LA Weekly

"Mesmerizing and heart-rending" -- L.A. City Beat

"Dean's ability to explore history through such a local nexus creates a uniquely intimate document." -- Variety

"The racial politics of the current presidential election make this film all the more significant." -- Film Journal

"Clear-eyed look at the adversaries of Martin Luther King Jr.’s utopian “dream”...reminds us that, for far too many Americans of color, “free at last” has meant trading one sociological prison for another." -- LA Weekly

"Has great potential to do real good in the world" -- Boxoffice

"A very strong comment on the capacity of people to ascend from their suffering." -- Boxoffice

"Dean handles the historical material with skill, insidiously intercutting vintage travel promos touting St. Augustine's tourist-friendly beaches with sequences of mass chaos in the same locations." -- Variety

"More than just another civil-rights history lesson. This thoughtful documentary brings alive a disturbing time in American history." -- Film Journal

Friday, May 02, 2008

So Long LA and Thanks for all the Reviews

We want to send out a big THANK YOU to all the DNWA supporters in the Greater Los Angeles area who came out to see the film. Thanks to you, will look set to open in several more cities [details will be posted here on the blog].

The Los Angeles engagement showed that DNWA, made on the kind of budget that doesn't even register on Hollywood's radar, can hold its own in the heart of commercial movie country AND come away with some solid reviews. Very few independent documentaries get this many reviews from major publications.

In fact, the film is currently scoring 100% on the review roundup web site known as Rotten Tomatoes, with 5 positive to 0 negative. And we're talking big name reviewers here, like the Los Angeles Times and Variety. In a few days we will post some of the comments from these reviews, comments that should help the film gain even more "buzz" in the next engagement.

Not that we all agree with all of the reviewers. Many of them don't seem to 'get' the way the second half of the movie works. One could say "it doesn't work for them" but bear in mind most reviewers watch the film on DVD, not in a cinema where you can feel and hear the audience reaction to the film. In our experience a lot of people who see the film in theaters 'get' the material, even though it can be jarring, even disturbing. If you want to check out the reviews, you will find links to them at Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Scenes from '64: Non-violence in action.


A campaign of non-violent protest does not mean there will be no violence; it means you may suffer violence but you do not fight back. This places the people against whose position you are protesting in a very difficult, often untenable position. This was Dr. King's brilliant, and successful, strategy in St. Augustine in 1964.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Meet the Filmmaker: Dare Not Walk Alone's Jeremy Dean

At the 7:45PM showings of Dare Not Walk Alone this coming Friday and Saturday at the Laemmle Grande 4-Plex in Los Angeles, filmgoers will have a chance to meet the filmmaker, Jeremy Dean.
And 'filmmaker' aptly describes Jeremy Dean, who not only wrote and directed Dare Not Walk Alone, he also has producer, editor, and cinematographer credits on the film.

Hope you can be there! Click here for tickets.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Film Brings Dr. Martin Luther King's Florida Encarceration to Light

An Old Town Trolley Tour is one of the best ways to see Saint Augustine, the oldest city of European origin in America; the tour guides are famous for their entertaining but fact-packed monologues, and Trolley Tours management, which has a strong Ben & Jerry social responsibility flavor to it, takes its educational role very seriously. So imagine their surprise when a recent visitor, a professor from California no less, complained that her tour guide was over-selling the city's role in the civil rights movement. She went so far as to state that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was NOT jailed in Saint Augustine.

Dr. King most certainly WAS jailed in Saint Augustine, as were hundreds of other people. Sometimes so many people were arrested that St. John's County Sheriff's Department held them in open air stockages, in the Florida sun. Dr. King is shown in custody in Florida in the above photograph from the Library of Congress AND in newsreels excerpted in Dare Not Walk Alone AND as described in Jeremy Dean's 2005 interview with the late James Brock, the man whose restaurant Dr. King was attempting to enter when the police bundled him into the back seat of a police car (with a large police dog for company).

Not only that, one of the houses at which Dr. King stayed during his time in Saint Augustine was fired upon, as reported in the St. Augustine Record, and recorded in this great AP photo captioned: "Dr. King looks at a glass door of his rented beach cottage in St. Augustine, Fla. that was shot into by someone unknown on June 5, 1964. King took time out from conferring with St. Augustine integration leaders to inspect the house, which no one was in at the time of the shooting."

