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A National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures
streamed with essays about the traditions and filmmaking. The site includes transcriptions, study and teaching guides, suggested readings, and links to related websites.  

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Adirondack Minstrel

Lawrence Older [1912-1982] is a relaxed, direct and engaging performer who spent the majority of his life working in the woods. His songs and fiddle tunes are mostly from his family tradition and are representative of the local melodies and the rich musical tradition of America's northeastern states.

Music, Work, Regional / Northeast / 1976
20 minutes | Read More | Preview

Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison
Pete and Toshi Seeger, their son Daniel, and folklorist Bruce Jackson visited a Texas prison in Huntsville in March of 1966 and produced this rare document of of work songs by inmates of the Ellis Unit.
Music, Work, African American Culture / South / 1966
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Albert Collins of South Blue Hill: A Video Portrait
Portrait of Albert "Hap" Collins of South Blue Hill, Maine. Hap Collins was a poet, painter, fiddler, lobster fisherman, storyteller, and craftsman.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Work, Regional, Aging / Northeast / 1989
56 minutes | Read More

Alex Stewart: Cooper
A 1973 film of Alex Stewart, a mountain craftsman from near Sneedville, Tennessee, constructing a churn.  Film includes discussion of the use of non-powered tools and skills handed down in Stewart's family in making wooden containers, such as buckets and barrrels.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work / Appalachia / 1973
11 minutes | Read More | Preview

Almeda Riddle: Now Let's Talk About Singing
This video tells how and where Arkansas ballad singer Almeda Riddle began her 10 year stint of singing old ballads all over the country. In an informal manner, folk musician Starr Mitchell chats with Riddle about her singing tours and her commitment to preserving the past for the future.
Music, Women, Festivals/Customs, Folkmusic Revival / South / 1985
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Amazing Grace

Across time, oceans and cultures, "Amazing Grace" has endured as one of the most popular pieces of music in the English language. Its universal appeal inspired the acclaimed journalist Bill Moyers to tell the story of this song through the people who have sung it.

The complete film is available on high quality DVD from Amazon.

Music, Religion, African American Culture / Any / 1990
01 hour, 10 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Amish: A People of Preservation

The Amish keep surprising their technology-programmed neighbors by keeping alive ways and beliefs that many modern Americans wish they could recapture. Mennonite historian John Ruth takes us sympathetically into the Amish mindset.

Religion, Work, Agriculture, Children, Family, Rural Life, Aging / Middle Atlantic / 1975
54 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Angel That Stands By Me: Minnie Evans' Paintings
A portrait of the African-American visionary artist Minnie Evans from Wilmington, N.C., by Academy Award winning filmmakers Irving Saraf and Allie Light.
Religion, Women, Arts, Visionary and Outsider, Aging, African American Culture / South / 1983
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Appalachian Journey
Alan Lomax travels through the Southern Appalachians investigating the songs, dances, and religious rituals of the descendents of the Scotch-Irish frontiers people who have made the mountains their home for centuries.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Dance, Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Religion, Aging / Appalachia / 1991
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Art of Ironworking
The culture and identity of contemporary ironworkers in southwestern Wisconsin.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work / Midwest / 2011
16 minutes | Read More | Preview

This short documentary is the portrait of an 88-year-old woman who lives alone in a log cabin without running water or electricity. Augusta is a non-status Shuswap Indian living in the Williams Lake area of British Columbia. She recalls past times, but lives very much in the present. Self-sufficient, dedicated to her people, she spreads warmth wherever she moves, with her songs and her harmonica.
Women, Aging, Native American / Canada / 1976
16 minutes | Read More

Ave Maria: The Story of the Fisherman’s Feast
Documents one of the most important traditions of Boston's Italian-Americans: the annual celebration of the Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso, popularly known as the Fisherman's Feast.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Religion, Festivals/Customs, Urban Life / Northeast / 1986
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Baking Bread! : The Construction of a Communal Bread-Oven in Cambridge, NY

This 28 minute piece documents the construction of a communal bread-oven in Cambridge, NY. As part of the events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Quebec City by the French in 2008, traditional artists travelled between Quebec and New England/New York to share their skills; amongst the participating artists was Jean Laberge, traditional woodworker and bread-oven maker, who, with the assistance of Cambridge volunteers, built what has become a focus of the Hubbard Hall Projects, a Cambridge community arts center that fosters cultural and educational projects.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Foodways, Work / Northeast / 2011
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Ballad of Frankie Silver
In 1833 Mrs. Frances Silver was hanged in Morganton, North Carolina, for the ax murder of her husband Charles. Tom Davenport's film explores the case through the singing and stories of Bobby McMillon and the comments of North Carolina Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Gray and others.
Narrative & Verbal Arts, Women / Appalachia / 1996
47 minutes | Read More | Preview

Banjo Spirits
Banjo Spirits explores the legacy of the banjo through the eyes of Don Stover and Stephen Wade who assess the central role the banjo plays in their lives as a tool for creative expression.
Music, Folkmusic Revival / Middle Atlantic / 1998
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Barbecue & Home Cooking: Foods that Make you Smile

The filmmaker is joined by SC folklorist, Saddler Taylor in this “road film” that travels a spontaneous investigating-and-recording-as-you-go journey through the farm roads and by-ways of four rural counties. There, homecooking and barbecue can be found, cooked by folk heritage culinary food artisans using ancestral recipes and methods that have been passed on to them by mothers cooking over wood-stoves and fathers cooking in BBQ pits dug in the ground.

Rural Life / South / 2004
56 minutes | Read More

Basketmaker: Elizabeth Proper
1973 16-mm film of Elizabeth Proper, the last of the white oak basketmakers in a community near Taconic Hills in eastern New York State.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Women / Northeast / 1973
07 minutes | Read More | Preview

Battle of the Guitars
This is one of three short films in the Living Texas Blues series. Battle of the Guitars shows the influence of Aaron "T-Bone" Walker through the performance of Pete Mayes and Joe Hughes at the Doll House Club in Houston.
Music, African American Culture / South / 1985
16 minutes | Read More | Preview

Being A Joines: A Life in the Brushy Mountains
John E. "Frail" Joines was a master tale teller from Wilkes County, N. C., on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His hunting tales, stories from World War II, and religious narratives, and the life stories of Frail Joines and his wife Blanche mirror changes that swept away much of the traditional culture of his Appalachian rural community in a single generation and show the character and values with which his family met these circumstances.
Narrative & Verbal Arts, Religion, Women, Work, Agriculture, Family, Rural Life, Sports/Hunting / Appalachia / 1981
55 minutes | Read More | Preview

Bellota - A Story of Round-Up

The disappearing traditions of the old cattle ranches of the Southwest are presented in director Philip Spalding's film BELLOTA. This 1969 film concentrates on five Mexican American vacquero-cowboys riding a month-long roundup on an 82,000 acre ranch in the rugged high country of Southern Arizona.

Work, Agriculture, Rural Life, Hispanic Culture / Southwest / 1969
32 minutes | Read More | Preview

Ben's Mill: Making a Sled
Ben Thresher's mill is one of the few water-powered, wood-working mills left in this country. Operating in rural Vermont since 1848, the mill is a unique link between the age of craft and the age of modern industry.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Regional / Northeast / 1981
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

Bill Monroe: Father of Bluegrass Music
I’d like for them to remember me as the father of Bluegrass music, the man that originated this music. —Bill Monroe
Music / South / 1993
01 hour, 31 minutes | Read More | Preview

Black Delta Religion
This film was made from b/w Super 8mm footage that William Ferris gathered in rural Mississippi in 1968. The film includes footage from rural church services and a full immersion baptism.
Religion, African American Culture / South / 1973
14 minutes | Read More | Preview

Black on White, White and Black
An intimate and humorous look at the life and career of the legendary blues pianist Alex Moore, a native of Dallas, was the first African American Texan to receive a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The film shows his mastery of the piano at a tribute held in his honor at the famous Majestic Theater - his last public performance.
Music, African American Culture / West / 1990
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

Blow the Tannery Whistle: A Western North Carolina Story
Playwrite Gary Carden's story of growing up in Sylva, North Carolina.
Narrative & Verbal Arts, Family, Regional / Appalachia / 1994
34 minutes | Read More

Blues Houseparty: Music, Dance and Stories by Masters of the Piedmont Blues
John Jackson, John Dee Holeman, Friz Holloway and others perform and reminisce about old-time houseparties in North Carolina and Virginia
Music, Rural Life, African American Culture / South / 1989
57 minutes | Read More | Preview

Blues Like Showers of Rain
John Jeremy’s introduction to the world of Blues is lovingly conceived and powerfully constructed from photographs and field recordings made by Paul Oliver on a journey through the South in 1960.
Music, African American Culture / South / 1970
31 minutes | Read More | Preview

Bodhidharma's Shoe
om Davenport's account of a seven day intensive Zen sesshin or retreat at Bodhi Manda Zen Center, Jemez Springs, New Mexico.
Religion, Fusion / Southwest / 2008
23 minutes | Read More | Preview

Born for Hard Luck: Peg Leg Sam Jackson
A film portrait of the last Black medicine-show performer, Arthur "Peg Leg Sam" Jackson, with harmonica songs, tales of hoboing, buckdances, and a live medicine-show performance.
Healing & Medicine, Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Aging, African American Culture / South / 1976
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Bronx Irish at the Ramparts

The story of the settlement of Irish immigrants in the North Bronx, New York, and how the once predominantly Irish neighborhoods are changing because of the influx of other groups.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Regional, Urban Life / Northeast / 1984
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Brunswick Stew: The Pride of Brunswick County Virginia

This film travels the viewer pot-side where we see the work of artisans of many different stewmasters and learn how these stews are sold and the money used to meet needs in the small town and farm communities. The original feature length version - BRUNSWICK STEW : A Southern Americana Folk Heritage Tradition - was produced for the people of Brunswick County, Virginia, who honor this tradition and maintain it through a system of stewmasters and stew crews who cook for their constituent community.

