Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Where Have We Been? DNWA project 8-point update

Please accept our apologies for the prolonged silence, but we have been busy. Here is what's been going on:

1. The 521 Family: Helen has just this week heard that she and Precious and Quinton can move into an apartment at Woodlawn Terrace. This is HUD-subsidized housing and so the rent will be affordable. Helen is very pleased that she will be able to move in before Christmas. This will be where the family lives until project 2 is completed.

2. The house at 521 that was burned out has now been gutted as part of the preparation for the next phase: rebuilding a new home. George Holman has done a terrific job clearing the fire damage and Don Davino of New Augustine Construction arranged for the necessary "cans" [local term for dumpsters or what the Brits call skips].

3. In the New Year we will convene a meeting of building professionals to plan the next steps (permitting, design, etc). Incidentally, it was the same, some say the one and only, Don Davino, who was responsible for a major renovation of Woodlawn Terrace a few years ago and they are very nice units.

4. Financial donations to aid the 521 Family continue to come in (over $1,000 so far). Your generosity continues to inspire hope that has spread much further than this one family. We will be reporting on this campaign in more detail soon and letting you know the goals for 2007 and the rebuild.

5. The film (yes, we have to remind ourselves sometimes that Dare Not Walk Alone is a film as well as a movement) has been selected by THINKFilm for "non-theatrical distribution." What does this mean? First of all, THINKFilm is a highly respected company in the film business, self-described as a "Controversial producer and distributor of edgy and artful features." Being approached by, and then signed to, THINKFilm is a major achievement for the film, its director, and its loyal supporters (so give yourself a hearty pat on the back). We should to point out that this does not mean any revenue for DNWA, yet. DNWA still continues to cost money, not earn money [one of the executive producers plans to publish an article about this soon--some folks seem to think movie out=money in, but there is a lot more to be said about it than that, most of it written in red ink).

6. The best news about the arrangement with THINKFilm is that it pretty much guarantees a broader distribution of the film and the [eventual] DVD. We think this is a very good thing. The term "non-theatrical distribution" means screenings at festivals, schools, colleges, and a whole range of other venues. It keeps alive the possibility that, if the film plays well in these screenings, there will be some form of theatrical release, i.e. in regular or art-house movie theaters. And this means we will still pester you to "motivate the base." In other words, we will tell you when and where the film is playing so you can get your friends and family to go see it.

7. Speaking of staying in touch, be sure to get the feed from this blog to be kept posted, and/or sign up for the mailing list by going here and completing the form. We promise not to spam you...besides we're too busy to even try!

8. The last point for this posting is something of an open secret. It is certainly both unusual and exciting. The director, Jeremy Dean, is currently working on a new cut of the film that will include the fire. He has received the support of THINKFilm in doing this, which is a brave step on their part. This means there are no screenings scheduled for the next few months, and no mention of the film on the THINKFilm web site. But you will be the first to know when the new release is ready to roll.

Thanks again for your continued support. We hope that you will continue to believe, as we do, that the spirit of unconditional love can indeed achieve the Beloved Community of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dare Not Walk Alone Makes Front Page

The front page of today's St. Augustine Record features the work that Dare Not Walk Alone is doing on the post-fire housing situation of the Helen Coley family. (If you are reading this after today, you can find the story here.)

We want to send out a big Thank You! to the Record for devoting space to this story, and to everyone who has responded so generously (when we get the next bank statement we will know who has deposited money in the Putnam State Bank account and thank them individually).

We are now building a list of folks who have volunteered tine, resources, etc. The next step after that will be organizing the re-build but that will take time.

From what we have seen so far, the people of this county have a big heart, and a whole lot of the special kind of love that it takes to bring a community together.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Donate to Coley Appeal: PayPal and Credit Cards

Some folks have asked to make donations to the 521/Coley Family Appeal via credit card. The best and cheapest way that we know is through PayPal, which accepts just about any credit card and is secure. So we have provided a PayPal donation button at, the web site of Dare Not Walk Alone's Executive Producers, Stephen and Chey Cobb.