That bullet hole is still there today, that's how much the people who own the house respect Dr. King's legacy. It is historical fact that Dr. King spent a large part of April through June of 1964 coordinating what he referred to as "our push here in St. Augustine" describing it as a prelude to "a long hot summer." (You can hear his exact words in the film's trailer.) This carefully worded statement was a warning to the Southern Democrats in the US Senate who had vowed to kill the civil rights act with procedural maneuvers.

Dr. King made it clear that he and his followers were prepared to "march the streets of this city until the walls of segregation come tumbling down." For Dr. King had figured out there was a limit to how many nights in a row politicians could watch scenes of demonstrators being beaten by police and white extremists before they did the right thing and make segregation illegal.

There is enormous irony in someone suggesting that Saint Augustine is today 'over-playing its civil rights hand.' In fact, it has taken years of effort and pressure from people like historian David Nolan and groups like the 40th Accord and their supporters, to bring this part of the city's past into the light alongside other momentous local events (like the landing of Ponce De Leon in 1513, the slaughter of the Huguenots and founding of the city in 1565, and so much more).

Given all that, we at DNWA were prepared to be quite upset with the person who complained to Trolley Tours, but then we took a deep breath and looked around. That's when it became clear that across most of America the role of Saint Augustine in the civil rights movement has been left out or glossed over for the past 40 years, to such an extent that many people, even scholars, react in disbelief when they hear the historical facts. For example, Dr. King's efforts and arrest in Saint Augustine do not appear in many of the timelines of civil rights movement.

These timelines often have a big gap between the introduction of the Civil Rights Act in 1963 and its signing in July of 1964. What do they think Dr. King was doing in that time? He sure as heck was not on vacation. Yet while many timelines credit 'Bloody Sunday' in Selma, in March of 1965, as the catalyst for the Voting Rights Act passing in August of 1965, few note the repeated beatings and imprisonment that people suffered in Saint Augustine in relation to the very first civil rights act. Even the Library of Congress listing for the photo above has it wrongly identified as being taken in 1962.

So, we understand why people might be surprised to learn the true story of Saint Augustine's fight for equality in 1963 and 1964. After all, the all-white city fathers of the time worked very hard to hush it up, afraid that it would hurt the tourism trade on which the city was economically dependent. These days we see signs of a more enlightened attitude, a willingness to honor those who risked their lives so that all of us could enjoy 'a more perfect union.'
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Show Times for Dare Not Walk Alone at the Laemmle Grande 4-Plex

Several of you have asked for the show times. This table lists all shows currently scheduled. All times are PM.

For the latest show times, theater details, and tickets click here.

Civil Rights Movie "Right on Time" and "Coming to a Theater Near You"

As the dialog about race in America spreads from the campaign trail to the Sunday talk shows, from blogs to bars and coffee shops, there is one movie ideally placed to serve as the centerpiece of that dialog: Dare Not Walk Alone.

This is a documentary that doesn't shy away from hard-to-watch images of past intolerance or present inequality, yet manages to find signs of hope in both the past and present.

Hailed by critics as "brave filmmaking" and "a triumph of outrage and empathy" it opens next week in Los Angeles. (For show times and all the other info click here.) If enough people go see this movie in the first week it can secure openings in other cities across America and thus serve as tool by which to tear down the walls of suspicion and discomfort that too often separate Americans along racial lines.

At the beginning of the film we hear Dr. King, speaking in 1964, make what must have sounded at the time like a huge leap of faith: "I believe that the negroes of St. Augustine and their allies in the white community are determined to march the streets of the city until the walls of segregation come crumbling down."

Yet those brave souls, marching in a county where the KKK enjoyed open support, did indeed bring down the walls of segregation. Their determination to meet violence with non-violence, blacks arm-in-arm with whites, eventually forced the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, as the film documents, stark inequities remain, in the very place where people fought for equality forty years ago.

As one Orange County blogger pointed out, Dare Not Walk Alone is the film to see if you want to understand Where the Anger Comes From. It is also a film for those who want to understand how equality and justice can be best served by coming together and seeing eye-to-eye.