Rural Life / South / 1999
56 minutes | Read More

Brunswick Stew: Georgia Named Her, Georgia Claims Her

The Governor, two Georgia State Senators, a “man-on-the-street” in Atlanta, and folklorist, John Burrison speak in one voice authenticating Brunswick stew as a most beloved folk heritage stew of Georgia.

Rural Life / South / 2005
56 minutes | Read More

Buck Season at Bear Meadows Sunset
A portrait of a hunting camp in northern Appalachia, the men who hunt there, and the traditions they keep alive. The men hunt the old way: they drive the deer. They keep the traditions of their grandfathers' camp alive in the stories they tell and the way they hunt.
Sports/Hunting / Appalachia / 1984
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

Buna and Bertha: Ballad Singers
Performance of and commentary on Anglo-American ballads and songs by 86 and 92 year old mountain women, Buna Hicks of Beech Creek and Bertha Baird of Rominger in western North Carolina.
Music, Women / Appalachia / 1973
13 minutes | Read More | Preview

Burgoo: Legendary Stew of the South

From pioneer days on the western frontier came a stew prepared by farmers and hunters by the name of Burgoo. No one knows where the name comes from, but one thing becomes very clear, the passion for whatever is called Burgoo, cooked in huge black iron cauldrons, is reflected in the titles given to the burgoo masters- they are called “Burgoo Kings!"

Foodways, Rural Life / South / 2008
56 minutes | Read More

Cajun Country
Alan Lomax's wonderful documentary about the bayous of Louisiana which have combined French, German, West Indian, native American and hillbilly ingredients into a unique cultural gumbo.
Dance, Foodways, Music, Festivals/Customs, Play, Regional, Rural Life / South / 1991
56 minutes | Read More | Preview

Cajun Visits: Visites Cajuns
A series of musical portraits of traditional Cajun master musicians Denis McGee, Wallace “Cheese” Read, Canray Fontenot, Leopold François and Robert Jardell at home in rural southwestern Louisana. The film, where the language spoken is an ever shifting mix of English and Cajun French, is a loving tribute to these musicians and their unique musical culture.
Music / South / 1983
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Cameraman Has Visited Our Town
An introduction to H. Lee Waters and his Movies of Local People 1936 to 1942. A film by Tom Whiteside.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Costume/Dress, Regional / South / 1989
19 minutes | Read More | Preview

Carnival Train
A behind the scenes look to see how the magic of the midway comes together, town after town, and how carnies create a community and way of life that transcends place and time.
Work, Play / South / 1999
01 hour, 10 minutes | Read More | Preview

Carolina Hash

CAROLINA HASH starts with establishing as fact the myth that hash-popularity ends at the South Carolina borders. We learn that right across the state line in North Carolina, barbecue customers and restauranteurs "....don’t even know what hash is." The Brunswick stew states of North Carolina and Georgia which border South Carolina for the most part don’t know about it. But the tradition runs deep in all of South Carolina, and most native South Carolinians not only know about it - they can tell you where to go " get the best hash in South Carolina!" and the name of the hash-master.

Foodways, Regional, African American Culture / South / 2008
56 minutes | Read More | Preview

Catching the Music
An hour-long WETA-TV documentary on musician Stephen Wade. Catching the Music describes the passing of the banjo from one player to the next. The film includes footage of Kirk McGee, Hobart Smith, Fleming Brown, Doc Hopkins, Roscoe Holcomb, Pete Steele, Uncle Dave Macon, and Virgil Anderson.
Music, Folkmusic Revival / Middle Atlantic / 1987
54 minutes | Read More | Preview

Celebración del Matrimonio
This film records a rural wedding in the American Hispanic community of El Rito, New Mexico, with reminiscences and commentaries that show continuities, changes, and meanings in this rich tradition.
Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Family, Festivals/Customs, Hispanic Culture / West / 1986
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Chuck Suchy: Sure Am Glad To Be Around

Chuck Suchy: Sure am Glad to be Around is an intimate portrait of iconic North Dakota musician Chuck Suchy. He talks about his creative process, the lessons he learned as an artist in residence in Iceland, the influences on his music, and the challenges that are taking him far from his ranch in western North Dakota at a time when most musicians would be thinking about retiring.

Music / Midwest / 2011
26 minutes | Read More

Cigarette Blues
This is one of three short films in the Living Texas Blues series. Cigarette Blues features Sonny Rhodes and the Texas Twisters performing at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, California.
Music / South / 1985
04 minutes | Read More

Circus Minimus
Jack Ofield's 16-mm film shows the work of Henry Duncklee, who retired from his job as a circus sign painter in 1949, and begin building this circus of his own.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional / Middle Atlantic / 1977
03 minutes | Read More | Preview

Closing Time
The New York real estate market forces the oldest store in Little Italy to shut down. The film is a portrait of a family, of the neighborhood that used to be and of the way the city changes in a blink of an eye. Behind the surface, the old store contain small treasures belonging to a part of Italy that does not exist anymore, not even in Italy.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Family, Regional, Urban Life / Middle Atlantic / 2006
33 minutes | Read More | Preview


With verve and humor, this film shows the love/hate relationship that women have with the task of cleaning the family's clothes. As we see the clothes flapping in the wind and hear the voices - some proud, some angry, some wistful - we realize that doing laundry calls forth deep feelings about one's role in life.

Women, Work, Family / Any / 1981
32 minutes | Read More | Preview

Cowboy Poets
American cowboys have been writing poetry for more than a century. Cowboy Poets profiles three cowboy reciters--Waddie Mitchell, Slim Kite and Wally McRae--representing three different aspects of the cowboy-poetry tradition. A Kim Shelton film.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Narrative & Verbal Arts / West / 1988
53 minutes | Read More | Preview

Cowgirls: Portraits of American Ranch Women
The cowgirls in this documentary are contemporary women aged six to sixty, who ride, rope and tough out the elements just as well as their more famous cowboy counterparts. The film spans three generations, telling the real life stories of two women and two little girls.
Women, Agriculture, Children, Regional, Rural Life / West / 1985
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

A Cowhand's Song

This evocative documentary examines the plight of the ranchers of Nevada and California, who find their grazing areas increasingly threatened by many groups (even environmentalists) competing for use of the same public lands on which these ranchers depend.

Agriculture, Rural Life, Social Justice/Protest / West / 1981
30 minutes | Read More

The Cradle is Rocking
George "Kid Shiek" Colar and the Olympia Brass Band are featured in this rare film about New Orleans Jazz, directed by Frank DeCola.
Music, Religion, African American Culture / South / 1968
12 minutes | Read More | Preview

Crawdad Slip

Sid Luck is a fifth generation potter in Seagrove, North Carolina. This forty-five minute documentary explores his life and work, and the family heritage he hopes to pass on to his two sons, Jason and Matthew.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work / South / 1999
45 minutes | Read More | Preview

Crossroads: An American Journey
August 1996, in Uvalde, Texas: the Hernandez family holds a reunion, undoubtedly one of many such gatherings held that summer in small towns across the nation.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Family, Hispanic Culture / Southwest / 1997
52 minutes | Read More | Preview

Deep Ellum Blues
Deep Ellum, along with its legendary music scene built by the likes of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Lead Belly, and Bill Neely, all but disappeared with the construction of Central Expressway in the 1950s.
Music, Urban Life / South / 1985
10 minutes | Read More | Preview

Displaced in the New South

In 1980, there were a few thousand Asian and Latino immigrants in Georgia. By 1994, there were more than 300,000. Displaced in the New South explores the cultural collision between Asian and Hispanic immigrants and the suburban communities near Atlanta where they settled.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Hispanic Culture, Social Justice/Protest, Fusion, Asian American Culture / South / 1996
56 minutes | Read More | Preview

Dreadful Memories: The Life of Sarah Ogan Gunning, 1910-1983
Born in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky, Gunning suffered a life of bitter poverty which became the fuel for dozens of moving songs about working people, the mines, and the great coal strikes of the twenties and thirties. Gunning's a cappella roots music is intercut throughout the interviews and archival footage.
Music, Women, Work, Social Justice/Protest / Appalachia / 1988
38 minutes | Read More | Preview

Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old
Alan Lomax's examination of the talents and wisdom of elderly musicians, singers, and story-tellers, who perform not for fame or fortune but to preserve and share their culture.
Music, Aging / Any / 1991
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

Dry Wood
A glimpse into the life, food, and Mardi Gras celebrations of black Creoles in French Louisiana, featuring the stories and music of "Bois Sec" Ardoin and Canray Fontenot. Dry Wood is one of a number of Les Blank's critically acclaimed films on Lousiana life and culture. Hot Pepper, a film on zydeco great Clifton Chenier, is a companion to Dry Wood.
Foodways, Music, African American Culture / South / 1973
37 minutes | Read More | Preview

Eatala: A Life in Klezmer

Klezmer is Eastern European Jewish folk music. In other parts of the country, klezmer seemed to disappear and then was revived. But in Philadelphia, the Hoffman family never stopped playing this music.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music, Women, Family, Folkmusic Revival / Northeast / 2011
38 minutes | Read More | Preview

Edd Presnell: Dulcimer Maker
Edd Presnell, a mountain craftsman and native of Watauga County, North Carolina, demonstrates and comments on the construction of a dulcimer.  Presnell learned his craft from his father-in-law.  Film includes a brief performance on a finished dulcimer by his wife, Nettie.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work / Appalachia / 1973
06 minutes | Read More | Preview

Elaine and Susan Sing Goodnight to Mishegas

"Elaine and Susan Say Goodnight to Mishegas" is a short playful documentary that tells the story of a song, explores how a significant local klezmer tradition is extended (and remains relevant), and meditates on the craziness of the world.