This allows you to donate from an existing PayPal account, any major credit card, or a new PayPal account. It is easy and secure.

We thank you in advance for your donations. And if you prefer to send a check, just refer to the details in the previous posts.

>Donate now!<

How to Help the 521 Family

Helping a family deal with the loss of their home takes more than cash and material goods. It also takes time. We have already spent several days helping Helen get around to the various agencies in town to coordinate some of the basics (like replacement Social Security cards).

Some people have already volunteered their time and we have assigned the first few tasks, like moving donated goods into storage ready for sorting, and calling around motels to find the best rate on suitable rooms for Helen and her family to stay until they can move into one of the [very few] subsidized apartments in town.

(Of course, if you know of a 3-bedroom apartment/condo/house in St. Augustine that is available for a few months we'd love to hear about it.)

If you want to volunteer, please send an email to with the word "Volunteer" in the subject line. We can then send you our phone number (which we are reluctant to put on the web).

We are currently working on a task list but we already know we need people who are willing to provide some suitable mentoring and positive after-school recreation for 12 year-old Precious. Although Precious attends school during the day, there is a lot of after school time, and weekend time, that is hard to fill when you are staying in a motel and have very few resources.

Hopefully, in about three weeks we will need volunteers to help with the move into an apartment. Beyond that we will be working on the rebuilding plans. We have already had offers of assistance from several contractors (say what you want about building contractors--they often turn out to be some of the most generous souls in the community).


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fire Destroys 521 Woodlawn

On Tuesday of last week, fire destroyed the house at 521 Woodlawn in Saint Augustine, a house that will be familiar to anyone who has seen the film. This was the home of Helen, her son Christoff, and grandaughter Precious, all of whom appear in the film. It was also home to grandson Quinton and grandaughter Tip. Helen had lived in the house for nearly thirty years.

The fire started in the wood stove that you see being lit in the movie. Anyone who, when viewing that scene, thought to themselves--That thing is a fire hazard--was sadly correct. Indeed, the incident raises a lot of questions about the safety of housing conditions for those who have very little money to spend after paying for food, water, electricity, and taxes.

(Here is a link to the local newspaper story. In the story Helen is referred to as Mary--Helen is her middle name and the name she prefers. Also, the copy editor changed Tip to a young man, an error for which the reporter has already apologized--nobody who has actually met Tip would make that mistake.)

Fortunately, very fortunately, nobody was injured in the fire, but Helen and her family lost all their belongings and the roof over their heads. Helen has been very strong through the shock and stress of this calamity but she is going to need a lot of help. Here at Dare Not Walk Alone we feel a special connection with Helen and her family so we are coordinating the response. So far we have managed to get:

  • Temporary accommodation at a motel in Saint Augustine through the end of this week;
  • A storage locker for all of the donations of clothes and household goods that people so generously donated at the St. Augustine Record office;
  • Donations moved to the storage locker (thanks to Gardner, Doug, and Chris);
  • A relay of evening meals delivered to the motel this week (thanks to Gardner's congregation);
  • A volunteer to find further accommodation until a subsidized apartment becomes available in about three weeks (thanks to Debbie);
  • A place for people to send cash donations that will be used first for temporary housing and then for the construction of a new house at 521 (thanks to Putnam State Bank);
Checks should be made out to "Dare Not Walk Alone" with the notation "Coley Family/#5367" in the Memo field and mailed to:

Putnam State Bank
Attention: Angela
2300 N Ponce de Leon Blvd
St. Augustine, FL 32084

(If you want further information about these instructions you can call Angela, the Branch Manager's Assistant, at 904-825-4555.) We will make sure that all of the funds received go directly to the family, and to the effort, just getting under way, to build them a new home at 521 Woodlawn.

One of the main goals of the "Dare Not Walk Alone" project has always been to help those members of Saint Augustine's African American community who are most in need. We had no idea that, for one family, those needs would become so urgent so soon. But we are hopeful that this sad event will become a rallying point for those who share that goal. So, we thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide and we will update you as this effort progresses. We will also try to find time to blog some of the things we are learning from this event, like the community's lack of coordination in the delivery social services, the charity of strangers, and hopeful steps that can be taken down the long road to lasting reconciliation.