(And if enough people turn out to see the film in LA, the rest of America will get a chance to see it too.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dare Not Walk Alone Getting Hot, Getting Noticed

The recent press release did not make the front page of any old media [yet] but it did get a shout on several blogs, including Clyde Smith's Hip-Hop Logic. Thanks Clyde, much appreciated. The trailer is already starting to heat up on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9lh4dGMHjo

Also got a nice post on Vernon Hadnot's D210 TV, a cutting edge video/magazine show focusing on "positive images and role models for today’s young adults, through the latest in music videos, entertainment news, artist spotlights and local community events." Thanks Vernon! We appreciate you tagging the story 'What's Hot' because we think DNWA is hot--and a bunch of people will soon be kicking themselves for not seeing that sooner. The trailer is already starting to heat up on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9lh4dGMHjo

And the prize for 'far-out blog post' has to go to the University of Göteborg Resistance Studies Network. Yes, that's Goteborg in Sweden. And you might wonder what Sweden has to do with civil rights in America. Let's play random association:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the youngest person to win the Nobel Prize, awarded by Sweden just a few months after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the brilliant non-violent campaign for which is documented in DNWA .
  • The official Dare Not Walk Alone web site was built with a template designed by a very cool twenty-something web designer from Jokkmokk, Sweden, Andreas Viklund.
  • The University of Göteborg puts on an annual conference about gender and religion and this year's keynote speaker was Prof. Ursula King, a renowned expert in religious studies and good friend of one of Dare Not Walk Alone's producers.
Interesting connections and they remind us that, long before the Internet, people of conscience from around the world were working together to end injustice and bring about positive change. People in Europe supported Dr. King in America, and later Nelson Mandela in South Africa, through lobbying and letter-writing, marching and generally making a nuisance of themselves to anyone clinging to the injustices of the past.
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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Florida's Formal Slavery Apology and the Power of Low Budget Movies

You might have missed it among all bad news about about the economy and the important coverage of the fortieth anniversary of Dr. King's assassination, but it deserves attention. The state of Florida recently offered a formal apology for slavery.

Apparently it was an emotional vote. The Miami Herald ran a picture showing Senator Tony Hill, who has been a strong supporter of Dare Not Walk Alone, being embraced by Senate President Ken Pruitt at the capitol in Tallahassee.

While Dare Not Walk Alone cannot claim credit for this apology, the film is directly responsible for a related bill now making its way through the Florida legislature. The Pardons/Restoration of Rights/Rosa Parks Act seeks a full pardon for "any person convicted of protesting or challenging a state law or local government ordinance the purpose of which was to maintain racial segregation of or racial discrimination against individuals." In other words, a pardon for the brave marchers and protestors of Saint Augustine featured in the film. The bill was introduced by Senator Hill after attending the first public screening of the film.

"The documentary was so moving that, as chairman of the Black Caucus of the State of Florida, I have filed a bill for the 2007 legislative session in the House and the Senate to have all records cleared for anyone who was arrested because of segregated laws. That is how compelling the film was to me."

Senator Hill was true to his word and the bill is moving forward. Who says movies can't make a difference!
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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Robert Kennedy on the Death of Martin Luther King, Jr.

We thought people might want to hear this remarkable moment in history, when Robert Kennedy, brother of slain President John F. Kennedy, spoke of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just a few hours after it happened.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Committed Life: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dr. King's Legacy of Non-Violence Kept Alive

As we approach one of the saddest and most tragic anniversaries of our time, the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. forty years ago this week, we are honored to play a small part in preserving his great legacy in Dare Not Walk Alone, one of the few films we know of that documents in detail the practical genius of Dr. King's non-violence principles..

In the film we see exactly how Dr. King focused world attention on the injustices of the Jim Crow laws of the segregated South. Because he persuaded supporters to remain peaceful on marches, sit-ins, beach bus-ins, and boycotts, despite increasingly hysterical violence and provocation from those who opposed desegregation, the world was treated to image after image of white Americans, police with dogs, youths with clubs and chains, assaulting innocent black people.

The contrast proved too much for Washington politicians in the summer of 1964. The motel owner, James Brock (shown speaking with Dr. King in this rarely seen archive footage from the film) whose segregated establishment had been picketed for many months, finally snapped and used acid to get black and white bathers out of his "Whites Only" swimming pool.

Within days of that incident the first civil rights act was passed. For it showed the world how futile segregation was when some black and white Americans were prepared to link arms and stand united to put their lives on the line for freedom and justice for all. May we strive to honor Dr. King's legacy by continuing to stand together to achieve that goal.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama and DNWA: The dialogue starts here

When Senator Barack Obama gave his recent speech titled "A More Perfect Union" he referred to the gap "between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time." Anyone who has seen Dare Not Walk Alone will know what that gap looks like and that it still exists today.