/ Any / 2012
15 minutes | Read More

Elijah Pierce: Wood Carver

Hundreds of people must remember going to Elijah Pierce's barbershop on Long Street, seeking Pierce's latest woodcarvings, spiritual conversation, or simply a haircut and gossip. They may have marveled at brightly colored animal figures, vivid carvings of sports heroes, or the ambitious Book of Wood depicting the life of Christ. Or, like artist Aminah Robinson, they may have entered another level of communication, discussing God's ''laws of life'' with Pierce.

''When I see his work now, it brings it all back,'' Robinson said. ''He hasn't really gone. His life is timeless and there's much left to be learned. . . . The smallest child can appreciate him. His work knows no age, race or gender barrier. It reaches all people.''

Religion, Arts, Visionary and Outsider, African American Culture / South / 1974
18 minutes | Read More | Preview

Eskimo Artist: Kenojuak
This documentary shows how an Inuit artist's drawings are transferred to stone, printed and sold. Kenojuak Ashevak became the first woman involved with the printmaking co-operative in Cape Dorset.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Women, Family, Native American / Canada / 1963
19 minutes | Read More

Every Island has its Own Songs: The Tsimouris Family of Tarpon Springs
Nikitas Tsimouris (1924 - 2001) brought the complex music of the tsabouna, a type of Greek bagpipe, to Tarpon Springs. In 1991, Tsimouris became the first Floridian to receive a National Heritage Fellowship.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music, Festivals/Customs / South / 1988
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Everybody Promenade
The Farmall Promenade is an eight member, all male troupe of farmers who, as four male-'female' square dancing couples, perform across the Midwest. They have a passion for the dance but this isn’t your Grandpa’s square dancing. They perform all the favorites while perched atop antique tractors.
Dance, Agriculture, Festivals/Customs, Rural Life / Midwest / 2007
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Everything Change Up Now

This documentary explores what has happened to lifestyles of South Carolina sea slanders since slavery, through interviews with Gullah basket weavers, net makers, fishermen, educators, farmers, and "witch doctors" in contrast with antebellum, tourist oriented Charleston and fast paced commercial development

Customs, Agriculture, Rural Life, African American Culture, Social Justice/Protest / South / 0000
40 minutes | Read More

Family Across the Sea

Family Across the Sea shows how scholars have uncovered the remarkable connections between the Gullah people of South Carolina and the people of Sierra Leone.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Foodways, Festivals/Customs, African American Culture / South / 1990
57 minutes | Read More | Preview

Fannie Bell Chapman: Gospel Singer
Film of the singer/faith healer and folk artist Fannie Bell Chapman from Centreville, Mississippi. Footage includes Chapman and her family singing and praying during church services and at home, a healing service at the Chapman home, and Chapman "speaking in tongues" after healing.
Healing & Medicine, Religion, Women, African American Culture / South / 1975
42 minutes | Read More | Preview

Fiddlers' Grove: A Celebration of Old Time

Every spring for more than 75 years musicians from all over the country gather in the foothills of North Carolina at Fiddler's Grove. Susan and Donna Campbell's hour-long documentary on Fiddler's Grove, produced on the occasion of the festival's 70th anniversary

Music, Festivals/Customs / Appalachia / 1994
56 minutes | Read More | Preview

Final Marks: The Art of the Carved Letter
A documentary about lettercutting, in both monumental inscriptions and on gravestones. The filmmakers were given complete access over a two year period to the work of the craftsmen of the John Stevens Shop in Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest business in the United States still in continuous operation in the same colonial building. It chronicles the work of John ‘Fud’ Benson, then the owner and principal designer, and, arguably, one of the most accomplished letter cutters in the world.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work / Northeast / 1979
49 minutes | Read More | Preview

Finnish American Lives
A 1982 portrait of traditional Finnish American culture in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, highlighting the fragile community of memory connecting one with parents and grandparents. A Michael Loukinen production from Up North Films.
Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Work, Family / Midwest / 1982
45 minutes | Read More | Preview

Fire Dance

Fire Dance presents the emerging art form called fire dancing, as practiced in the northwestern United States. The dancers explain their attraction to "playing with fire", how they learn and create new forms of fire dance, and why making their own equipment gives them a sense of pride.

Dance, Play / Pacific Northwest / 2002
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Fish Decoys
Join host Mark Greenig as he journeys through the lake country of Minnesota to meet with some of the best fish decoy carvers in the world. Meet John Jenson, Duey Johnston, Jay McEvers, Otis Lael, Bob Johnson, Lawrence Bethel, and others as they share web-dltheir stories and a few secrets to their success. Learn the history of fish decoys, how they work, and how they're made. Discover why fish decoys have evolved from being tools for survival to highly sought after works of art.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Sports/Hunting / Midwest / 2000
27 minutes | Read More

Fishing All My Days: Florida Shrimping Traditions
A 1986 film about open sea sprimp fishing in Florida, showing the techniques, rituals, and superstitions of the African American, Anglo, and Mediterranean fishermen.
Foodways, Work / South / 1986
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Flight of the Dove

A portrait of the Portuguese-American dairy-farming community in the Chino Valley of southern California. This is one of the first films ever to document the experiences and culture of Portuguese Americans.

Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Family, Festivals/Customs / West / 1989
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Four Corners of Earth
Seminole Indian women maintain the traditions of language, crafts, cooking, medicine, and song. These native Americans live on reservations in the vast swamp and waterways of the Everglade area in South Florida.
Healing & Medicine, Costume/Dress, Family, Native American / South / 1984
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Free Show Tonight
Presents a nostalgic tribute to the American medicine shows of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Shows a re-creation of a typical medicine show by veteran performers, as well as archival stills and film footage.
Customs, Drama, Healing & Medicine, Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Regional, African American Culture / South / 1983
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

From Shore to Shore

A film on Irish immigrant musicians and their offspring, tracing the influences of family and community, ethnic identity, and American popular culture on the traditional music played in contemporary New York City.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music, Urban Life / Northeast / 1993
57 minutes | Read More | Preview

From Shore to Shore - Retrospective Reels

Beginning in April 1988, a number of oral histories and Irish traditional music and dance performances were videotaped for the documentary From Shore To Shore: Irish Traditional Music In New York City. Inevitably, many of these recordings were not able to be included in the original 57-minute documentary. This additional footage provides a retrospective look at a vibrant community of musicians, dancers, and audiences during one important era in the story of Irish traditional music in America.

Dance, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music / Northeast / 1988
52 minutes | Read More

Gandy Dancers
Musical traditions and recollections of eight retired African-American railroad track laborers whose occupational folk songs were once heard on railroads that crisscross the South.
Music, Work, African American Culture / South / 1994
30 minutes | Read More | Preview

Gandy Dancers 1973
This remarkable film features field recordings of work chants of Gandy Dancers including aligning songs and chants to knock out slack in the rail. 
Music, Work, African American Culture / Appalachia / 1973
14 minutes | Read More

Gathering Up Again: Fiesta in Santa Fe
The three day pageant celebrates the reconquest of New Mexico in 1692 by the Spanish over the Pueblo Indians. Interviews and scenes of Fiesta preparation, ultimately, raised issues that needed to be opened up for both Native Americans and Hispano specifically related to the portrayal of the Native Americans in the Fiesta.
Festivals/Customs, Native American, Hispanic Culture / Southwest / 1992
46 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Germans from Russia

The Germans from Russia is the story of the Germans from Russia - agricultural pioneers on several continents whose quest for land and peace shaped them into a distinctive and enduring ethnic group.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Agriculture, Family, Rural Life, Canada / Midwest / 1999
57 minutes | Read More

Gimble's Swing
Ken Harrison's 1981 profile of Johnny Gimble and his life in Western Swing. Johnny Gimble received an NEA National Heritage Award in 1994.
Music, Regional / Southwest / 1981
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Give My Poor Heart Ease: Mississippi Delta Bluesmen
A 1975 account of the blues experience through the recollections and performances of B.B. King, James "Son" Thomas, Shelby "Poppa Jazz" Brown, James "Blood" Shelby, Cleveland "Broom Man" Jones, and inmates from Parchman prison.
Music, African American Culture / South / 1975
21 minutes | Read More | Preview

Give the World a Smile
For generations, the Schuyler family has lived and farmed around the Lowgap Community in North Carolina, and for generations they have produced singers who led revival meetings, attended singing schools, performed at old-time day-long singings, and sang in countless churches.
Music, Religion, Work, Agriculture, Family / South / 1981
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

God Given: Cultural Treasures from Armenia

The exquisite metal repoussé artistry and life experiences of Norik Astvatsaturov, formerly of Baku, Azerbaijan, now an American citizen in Wahpeton, North Dakota, reflect in microcosm the history and culture of Armenia.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures / Midwest / 2009
09 minutes | Read More | Preview

Going, Going, Going
Going, Going, Going tells the story of aspiring auctioneer Mark Kuhn and how he learns his craft. Rural life is at the heart of the livestock's heritage and chosen profession. Going, Going, Going shows how the auctioneer pursuing this career fares among the shifting sands of today's disappearing rural world.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Agriculture, Rural Life / Pacific Northwest / 1990
59 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Good Life: Mino-Bimadiziwin
Mino-bimadiziwin: The Good Life is an engaging portrait of a community on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota where the peoples' lives revolve around the annual harvest of wild rice. Many wonderful and intimate moments show the hardships and rewards experienced by those who continue to live off the land.
Foodways, Work, Rural Life, Native American / Midwest / 1997
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

Gracious Fanatics: The Passion for Pottery in North Carolina
Folklorist Tom Mould explores the phenomenon of the kiln opening, when potters sell to collectors the products of a recently fired kiln.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Play / South / 2005
24 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Grand Generation
A portrait of six older Americans, each with their roots in a unique cultural heritage and each with a powerful perspective on the nature of aging.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Music, Women, Aging / Any / 1993
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Grandma Moses

Anna Mary Robertson Moses better known as "Grandma Moses" did all of her painting from remembrance of things past. She liked to sit quietly and think, she once said, and remember and imagine. "Then I'll get an inspiration and start painting; then I'll forget everything, everything except how things used to be and how to paint it so people will know how we used to live."