Dare Not Walk Alone
Jeremy Dean, Director
Richard Mergener, Producer
Stephen and Chey Cobb, Executive Producers

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Special Showing in St. Augustine, September 30

Good news for DNWA supporters in North Florida. There will be a special showing of the newly remastered broadcast version of Dare Not Walk Alone at 7PM on Saturday, September 30, in Saint Augustine, at the Galimore Center, 399 Riberia St. to raise funds for the planned civil rights memorial in the city.

General admission is $5. Preferred seating is available for $10. All proceeds will benefit the civil rights memorial. Tickets can be obtained by calling Barbara Vickers at 829-5649, Carolyn Smith at 829-2618, or Glenda Bailey-Mershon at 377-1323.

This will be the first public showing of the special one hour broadcast version of Dare Not Walk Alone which director Jeremy Dean created to help get the documentary shown on television. According to Jeremy, this version "retains the full spirit and import of the 70 minute theatrical version while meeting the requirements of broadcasters like HBO." In addition, this version is of much higher technical quality than earlier versions, having been created in the world class post-production studios of Crawford Communications of Atlanta, who generously devoted a great deal of time and expertise to the project.

The September 30 showing is also very special because, according to the St. Augustine Record, there will be a panel for the event including former demonstrators, including Barbara James, who served 60 days in the St. Augustine jail. The panelists will strive to help the audience answer the challenging questions posed by the film.

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival Oct 27

Wow! The Fall screenings are started to add up. The good folks Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, a.k.a FLIFF have changed the screening time/day to afford better attendance. Dare Not Walk Alone will now be shown on Friday, October 27 at 5PM at Cinema Paradiso. Click the link for details and to buy tickets.

And as always, tell a friend!

p.s. This will be one of the first screenngs with the newly remastered, high quality version of the film, produced by the caring souls of Crawford Communications of Atlanta, to whom DNWA is eternally thankful.

Connecticut Shows Announced October 5 and 7

Okay! Let's hear it for the Connecticut Film Festival. The good folks up North have scheduled two showings of Dare Not Walk Alone.

Thursday, October 05 at 7:00 PM - The Bethel Cinema
Saturday, October 07 at 1:30 PM - The Garden Cinemas

Click the link above for more details and remember to tell your friends!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

When the Levees Broke

The moving 4 hour Spike Lee documentary about Katrina's socio-economic impact will be playing on HBO throughout September and into October. Read more about the project here.

Fans of DNWA will recognize some of the core issues at the heart of both films. Here is the schedule.

p.s. We can't say much yet, but word is that DNWA has been seen by some folks at Spike's production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks in Brooklyn, and the initial feedback was very positive.

Roundup of Currently Scheduled Screenings

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, October 20-November 12 (screening time TBA).

Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site in Atlanta, October 19 (details to follow).

2006 FAIF International Film Festival, Hollywood, on October 12 at 9:30PM.

Connecticut Film Festival some time between October 3rd and 8th.

In addition, Jacksonville University staff and students can see the film and panel discussion on September 13 at 7:00pm in the Gooding Auditorium.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

DNWA Trailer and Art Work

Trailer now online at MySpace.
Photos from the St. Petersburg event.
Jacksonville University screening.

Busy Summer!

Okay, so DNWA went to the big Atlanta film festival and not a whole lot seemed to happen. We were a little bummed. But then we caught a huge break. A gentleman who saw the film in Atlanta works for a large Atlanta-based communications company and was so moved by the film he persuaded the company to provide post-production and editing facilities to DNWA. So in early August Jeremy spent two weeks with Crawford Communications (to whom we are hugely grateful) creating a much higher quality version of the film, plus a one hour version ready for TV broadcast. That means the next time the film shows at a festival it will be crisper, easier to see and much easier on the ears. Thanks again to Crawford Communications!