Here's a link to the text and video of the speech and here's the passage that describes what Dare Not Walk Alone has so effectively documented:

"...words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time."
Those words capture the spirit of the struggles that played out on the streets of St. Augustine in 1964, where ordinary people, black and white, Christian and Jewish--and doubtless other faiths and philosophies as well--put their lives on the line to pass legislation that would finally dismantle the Jim Crow laws and move America closer to "a more perfect Union."

But Jim Crow laws rose up after slavery was struck down, and more subtle forms of discrimination took hold after the civil rights acts struck down Jim Crow. The gap was narrowed but not closed. And when the film turns its cameras on the present we clearly see "that legacy of defeat" which Senator Obama refers to as being "passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future."

Yet the film also shows how meaningful steps can be taken toward healing divisions that still exists more than forty years after the heroic struggles of 1964. And surely now is the time to face up to the challenge, not by glossing over grim realities, not by absolving individuals of responsibility for their own actions, but by extending the hand of friendship, finding a kind word, accepting good will at face value, and having some faith in our fellow citizens, angry and hurt though they may be.

As Senator Obama put it: "the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races." The goal of Dare Not Walk Alone has always been to expand our understanding, close that chasm, narrow the gap, help the dialogue begin and take hold.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Dare Not Walk Alone Trailer



[Update April 21: Over 1,500 people have watched the trailer on YouTube!]

P.S. For the geeks out there, here is code to embed the trailer from YouTube:
<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/s9lh4dGMHjo&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/s9lh4dGMHjo&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Powerhouse of a Picture: Latest review of Dare Not Walk Alone

The upcoming screening of Dare Not Walk Alone in Portland this next Saturday led to a review in the Willamette Week which is Portland's Pulitzer-winning alternative newspaper. Here are some memorable quotes:

"A POWERHOUSE OF A PICTURE"

"MINUTELY ATTUNED TO DISPARITIES OF CLASS AND RACE"

"A TRIUMPH OF OUTRAGE AND EMPATHY"

Needless to say, we think the reviewer really 'got' what Dare Not Walk Alone is all about. You can read the full review online on this page, just scroll down the movie list.

And just a reminder, there will be a free screening of Dare Not Walk Alone on Saturday, February 23 at 4:00 p.m. at the New Columbia Community Education Center (4625 N. Trenton Street, Portland, 97203). Bring your family, bring your friends.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Free Screening of Dare Not Walk Alone, Portland, OR, Feb 23

Thanks to Film Action Oregon and The New Columbia Community Education Center there will be a free screening of Dare Not Walk Alone on Saturday, February 23 at 4:00 p.m. in Portland, Oregon. This is the film's first showing in Oregon so were are asking all our friends and supporters to tell everyone they know in Oregon about this event.

This screening is part of The New Columbia Film Series, featuring films from around the world that address important issues such as race, ethnicity and cultural traditions. The film will be shown at the New Columbia Community Education Center (4625 N. Trenton Street, Portland, 97203). To find out more and help publicize this event, which includes other films, you can download the flyer here.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

DNWA Civil Rights Film Comes to Texas: DFW at SMU on Jan 24

Greetings Texas! The award-winning indie documentary Dare Not Walk Alone will be showing on Thursday, January 24 at 7 p.m. in Hughes-Trigg Theatre on the campus of Southern Methodist University as part of the schoool's Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Week. Please tell as many people as you can about this event. (Location is 3140 Dyer Street, Dallas, TX 75205)

Dare Not Walk Alone tells the story of the 1964 "war of ideas" in St. Augustine, Florida, that led to the passage of the first civil rights bill on July 2 of that year; events never before documented in this fashion; events that speak to the heart of the current political debate over race in America and the role of Dr. King, who was jailed in St. Augustine, versus that of President Johnson (tapes from the LBJ White House are heard in opening scene of the film).

Described as the "most gritty version of civil rights history" put on film, Dare Not Walk Alone has been acclaimed by film festival audiences across the country. It offers a rare look at Dr. King's non-violent campaign tactics in action and shows the tremendous courage and heroism required of those who put them into practice to break a political stalemate and give America a landmark law, desegregating hotels, restaurants, swimming pools and other public places, as well as establishing the federal entity that has probably done more than any other to bring equality to working Americans, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

If you can encourage people to attend, and to vote at IMDB, you will be helping this important film obtain wider release. Thank you!