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Women, Aging / Northeast / 1950
23 minutes | Read More | Preview

Gravel Springs Fife and Drum
Othar Turner, a fife-maker and musician, owns his farm in the Gravel Springs community in northwest Mississippi. The rhythmical music he and his friends play is called "fife and drum." A 1971 film by Bill Ferris, Judy Peiser, and David Evans from the Center for Southern Folklore.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Music, African American Culture / South / 1972
10 minutes | Read More | Preview

Halsted Street USA

Nowhere in America does a stretch of pavement slice through a more vibrant and diverse cross-section of humanity than Chicago's Halsted Street. Along its length one can view a dozen nationalities, a thousand lifestyles -- the American melting pot at full boil.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Foodways, Work, Urban Life, Social Justice/Protest / Midwest / 1995
56 minutes | Read More | Preview

Hamburger and Dolma
Over preparations of a sumptuous Armenian meal of stuffed vegetables (dolma), five Armenian-American women discuss their feelings of alienation from their ethnic community and their desire to relate to their cultural heritage on their own terms.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Foodways, Women / Northeast / 2000
49 minutes | Read More | Preview

Hamper McBee: Raw Mash
A candid portrait of the Tennesse ballad singer, story-teller, and part-time moonshiner Hamper McBee.
Foodways, Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Rural Life / Appalachia / 1978
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Hazel Dickens: It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song

From the coalfields of West Virginia to the factories of Baltimore, Hazel Dickens has lived the songs she sings. Interviews with Hazel and fellow musicians such as Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, and Dudley Connell are interwoven with archival footage, recent performances, and 16 songs including “Mama’s Hand,” “ Working Girl Blues,” and “Black Lung.”

Music, Women, Work, Folkmusic Revival, Social Justice/Protest / Appalachia / 2001
01 hour, 00 minutes | Read More | Preview

High Steel
This short documentary offers a dizzying view of the Mohawk Indians of Kahnawake who work in Manhattan erecting the steel frames of skyscrapers.
Work, Native American / Canada / 1965
14 minutes | Read More | Preview

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Ethel Caffie-Austin, daughter of the coalfields, is West Virginia's "First Lady of Gospel Music." This program features Ethel performing a range of spirituals, hymns and contemporary gospel numbers that represent the rich cultural heritage of African American Song and worship.

Music, Religion, Women, African American Culture, Social Justice/Protest / Appalachia / 1999
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Hollow
A rare 1975 film on a rural impoverished community in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. This remarkable film deals with stereotypes of improvised rural life, but unfolds into a sympathetic view of the community and their suspicion of outsiders.
Family, Rural Life / Northeast / 1975
01 hour, 04 minutes | Read More | Preview

Home Across the Water
A film about the efforts of Sea Islanders in South Carolina and Georgia to preserve their cultural identity and cope with the development of the islands as exclusive resorts.
African American Culture, Social Justice/Protest / South / 1992
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Home Movie: An American Folk Art
This 1974 documentary produced in the era before video cameras chronicles the tradition of home movies in American family folklore. It explores the common themes in family films, and features three individual families as they watch their home movies, suggesting how these documents structure family memory.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Family / Middle Atlantic / 1975
19 minutes | Read More | Preview

Home of the Double Headed Eagle
The home of the Double-Headed Eagle is a kaleidoscopic work of visionary architecture created by the Reverend H. D. Dennis and his wife, Margaret Dennis. A 2006 film made by folklore graduate student Ali Colleen Neff and filmmaker Brian Graves.
Arts, Visionary and Outsider, Aging, African American Culture / South / 2006
15 minutes | Read More | Preview

Homemade American Music
A history of rural southeastern traditional American music, as told and played by Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrard. Mike and Alice recount their own involvment with this music, and briefly trace its history as we meet their mentors: the late Tommy Jarrell, Lily May Ledford, Roscoe Holcomb, Elizabeth Cotton and many other musicians.
Music, Folkmusic Revival / South / 1980
40 minutes | Read More | Preview

Folklife in the hill county of northern Mississippi in the early 1970s.
/ South / 1975
27 minutes | Read More

How to Build an Igloo
This classic short film shows how to make an igloo using only snow and a knife. Two Inuit men in Canada’s Far North choose the site, cut and place snow blocks and create an entrance--a shelter completed in one-and-a-half hours.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Native American / Canada / 1949
10 minutes | Read More

Hundred and Two Mature: The Art of Harry Lieberman
Harry Lieberman, at age 102, shares with wit and wisdom his art, which celebrates Talmudic lore and Jewish life in long-ago Eastern Europe, in this documentary which describes his transformation from retired businessman to artist who, in his old age, is "living on the top of the world."
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Arts, Visionary and Outsider, Aging / West / 1980
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Hush Hoggies Hush: Tom Johnson's Praying Pigs

Meet Tom Johnson and his praying pigs. "Been fooling with them hogs for 35 long years," Johnson says in the film as he rocks on the porch of his modest residence near Bentonia, Mississippi. "It's just an idea that I took up. It's a play thing. And it put me into something that I didn't get out of too easy and so soon."

Religion, Rural Life, African American Culture / South / 1978
04 minutes | Read More | Preview

I Ain't Lying: Folktales from Mississippi
16mm color documentary based on fieldwork William Ferris conducted with African American storytellers and bluesmen in the communities of Leland and Rose Hill, Mississippi. The stories include include folk and religious tales, jokes, toast telling sessions, and characters from African American oral tradition.
Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Work, African American Culture / South / 1975
22 minutes | Read More | Preview

I Choose to Stay Here

This documentary follows a group of people opposing the city of Philadelphia’s “takings” of private homes: the little-known downside of the city’s “redevelopment” initiative.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Hispanic Culture, Social Justice/Protest / Northeast / 2002
23 minutes | Read More | Preview

I'll Keep On Singing: The Southern Gospel Convention Tradition

A comprehensive look ca. 2007 at southern gospel convention singing, an amateur, Christian, music-making and educational tradition that developed in rural America following the Civil War. Includes interviews of prominent figures in the tradition and segments on singings, singing schools, gospel quartets, songwriting, music publishing, convention piano, and dinner-on-the-grounds.

Music, Religion, Family / South / 2010
55 minutes | Read More | Preview

In Jesus' Name: Taking Up Serpents
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. Mark 16: 18

Healing & Medicine, Religion / Appalachia / 1991
47 minutes | Read More | Preview

In the Rapture
A religious drama staged by members of the Second Baptist Church in Bloomington, Indiana.
Drama, Music, Religion, African American Culture / Midwest / 1976
59 minutes | Read More | Preview

It Ain't City Music
It Ain't City Music was filmed at the National Country Music Contest at Lake Whippoorwill in Warrenton, Virginia, in 1972. "Any country song you hear nowadays, the guy's either in jail or just got divorced," notes a man who continues, "but it's their lives and they write songs about it."
Music, Costume/Dress, Festivals/Customs, Play / South / 1973
15 minutes | Read More | Preview

It's A Mean Old World

By the time "It's A Mean Old World" was filmed, Reverend Pearly Brown had been struggling to survive singing gospel music for nearly 40 years. While the rough sound of his bottleneck playing has the feel of a life spent scuffling on the street, the poignancy of his voice is a better measure of the gentle spirit and inner strength of the man.

Music, Religion, Aging, African American Culture / South / 1977
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

It's Grits

With all the native wit, rib tickling humor and ability to see what makes the South the South found in the literary classics of Southern writers like Mark Twain, documentary filmmaker Stan Woodward helps us discover the common thread that connects the South’s people across all social, economic, political and racial boundaries – Grits! “Grits is us” - or, if we are to be grammatically correct, “Grits are us” - could easily be the title of this uproariously funny and at the same time insightful and poignant personal documentary.