Friday, May 26, 2006

March to May and Beyond

Wow! What happened to April? Things went quiet after the Florida Film festival in Orlando. Despite a great screening with a long Q&A and great feedback, we didn't get a second showing. But we did get the feeling that the festival organizers found our subject matter a little too controversial for their tastes.

Oh well, we regrouped in April to make the most of May when we showed the film at the Jacksonville Film Festival. Although it is not one of the more established festivals, JFF has been coming on string under the leadership of Jean Tait and attracted a lot of attention. Part of this was due to the premiere of "Lonely Hearts," a John Travolta movie shot in and around Jacksonville. Lots of the cast and crew (but not Mr. Travolta) attended the screening which made it a fun evening (the movie itself is not fun, indeed it is very dark and definitely 'R' rated).

After Jacksonville we head to Atlanta for the big Atlanta Film Fesitval.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Florida Film Festival - March 26

Next stop - the Florida Film Festival! The good news is that we all live in Florida, so this is an easy one for us to attend. The web page for DNWA is:

The not-so-great news is that we're showing at 11:00AM on a Sunday. DUH! This is the SOUTH! Everyone will be at church! Who goes to movies on a Sunday morning anyway?

Honestly, though - we are extremely grateful that DNWA has been accepted by so many different film festivals. It is doing better than our wildest dreams!

Check the DNWA website - soon we'll have a downloadable trailer that is iPod compatible.

Not Sure About IBFF

We're back from Atlanta and the Independent Black Film Festival. The crowd was light due to the fact that the IBFF stuck us out in the middle of nowhere -
*** (Lithonia???) ***
- and did little or no promotion. We don't know what the problem was with the organizers of this fest, but the whole thing felt like vapor-ware.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

March 14 - Indie Black Film Fest Showing

We're on the road again! Just after recovering from the film fest in San Jose, we're off to Hot-Lanta to compete in the Independent Black Film Festival. The complete schedule can be found at: .

Come and introduce yourselves to us! We love to get feedback on DNWA and how it has affected you.

Jeremy Dean
Stephen Cobb
Chey Cobb

Racism - What's the Answer?

DNWA deals with racism, both in the past and at present. Obviously, we still have a LONG way to go to make people colorblind, but we can't stop working at it.

What are YOUR ideas for moving forward and eradicating racism in America? We'd really like to hear from you.

DNWA as Education

Just prior to the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, Director Jeremy Dean toured many of the historic black colleges in Florida to show the film to students and faculty. These viewings were facilitated by Florida Senator Tony Hill (

ALL the viewings at the colleges were met with rave reviews and tremendous enthusiasm. What's even better, though, is the fact that DNWA gets people talking again ... whether we like it or not, racism is rampant in America and we have to expose it, show it for what it is, before we can get past it. It's like the elephant in the room that no one wants to mention. It's there. It's big. And it's leaving big turds everywhere. Somehow we, as individuals, have to find our own ways of eradicating racism. Education is definiately one of the methods we can use to start meaningful discussions.

Speaking of education, Sen. Hill is talking about introducing a bill in the Senate that would make DNWA part of the yearly school curriculum. That means that every student in Florida would be REQUIRED to view DNWA. How cool is that?

Let us know if you have other ideas on how to expand viewership of DNWA.

Support DNWA - Buy a T-Shirt!

You can help support the Dare Not Walk Alone Foundation (a legal, non-profit organization) by purchasing your very own DNWA t-shirt and messenger bag at CafePress ( Five dollars of every purchase goes to the foundation. Thanks in advance for your support!!

Friday, March 03, 2006

SJ Buzz and Beyond

DNWA is building quite a buzz here at Cinequest in San Jose (a huge shout out to Shawn Martin for advance work!) The showings are coming up tomorrow (Saturday the 4th at 2PM at Camera 12, Sunday the 5th at noon, same place).

And the Florida Film Festival venue has just been announced:
Sunday, March 26, the Enzian Theater, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Check here for more.