Foodways / South / 1980
44 minutes | Read More | Preview

Its All In My Hands: John Prince, Shoemaker

Young Italian American shoemaker John Prince, following in his father Tony's footsteps, invites you into his shop to share the pleasure and pride he feels from his work.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Work / Middle Atlantic / 1972
08 minutes | Read More

J. B. Murray: Writing in Unknown Tongues: Reading through the Water
J. B. Murray (1908-1988) was a farmer who lived in rural Glascock County, Georgia, near the community of Mitchel. When he was approximately seventy years of age, believing he had experienced a vision from God, he began writing a non discursive script on adding machine tape, wall board, and stationery. He described it as "the language of the Holy Spirit, direct from God" and interpreted it using a bottle of water as a focusing device.
Religion, Arts, Visionary and Outsider, African American Culture / South / 1986
09 minutes | Read More

Jazz Parades: Feet Don't Fail Me Now
Alan Lomax's overview of the Jazz scene in New Orleans with interviews and performances by Majestic Band, the Preservation Hall Band (Willie Humphrey, James "Sing" Miller, Emanuel Sayles, Alonzo Stewart, Kid Thomas Valentine and Chester Zardis) and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Greg Davis, Charles Joseph, Kirk Joseph, Roger Lewis, Jenell Marshall and Ephrem Townes) at the Glass House and participating in a funeral parade.
Dance, Music, Costume/Dress, Festivals/Customs, Play, Urban Life, African American Culture / South / 1990
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

Jim Northrup: With Reservations: Jim Northrup: With Reservations
Jim Northrup: With Reservations is a half-hour portrait of the Anishinaabe / Ojibwe / Chippewa writer/activist from Naagajiwanaang (Fond du Lac) in northern Minnesota. A lively mix of powwows, wild ricing, a moose hunt, the sugar bush, the Vietnam Wall and life on the Rez, we follow Northrup traveling all over the country, living his life in the circle of the seasons.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Sports/Hunting, Native American, Social Justice/Protest / Midwest / 1996
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Joy Unspeakable
Joy Unspeakable examines the question, what does it mean to be Pentecostal, through the documentation of three types of Oneness Pentecostal services in Southern Indiana: a gospel-rock concert, a regular Sunday service, and a camp meeting. Religious behavior, doctrine, and social values are discussed by several Oneness Pentecostal church members and ministers in interviews interspersed with footage of the various services. A film by John Winninger and folklorists Elaine Lawless and Betsy Peterson.
Religion, Women / Midwest / 1981
59 minutes | Read More

Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden
A Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden was the first film to document the klezmer revival, tracing the efforts of two founding groups, Kapelye and Boston's Klezmer Conservatory Band, to recover the lost history of klezmer music. A Michal Goldman film.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music, Urban Life, Folkmusic Revival / Northeast / 1987
01 hour, 15 minutes | Read More | Preview

Kathleen Ware, Quiltmaker
From the placing of an order to the completion of the last stitch, the film details the entire process of creating a traditional Lone Star quilt. As the quilt grows, so does our knowledge of Kathleen Ware's vibrant spirit as quiltmaker, wife, mother, and grandmother. A film by Sharon Sherman.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Women, Aging / Pacific Northwest / 1979
32 minutes | Read More | Preview

La Charreada: Rodeo a la Mexicana: Rodeo a la Mexicana
Based on five seasons of ethnographic fieldwork centered in Sunol, California and extending to other parts of the United States and Mexico, La Charreada examines the significance of Mexican rodeo in the lives of Mexicanos living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border on both sides of the border.
Family, Festivals/Customs, Play, Sports/Hunting, Hispanic Culture / West / 1996
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

La Décima Borinquena

Portrayal of four renowned Puerto Rican décima troubadours as they come together to revive the Roundtable tradition and to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of Don Quixote de la Mancha.

Customs, Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Hispanic Culture / Caribbean / 2005
23 minutes | Read More

The Land Where the Blues Began
In the late 1970s Alan Lomax traveled to Mississippi with filmmaker John Bishop and folklorist Worth Long and made this film about the African American music he found there.
Music, African American Culture / South / 1979
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Language You Cry In

The Language You Cry In tells an amazing scholarly detective story reaching across hundreds of years and thousands of miles, from 18th century Sierra Leone to the Gullah people of present-day Georgia. It shows how African Americans have retained powerful links to their African past despite the horrors of the Middle Passage and the long years of slavery and segregation. The film dramatically demonstrates the contribution of contemporary scholarship to restoring what narrator Vertamae Grosvenor calls the “non-history” imposed on African Americans: “This is a story of memory, how the memory of a family was pieced together through a song with the powers to connect those who sing it with their roots, their silent history.”

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Healing & Medicine, Music, Family, Festivals/Customs, African American Culture / South / 1998
52 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Last Shovel Maker

Harvey Ward, age 87, carves beautiful grained shovels with a double edged axe.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Aging / Middle Atlantic / 1974
10 minutes | Read More | Preview

LaVaughn Robinson: Dancing History

LaVaughn Robinson, a National Heritage Fellowship award winner, was a tap-dance virtuoso on the big-band circuit in the 1940s and ’50s who became a master teacher and a major force in tap’s revival.

Dance, Aging, African American Culture / Northeast / 2003
29 minutes | Read More

Learned it in Back Days and Kept It: A Portrait of Lucreaty
Portrait of Lucreaty Clark (1903 - 1986), an African American oak basket maker from rural Florida. Clark embraced a wide repertoire of traditional African American songs, games and folk knowledge essential to rural life. She was a remarkable representative of an era that seems very far away today.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Play, Rural Life, Aging, African American Culture / South / 1981
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Les Blues de Balfa
A portrait of Southwestern Louisana's Balfa Brothers, ambassadors of traditional Cajun music to the world. Filmed in Louisiana between 1978 and 1981, the film focuses on the surviving brother fiddler Dewey Balfa and his efforts to continue playing and performing his family's traditional music after the sudden death of his brothers Rodney and Will in a traffic accident.
Music, Rural Life / South / 1983
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

Let the World Listen Right
Hip-hop and Blues in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Top Notch and Da Fam as well as performances by blues artist Terry "Big T" Williams and gospel singer Martha Raybon.
Music, Regional, African American Culture / South / 2006
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Life and Times of Joe Thompson

The story of the last African American fiddle player in North Carolina whose unique style of music has been passed down in his family for over three hundred years.

Music, Aging, African American Culture / South / 2004
27 minutes | Read More

Queena Stovall: Life's Narrow Space

Dubbed the “Grandma Moses of Virginia,” Emma Serena Dillard “Queena” Stovall (December 20, 1888–June 27, 1980) painted scenes of people and activities in rural Virginia.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Family, Rural Life / South / 1983
06 minutes | Read More

Lige: Portrait of a Rawhide Braider: Lige: Portrait of a Rawhide Braider
Henry Elijah "Lige" Langston was born in 1908 in the Great Basin outback on a homestead. He worked his entire life as a wrangler and rawhide braider in the region known as the Sagebrush Corner of northeastern California and northwestern Nevada.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Work, Rural Life / West / 1985
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Look Forward and Carry on the Past : Stories from Philadelphia's Chinatown

“Look Forward and Carry on the Past": Stories from Philadelphia’s Chinatown” illustrates the strength and complexity of Philadelphia’s only remaining community of color in the city’s center. The documentary attends to the role of folk arts and community cultural expression in the community’s continuing struggles for respect and survival.

Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Family, Urban Life, Aging, Social Justice/Protest, Asian American Culture / Northeast / 2002
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

Made in Mississippi: Black Folk Art and Crafts
A 1975 Bill Ferris film that features artists from a number of different craft traditions discussing and demonstrating their work, including quilting, sculpting, house building, and basketmaking. Artists in the film include James "Son" Thomas, Shelby "Poppa Jazz" Brown, Richard Foster, Othar Turner, Louise Williams, Esther Criss, Leon Clark, Amanda Gordon, Mary Gordon, Lester Willis.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, African American Culture / South / 1975
18 minutes | Read More | Preview

Madison County Project: Documenting the Sound
This video examines the tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing in Madison County, North Carolina and how both documentary work and the power of family and community have influenced that tradition.
Music, Women, Regional / Appalachia / 2005
24 minutes | Read More

Mario Sanchez: Painter of Memories

Mario Sanchez is a self-taught artist. In a series of wood reliefs, hand-chiseled on cedar boards, he paints memories of his childhood in Key West, Florida, recording for posterity a distinctive part of the American scene.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Hispanic Culture / South / 1983
14 minutes | Read More | Preview

Medicine Fiddle
Fiddlers and dancers from Native and Metis families of the northern United States and Canada carry on the musical traditions passed down from early settlers. The film weaves tunes, dance, and oral history together to reveal an older and broader vision of America.
Dance, Music, Regional, Native American / Midwest / 1991
01 hour, 21 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Men Who Dance the Giglio
A documentary on the Brooklyn St. Paulinus Festival. This film explores ethnicity, cultural traditions, and religious devotion as the performers, participants, and community members explain the significance of the festival.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Festivals/Customs, Urban Life / Northeast / 1995
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Mennonites of Manitoba

The Mennonites of Manitoba is the story of a modest, peaceful, religious people. A people who have fled from Holland to Poland, from Poland to Ukraine, and from Ukraine to Manitoba, where they have held on to their distinctive culture and common history for 125 years.

Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Religion, Agriculture, Family / Midwest / 1998
56 minutes | Read More | Preview

Mermaids, Frog Legs, and Fillets
Long before the advent of hip-hop as a multi-million dollar industry, African Americans were rapping and rhyming in the street, in their neighborhoods, and on the fish market docks in Washington DC. A 1978 film by academy award winning filmmaker Paul Wagner with folklorist Steve Zeitlin and Jack Santino.
Foodways, Work, African American Culture / Middle Atlantic / 1978
18 minutes | Read More

The Minneapolis Wrestling Club
The Minneapolis Wrestling Club is a 16mm documentary film about four old-school, Midwestern professional wrestlers. With roots in vaudeville and the carnival sideshow, early professional wrestlers were a rare combination of athlete, circus performer and thug.
Drama, Sports/Hunting, Aging / Midwest / 1998
17 minutes | Read More | Preview

Mississippi Delta Blues

From 1968 to 1970, Bill Ferris travelled from farms, to jooks to homes collecting music he felt best expressed the richness of the Mississippi Delta.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Music, African American Culture / South / 1974
18 minutes | Read More

The Monument of Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder
Chief Thunder's artistry is the testament of a great American folk artist.The film captures the tragedy of his life, his painful isolation, the beauty of his work, and his creative process.
Family, Arts, Visionary and Outsider / Southwest / 1983
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Morgan Sexton: Bull Creek Banjo Player
Eastern Kentucky's Morgan Sexton cut his first banjo out of the bottom of a lard bucket, and some seventy years later won the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Award for his "amazingly pure and unaffected singing and playing style." In this program, the eighty-year-old Sexton shares his life and music.
Music, Work, Rural Life, Aging / Appalachia / 1991
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Morris Chronicle

Morris Peeples is a film that sets out to document a 93 year-old barbecue master as he cooks a hog in the old fashioned way - the way that farmers in the Springfield community in South Carolina have cooked in this Edisto River region in Barnwell County.

Foodways, Family, Rural Life, Aging, African American Culture / South / 2006
01 hour, 51 minutes | Read More

Mosquitoes and High Water: El Mosco y el Aqua Alta
A video examining the unique history and culture of one of America's least known ethnic groups, the Spanish-speaking "Islenos" who live in the bayous east of New Orleans and are celebrated for their tradition of decimas -- long, descriptive ballads about events in their lives or notorious local characters. A film by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker.
Agriculture, Sports/Hunting / South / 1983
23 minutes | Read More | Preview

Mouth Music
Boot-camp count-off chants, jump-rope rhymes, and carny barks are featured in this fast-moving sampler of “proto-music” from the imaginations and versatile mouths of southern folk musicians.
Music, Work / South / 1981
25 minutes | Read More | Preview

Moveable Feast
This documentary follows a group of Italian-Americans from Boston's North End to their ancestral hometown, Sciacca, Sicily, to participate in the Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso (also known and celebrated in Boston as the Fisherman's Feast)
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Religion, Festivals/Customs / Northeast / 1993
29 minutes | Read More

Moving Mountains: The Story of the Yiu Mien
High in the mountains of Laos the Yiu Mien lived as they had for centuries until the Vietnam War forced them to leave their homeland and come to America....catapulted from one century into another. MOVING MOUNTAINS is the story of these refugees caught between two worlds.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Family, Festivals/Customs, Asian American Culture / Pacific Northwest / 1989
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

Mr. Jimmy's Birthday Challenge
When Mr. Jimmy Moore challenged himself to run 80 kilometers in 1 day for his 80th birthday, his small Mississippi town got behind him to see if they too could "run their age," from age 8 to 80. Mr. Jimmy's quest reveals how a retired railroad man-turned extreme athlete could face the death of his wife and the limitations of his aging body to "enjoy life right up to the end."
Family, Play, Aging / South / 2009
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Music District
The Music District is a one-hour documentary profiling four African American traditional music groups practicing and performing for fans and congregants in the neighborhood churches and nightclubs of Washington, D.C. The film features the Orioles (r&b quartet); Junk Yard Band (go-go); The Kings of Harmony (United House of Prayer shout band); and The Four Echoes (jubilee quartet). A film by Susan Levitas from California Newsreel.
Drama, Music, Religion, Urban Life, African American Culture / Middle Atlantic / 1996
56 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Music Makers: Seamus Connolly and Friends

Séamus was 12 years old when he began playing the fiddle. As a young musician he traveled throughout Ireland, meeting and playing music with some of the legends of Irish music. Seamus Connolly is one of the world's most respected master Irish traditional musicians and teachers.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music / Northeast / 1991
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Music Masters and Rhythm Kings
A celebration of the rich heritage of southern traditional music and the people who created it. This performance documentary focuses on three different styles of blues, stringband music, and AfroCuban bembe drumming. The production explores the contributions of their root cultures African, British Isles, and Caribbean and weaves the music together with memories, history and music.
Music, Regional / South / 1993
59 minutes | Read More | Preview

My Town: Mio Paese
Shot on location in Palermiti and the Boston area of Massachusetts, MY TOWN/MIO PAESE shows the family, cultural and religious ties between immigrants and their paesani in Southern Italy. The documentary features La Festa della Madonna della Luce (the feast of the Madonna of Light) in both countries and the story of the patron saint’s legendary miracles as told by three generations of Italians and Italian-Americans.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Religion, Festivals/Customs, Urban Life / Northeast / 1986
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

This is a 15-minute documentary on the life and culture of a gypsy community called Narikuravar, settled in Villupuram, in the state of Tamilnadu in south India. The documentary has been produced by National Folklore Support Centre, Chennai, as a part of the Community Digital Archive Project, funded by TATA Educational Trust. Folkstreams is hoping to help other countries archive and streams films about their own traditional cultures and this is our first experiment in International cooperation.
/ World / 2008
14 minutes | Read More | Preview

Navajo Talking Picture
Film student Arlene Bowman (Navajo) travels to the Reservation to document the traditional ways of her grandmother.
Women, Native American / Southwest / 1986
40 minutes | Read More

New England Fiddles
This 1984 film by John Bishop and Nicholas Hawes presents seven of the finest traditional musicians as they play in their homes and at dances and contests, passing their styles to younger fiddlers, and commenting on their music. Featured are Ron West (Yankee), Paddy Cronnin (Irish), Ben Guillemette(Quebecois), Wilfred Guillette (Quebecois), Harold Luce (Yankee), Gerry Robichaud (Maritime), and the Cape Breton style of Joe Cormier
Dance, Music, Regional / Northeast / 1983
28 minutes | Read More

New Life
A.R. Cole began building a barn in 1927 and asked his wife if it should be for tobacco or pottery. She did not have a preference and realized it was to be for pottery when the rafters were too short for tobacco. Thus continued the Cole family tradition begun in the 1600s in Staffordshire, England. Neolia (who was born on the day in 1927 when A.R. fired his first batch of pottery) and Celia, his daughters, continue the tradition today with Neolia's grandson, Kenneth, at their shop in Sanford, NC.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work / South / 2000
55 minutes | Read More | Preview

Old Believers
Hixon's film documents a real-life wedding in the Old Believer settlements of Marion County, Oregon, in the years 1979 and 1980. The film briefly touches on a wealth of traditional arts (embroidery, clothing construction, weaving, vernacular architecture, folk song and foodways) and beautifully presents a whole series of rituals -- the "devichnik" (engagement party), "selling" the bride and her braid, the wedding feast, the bargaining over the dowry, and the ceremony of bestowing gifts and advice to the newlyweds. In English and Russian with subtitles or voice-over translations.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Religion, Women, Costume/Dress, Family, Festivals/Customs / West / 1981
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

One Big Union: Ralph Fasanella

Ralph Fasanella was born on Labor Day, 1914 in New York's Little Italy neighborhood to Joe the Iceman and Ginevre the Buttonhole Maker from Bari, Italy. His rough childhood among impoverished immigrants, service in the Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War, labor union activism and committed humanitarianism are captured in his panoramic paintings of New York and, especially, of New England industrial mills and striking workers.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Social Justice/Protest / Northeast / 1983
12 minutes | Read More | Preview

Onondaga: The Lacrosse Stick Makers
An Onondaga father and son make lacrosse sticks in the traditional way.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Sports/Hunting, Native American / Northeast / 1973
06 minutes | Read More

Ott Blair: Sledmaker
Demonstration of and commentary on the mountain craft of building wooden farm sleds by Ott Blair, a native of Heaton, North Carolina.  Discussion includes first selling sled and his attitudes toward economic self-sufficiency.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Agriculture / Appalachia / 1973
05 minutes | Read More

Our Lives in Our Hands
This 1986 film examines the traditional Native American craft of split ash basketmaking as a means of economic and cultural survival for Aroostook Micmac Indians of northern Maine. This documentary of rural off-reservation Indian artisans aims to break down stereotypical images. Basketmakers are filmed at their craft in their homes, at work on local potato farms and at business meetings of the Basket Bank, a cooperative formed by the Aroostook Micmac Council. First person commentaries are augmented by authentic 17th century Micmac music.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Rural Life, Native American / Northeast / 1986
49 minutes | Read More | Preview

Painted Bride
This 1990 video features the exquisite mehndi body painting tradition as it is practiced among Pakistani immigrants living in Queens, New York City. The film follows a mehndi artist, Shenaz Hooda, as she prepares a henna paste and paints intricate designs on the hands and feet of a bride-to-be, while the bride's friends sing humorous songs mocking the groom and the future in-laws.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Women, Festivals/Customs / Middle Atlantic / 1990
25 minutes | Read More | Preview

Paj Ntaub: Textile Techniques of the Hmong

Hmong textile art, Paj ntaub or "flower cloth" consists of textile arts traditionally practiced by Hmong people. The Hmong, a nomadic group originating in China, migrated through the centuries into Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Closely related to practices of other ethnic minorities in China, the embroidery consists of bold geometric designs often realized in bright, contrasting colors. Different patterns and techniques of production are associated with geographical regions and cultural subdivisions within the global Hmong community.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures / Northeast / 1996
40 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Parking Lot: An Oasis for Youth

A gritty glimpse into the youth culture of a small southern town, where cars serve as symbols of contested identities. Taped in Burlington, North Carolina

Customs, Play / South / 2004
22 minutes | Read More | Preview

People Who Take Up Serpents

Members of a branch of the Holiness churches who base their religious beliefs and practices on Bible verses, especially Mark 16:18. The members handle serpents, hold fire to their bodies, speak in tongues, lay hands on the sick and cast out devils.