Buzz on blogs and news sites is also growing. Google "Dare Not Walk Alone" to check it out. Also check out the DNWA store at Cafe Press. Cool t-shirts and other items are now available and each item purchased generates $5 toward future screenings of the film.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cinequest Showings

The Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA starts today! The first viewing of DNWA is at The Camera 12, 201 S. Second St., San Jose: March 4th @ 2pm and March 5th @ noon. To buy tickets, go to

Hope to see you there!

St Augustine Mayor Walks Out of Housing Meeting

There was a housing summit today in Saint Augustine to discuss the deplorable conditions in some Saint Augustine neighborhoods. This meeting was organized after Senator Tony Hill viewed the film, Dare Not Walk Alone. He was appalled at the conditions of the houses shown in the documentary and wanted to address this situation by getting the city fathers together.

The meeting was held today, Feb 28. St Augustine Mayor, George Gardner stayed for a while and then stood up to leave. Before he left, however, he personally attacked Jeremy Dean for making Dare Not Walk Alone and said that Jeremy obviously only sees the "glass as half-empty." Mr. Gardner went on to say that Saint Augustine does not have a housing problem and then WALKED OUT of the meeting!. Everyone was totally stunned. (I would like to note here that Mr. Gardner's term expires in December, 2006. Thank goodness!)

After the Mayor walked out, the rest of the attendees boarded buses to view the worst areas of town and the areas needing the most help. Most people were visibly shaken and some even said they couldn't believe that they were still in America. The worst areas look more like Haiti than the well-groomed homes of the touristy areas of town.

I'm still waiting for word from the Mayor's office as to why he walked out and will advise you when I get a statement.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

More than 1300 view film in St Augustine

St Augustine residents did its local filmmaker proud by showing up in record numbers for this first local showing of DNWA. The seats for the 7:00PM show were filled by 6:30. In fact, so many people were being turned away for the first show, that the DNWA crew had to quickly scramble to put on an additional screening for 8:30PM. All in all, more than 1300 people attended.

The only thing missing were the media, especially the local media. This was very surprising when you consider that all the most disturbing events shown in the film took place less than two blocks away from the Flagler College Auditorium (where the film was shown). If anything, this could be a "Local Boy Does Good" type of story. Of course we didn't expect CNN to be there but it was surprising to find out that the TV stations and newspapers aren't interested in topical subjects. (And, yes, we did send out notices and invitations!)

I guess this proves the adage of television news: If it Bleeds, it Leads. We can only guess that DNWA doesn't have enough blood and guts and gore for the local media's interest.

Other good news, tho...
We have been accepted by the Independent Black Flim Festival in Atlanta, March 12-19. Their web site is:

More news as we get it. Thanks for all your support and we look forward to meeting you at the festivals!

---DNWA ---

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Requests for interviews

There have been a number of local media persons who have been requesting interviews with director, Jeremy Dean. We're all very busy getting ready for various showings and workshops but, if you would like more information or an appointment for an interview, please contact one of the following persons:

Jeremy Dean (writer/director) jeremy_dean88 at
Stephen Cobb (executive producer) sc at
Chey Cobb (executive producer) cheycobb at

By the way, the Flagler College paper did a nice piece on Jeremy and DNWA. (Jeremy is an alumnus of the college.)

Thanks for all your notes of praise and encouragement! information on how to donate to the Dare Not Walk Alone foundation will be coming soon.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Saint Augustine Premier

The Saint Augustine premier of DNWA will be on Sunday, February 12 at 7:00PM at the Flagler College Auditorium. Tickets are free and there is seating for 800 persons.

DNWA has been accepted to the San Jose Film Festival (California - in March. This event is usually a sell-out, so be sure to get your tickets soon!

Jacksonville Premier

DNWA premiered in Jacksonville, Fl at the historic Ritz Theatre on Saturday, February 4th. State Senator Tony Hill introduced the film and the crowd of more than 400 people gave it a standing ovation. Many viewers were visibly moved by the story.

Director Jeremy Dean did a quick question and answer period after the film and was then interviewed by local media and various government representatives.

The next showing of the film will be in Saint Augustine on Sunday, February 12.

Welcome to Dare Not Walk Alone

Welcome to the blog site for the documentary movie, Dare Not Walk Alone.