Healing & Medicine, Religion / Appalachia / 1974
36 minutes | Read More | Preview

People's Stuff
People's Stuff is a document of six collectors of unusual objects. Creating an environment for storytelling, the subjects reveal inner dreams and motivations as they share both their collections and their lives with the viewer.
Arts, Visionary and Outsider, Aging / Midwest / 1992
23 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Performed Word
The Performed Word is African American folklorist Gerald L. Davis’ guided tour of African American expressive culture. Although he claimed to be “unchurched,” Davis explores with great depth and passion the African American sermon, expanding it into an exploration of the aesthetics of African American culture.
Music, Religion, African American Culture / Middle Atlantic / 1982
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

Pilebutts: Working Under the Hammer
A union-produced documentary about pile drivers, courageous men and women better known as "pilebutts," who secure structures like bridges and skyscrapers to the earth. Pilebutts weaves history and folklore into a modern story of individuals doing tough, often dangerous industrial work.
Work / West / 2003
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Pioneer Axe
This is a short film made by Peter Vogt in 1965 about axe making in Oakland, Maine. It documents the process of creating fine axes in the Emerson Stevens shop -- the last axe factory to operate in Oakland. Oakland was once a world-famous center of quality blade-making.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Regional / Northeast / 1965
10 minutes | Read More

The Pirogue Maker
In 1948, Robert Flaherty was working on "The Louisiana Story." He was searching for a small boat, or "pirogue" for his young hero. Flaherty soon became aware that pirogue-making was a disappearing art. Finally, when he found Ebdon Allemon, a Cajun craftsman, he persuaded him to make the pirogue. It may well have been the last piroque made in Louisiana. This is a record of that event.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional / South / 1949
14 minutes | Read More | Preview

Pizza Pizza Daddy-O
PIZZA PIZZA DADDY-O (1967) looks at continuity and change in girl's playground games at a Los Angeles school.
Narrative & Verbal Arts, Children, Play, African American Culture / West / 1968
18 minutes | Read More | Preview

Plenazos Callejeros

PLENA! A folkloric genre native to Puerto Rico whose creation was influenced by African and Caribbean music.

Music, Hispanic Culture / Caribbean / 2012
01 hour, 04 minutes | Read More

Plenty of Good Women Dancers

“Plenty of Good Women Dancers” features exceptional Philadelphia African American women tap dancers whose active careers spanned the 1920s-1950s.

Dance, Women, Urban Life, African American Culture / Northeast / 2004
53 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Popovich Brothers of South Chicago
Filmmaker Jill Godmilow (with folklorists Ethel Raim and Martin Koenig) made this film in 1977 when there was a community of 1100 Serbian-Americans families in South Chicago. They worked in steel mills, drove trucks, taught school, played tennis and golf, watched television, and went to church on Sunday. But what connected them to their family, church and community and provided the deepest expression of their identity was their traditional Serbian music and the Popovich Brothers were a constant source of that music.
Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music, Family / Midwest / 1978
59 minutes | Read More | Preview

Powerhouse for God
Powerhouse for God is a portrait of an old-fashioned Baptist preacher John Sherfy, his family, and their church in Virginia's northern Blue Ridge Mountains. Audiences who were born and raised among old-time southern Baptists say this film captures the fierce preaching, determined singing, autobiographical witnessing, and stern doctrine that characterizes these religious communities.
Religion / Appalachia / 1989
57 minutes | Read More | Preview

Prairie Churches

Showcases the diverse history and architectural traditions represented by 117 churches throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Religion, Canada / Midwest / 2008
56 minutes | Read More

Prairie Crosses

Prairie Crosses follows the traditional iron art form that crossed continents and oceans and survived famine and war to be reborn on the Great Plains of America and Canada.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Religion / Midwest / 2002
56 minutes | Read More

Prairie Quilts

Prairie Quilts explores the wonderful works of art, expressions of love, and legacies of comfort being made by contemporary quilters.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Women, Family / Midwest / 1999
28 minutes | Read More

Prince Albert Hunt
An experimental film by Ken Harrison, Dallas filmmaker, in the use of Super 8 film for television production. The film is a study of a Terrell, Texas, blues singer/fiddler of the late 20's.
Music, Regional / Southwest / 1974
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Put Me Down Easy: The Charlie McClendon Story

The Charlie McClendon Story explores the life and career of one of Norfolk, Virginia’s most talented Rhythm & Blues and Gospel artists. Though largely unknown to the general public, Charlie and his group were stalwarts at the night clubs of Church Street, Norfolk’s vibrant African American cultural hub, as well as unnamed backup bands on countless soul music package tours and a seminal studio presence for what became known as the “Norfolk Sound” during the 1960s, before leaving soul for gospel music.

Music, Religion, Aging, African American Culture / Middle Atlantic / 2013
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Quilts in Women's Lives
Quilts was a ground breaking film used by folklorists, anthropologists and historians of art and womens history that presented the lives, art, work and philosophy of ordinary women in the days when few documentaries came from women filmmakers. This deceptively simple film won most of the major awards for independent films during the years after its release in 1981, including Emily Grand Prize, American Film Festival; 1st Place Fine Arts, San Francisco International Film Festival; Best of Festival, National Educational Film and Video Festival, New York International Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Women / West / 1981
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Ranch Album

Ranch Album celebrates rough country ranching in Northern Arizona and shows real cowboy life.

Work, Agriculture, Rural Life / West / 1987
01 hour, 04 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Rapture Family
Bill Wiggins film about a family’s dedication to producing the religious drama “In the Rapture”; accompanies his film of that drama
Drama, Music, Religion, African American Culture / Midwest / 1976
59 minutes | Read More | Preview

Rattlesnakes: A Festival at Cross Forks, PA
The annual rattlesnake bagging contest at this tiny Appalachian festival includes a parade, a fair, firefighters’ contests, and a greased pig chase. A George Hornbein/Ken Thigpen film.
Festivals/Customs, Play, Rural Life, Sports/Hunting / Appalachia / 1992
24 minutes | Read More | Preview

Ray Lum: Mule Trader
Ray Lum (1891--1977) was a mule skinner, a livestock trader, an auctioneer, and an American original.
Narrative & Verbal Arts, Work, Agriculture / South / 1972
18 minutes | Read More | Preview

Rebuilding the Temple: Cambodians in America
After fleeing their country and the Khmer Rouge, this one hour documentary examines the Cambodian refugees' efforts to adjust to Western life and the significant role played by the Buddhist culture in this difficult process
Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Religion, Festivals/Customs, Asian American Culture / Any / 1991
57 minutes | Read More | Preview

Recipes from Grandma's Kitchen: Volume 2

From the Russian steppe to the American prairies, the resourcefulness of the Germans from Russia, particularly in the preparation of food for large families, has become a rich legacy. In German-Russian life, “food was love,” and prairie mothers who left no record of their lives are remembered daily in the recipes and rituals of food preparation.

Foodways, Women, Rural Life / Midwest / 2005
50 minutes | Read More

Red Alexander: Shipwright and Folk Artist
This video documents the passions of 80 year old "Red" Alexander: building ships (both model and real), wood working, and story telling. Red was encouraged by the sale of one of his first model ships to one of his school teachers. In 1934 he joined the Shipwrights, Joiners, and Boat Builders Union - local 1149, in the San Francisco Bay Area. After 46 years of building real ships Red retired in 1980 as dockmaster at the Pacific Drydock in Alameda, Ca. Today his kitchen is a studio where he makes detailed models of all types of ships and boats.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Aging / West / 1998
25 minutes | Read More | Preview

Remembering Emmanuel Church
An oral history of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Fauquier County, Virginia. The storytellers are masters-all of them members of the congregation from the old farming community tradition of Fauquier County. The stories, funny, sad, and scandalous, are memories of friends and family who are dead and buried in the churchyard.
Narrative & Verbal Arts, Religion, Rural Life / Middle Atlantic / 2000
37 minutes | Read More | Preview

Remembering The High Lonesome
Profiles filmmaker, photographer, artist, and musician John Cohen. The film examines the birth of a new artistic ethic and counterculture through John Cohen's involvement with the Beat Generation, abstract expressionist painters, and the Folk Music Revival, and it explores the role of an outsider documenting the life and arts of an Appalachian community.
Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Folkmusic Revival / Appalachia / 2003
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Revisiting Flaherty's Louisiana Story

In 2006, a group of students at Louisiana State University created short films revisiting the people and places of documentary maker Robert Flaherty's Louisiana Story.

/ South / 2006
01 hour, 04 minutes | Read More

/ Any /
00 minutes | Read More


Life and lore along the legendary Hudson River with a special appearance by Pete Seeger.

Regional, Social Justice/Protest / Northeast / 1980
16 minutes | Read More | Preview

Sadobabies: Runaways in San Francisco
A 1988 8mm video documentary about the street children of San Francisco. The video documents the expressive traditions of a group of young runaways who formed an alternative family in an abandoned high school building near Golden Gate Park. Shot in an urban setting with a "one-person crew," Sadobabies demonstrates small-format, low-budget production.
Customs, Children, Children, Family, Urban Life, Urban Life / West / 1988
30 minutes | Read More | Preview

Salamanders: A Night at the Phi Delt House
An annual, weekend party at a college fraternity, which includes swallowing live salamanders develops into a competition among coeds that has sexual overtones. A George Hornbein/Ken Thigpen film.
Customs, Festivals/Customs, Play / Middle Atlantic / 1982
12 minutes | Read More | Preview

Scandinavian Folk Music in Minnesota

Scandanavian Folk Music in Minnesota celebrates the musical and cultural legacy that grew out of the Scandinavian immigration to Minnesota- a legacy that is still being practiced by Scandinavian descendants and American musicians alike.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music / Midwest / 2014
20 minutes | Read More

Scandinavian Traditions

Scandinavian Traditions takes a nostalgic look at childhood memories and family traditions and shows us that there is more to being Scandinavian than Ole and Lena jokes — this heritage is something to celebrate!

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures / Midwest / 2002
59 minutes | Read More


Schmeckfest is a collection of vignettes filmed in the kitchens of cooks who remember milking cows on cold North Dakota mornings; at a cafe that still serves the traditional Knoepfla Soup; and at a modern Schmeckfest where, to use the literal definition of a Schmeckfest, people celebrate with a 'festival of food.'

Foodways, Aging / Midwest / 2000
55 minutes | Read More

The Sea Bright Skiff: Working on the Jersey Shore
The Sea Bright-style skiff dates back to the mid 1800s along the North Jersey Shore. Charles Hankins still hand-crafts these boats of New Jersey cedar and green oak, though they no longer serve as fishing vessels. He demonstrates the process of building the skiff, step by step.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work / Middle Atlantic / 1991
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Sermons in Wood

An interview with Elijah Pierce in his barbershop on Long Street in Columbus. He talks about his work and his life and shows how his carvings express his experiences and beliefs.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Religion, Aging, African American Culture / Midwest / 1980
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Shakers
THE SHAKERS traces the growth, decline, and continuing survival of this remarkable religious sect through the memories and songs of Shaker sisters in New Hampshire and Maine.
Music, Religion, Women / Northeast / 1974
30 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Sheep Stew Of Dundas: A Gastronomical Delight

This journey in search of the story of Dundas Sheep Stew and its preparation is poignant as we learn how fragile the tradition is; and it is filled at every turn with good humor and the extraordinary warmth of the people of Dundas. This documentary provides an unusual view back into the ways of our rural farm folk who took occasional breaks from the gruelling work of farming to come together around the cooking of a locally concocted stew, to enjoy fun and fellowship; and for the stewmaster and stew crews, a sip of whiskey here and there, some good-natured leg-pulling, and the comradery of a rural farm culture that occured around the stew-pot - not to mention the good eatin' that followed.

Foodways, Festivals/Customs, Rural Life / South / 2001
55 minutes | Read More

Showdown at the Hoedown
Music, Festivals/Customs, Play / South / 1976
57 minutes | Read More | Preview

Singing Fishermen of Ghana
Pete and Toshi Seeger documented work songs of a fishing community in Ghana, the West-African roots of the work-song tradition shown in the films "Afro American Worksongs in a Texas Prison" and "Gandy Dancers".
Music, Work / World / 1964
13 minutes | Read More | Preview

A Singing Stream: A Black Family Chronicle
The story of a gifted African American family from the rural South. With interviews and stories, and scenes from daily life, reunions, gospel concerts, and church services, the film traces the history of the Landis family of Granville County, North Carolina, over the lifetime of its oldest surviving member, 86-year-old Mrs. Bertha M. Landis.
Music, Religion, Women, Family, Aging, African American Culture, Social Justice/Protest / South / 1986
57 minutes | Read More

Sitting On Top of the World at the Fiddlers' Convention: Union Grove

The fiddlers' convention at Union Grove is the oldest bluegrass music festival of the U.S., held on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This film documents the intense hippy-ness of this festival during the 1970s.

Dance, Music, Regional, Folkmusic Revival / Appalachia / 1974
24 minutes | Read More


Delbert Smith, 88, a hereditary blacksmith, illuminates life around the forge.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Rural Life, Aging / Northeast / 1974
05 minutes | Read More

Sometimes I Run: Stanley Maupin, Sidewalk Flusher
1973 portrait of Stanley Maupin who cleans sidewalks at night for the Dallas Department of Sanitation. A film by Blaine Dunlap with music by Ken Watson.
Work, Urban Life / South / 1973
21 minutes | Read More

Sometimes It's Gonna Hurt
Bull-riding rodeo boys of Oklahoma!
/ West / 1983
27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Sonny Ford, Delta Artist
B/w 16mm documentary film based on fieldwork Ferris conducted with Leland, Mississippi, bluesman and folk artist James "Son" Thomas. Included is footage of Thomas performing at juke houses, his wife preparing dinner, and Thomas making skulls out of clay.
Music, Family, Rural Life, African American Culture / South / 1969
41 minutes | Read More | Preview

Sonny Terry: Shoutin' the Blues: Shoutin' the Blues
Shot in 1969, SHOUTIN' THE BLUES is a one shot, one story and one song short film of harmonica great, Sonny Terry. Seated in a motel room on Broadway in Oakland, California where he was filmed while on tour with Brownie McGhee, Sonny, with one small harmonica in his hand, creates a complex and soulful blues solo out of his whooping and hollering, after telling us the story behind the creation of that famous solo.
Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, African American Culture / South / 1969
05 minutes | Read More

Sonny Terry: Whoopin the Blues: Whoopin the Blues
Seated in a motel room on Broadway in Oakland, California where he was filmed while on tour with Brownie McGhee, Sonny, with one small harmonica in his hand, creates a complex and soulful blues solo out of his whooping and hollering, after telling the story of the context that gave birth to that solo
Music, Narrative & Verbal Arts, African American Culture / South / 1969
13 minutes | Read More

A Soulful Sound

Throughout their travels, this enduring ethnic group maintained their traditional religious music, their lullabies and folk songs, their vocal and instrumental music. "A Soulful Sound: Music of the Germans from Russia" blends expert commentary with performances of traditional music—in the original language—from regional talent.

Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music, Religion, Festivals/Customs / Midwest / 2005
56 minutes | Read More

Southern Stews: A Taste of the South

This spontaneously-shot surprising documentary looks across the South to see the connections between the folk heritage traditions of communal cooking in gigantic black iron pots stirred with wooden paddles maintained into the 21st century by culinary folk artisans called “stewmasters” with their stew crews.

Foodways, Festivals/Customs, Rural Life / South / 2002
56 minutes | Read More

Spirits in the Wood: The Chainsaw Art of Skip Armstrong
An in-depth portrait of a man, his art, his philosophy, and his creative process, this work cuts across folk and fine art boundaries to explore the energized world and works of chainsaw artist J. Chester "Skip" Armstrong. Skip describes the forces that drive him: "The chainsaw allows you that moment of thinking translated immediately into the act of creating."
Arts & Crafts, Traditional / Pacific Northwest / 1991
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Introduces viewers to the step show, an exciting dance style popular today among black fraternities and sororities. In addition to many rousing, crowd-pleasing performances, the program examines the cultural roots of steppin' in African dancing, military marching and hip-hop music, and discusses its contemporary social significance on college campuses.
Dance, African American Culture / Midwest / 1992
55 minutes | Read More | Preview

Stoney Knows How
Stoney Knows How is an extended interview with 'Stoney' St. Clair, an ebullient little man with the gift of gab of a circus tout and a fund of bizarre stories about tattooing and other matters. One of these is the tale of a Florida snake handler and tattoo artist who was squeezed to death by his own python. His widow made a fortune touring the South with the guilty snake. "After all," says Stoney, "how often do you get a chance to see a snake that's squeezed a man to death?" Not often, nor does one often have the opportunity to meet a man like Stoney. The filmmakers treat him with respect, fondness and appreciation, and he responds in kind. Vincent Canby, The New York Times.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Aging / South / 1981
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Style Wars
New York's legendary Kings of Graffiti own a special place in the hip hop pantheon. Style Wars is regarded by many as the definitive document of the emerging hip hop culture, an emblem of the original, embracing spirit that burst forth to the world from underground tunnels, uptown streets, clubs and playgrounds.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Dance, Music, Children, Play, Urban Life, African American Culture / Northeast / 1983
01 hour, 09 minutes | Read More | Preview

Swapping Stories

Tall tales, oyster shucking monsters, and some good old fashioned jokes are all on the menu in Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana.

/ South / 1998
26 minutes | Read More

Sweet Is the Day: A Sacred Harp Family Portrait
The story of the Woottens of Sand Mountain, Alabama, one of the key singing families who have helped Sacred Harp music survive and flourish for more than 150 years. The video explores how Sacred Harp singing is about more than just music - it is a life-shaping force, reflected by tradition, deep spiritual belief, and the community that embraces it.
Music, Religion, Family / Appalachia / 2001
59 minutes | Read More | Preview

Tales of the Supernatural
This film documents a group of teenagers telling urban legends, ghost stories and horror tales. The film explores how teenagers transmit horror stories, what the functions of such stories are for teenagers and the connection between transmission and function in the telling of tales. The film also relates these legends to media images.
Narrative & Verbal Arts / West / 1970
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

Talking Feet: Solo Southern Dance: Buck, Flatfoot and Tap
Talking Feet is the first documentary to feature flatfoot, buck, hoedown, and rural tap dancing, the styles of solo Southern dancing which are a companion to traditional old-time music and on which modern clog dancing is based. A film by old time music master, Mike Seeger.
Dance / South / 1987
01 hour, 27 minutes | Read More | Preview

Texas Style
"Texas Style" is an intimate look at rural Texas culture and the traditional fiddle music played on its back roads. With spirited rhythms and guitar accompaniment, Texas fiddling is a crowd pleaser that has influenced western swing and folk music across the country. This film centers on three generations of Westmoreland family fiddlers. From the elder H.D. Westmoreland to his grandson Wes III, already a state champion, we see the evolution of Texas fiddling.
Music, Festivals/Customs / Southwest / 1986
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Texas Tavola
The Tavola di San Giuseppe, an important religious event at which a single Sicilian-American family hosts almost 1,000 guests in honor of St. Joseph.
/ Southwest / 2007
34 minutes | Read More

They Live In Guinea

Within the context of the universal problem of how rural communities must contend with the complex forces of modernization, They Live in Guinea paints a sensitive portrait of the colorful and resourceful watermen who populate Guinea Neck on the Virginia shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

Agriculture / Middle Atlantic / 1996
51 minutes | Read More | Preview

They Sing Of A Heaven

This film documents sacred harp singing, a 200 year old tradition of religious singing which survives today in the rural South.

Music, Religion, Rural Life / South / 1972
20 minutes | Read More | Preview

This Cat Can Play Anything
A portrayal of the life and musical career of New Orleans banjo and guitar jazzman Emanuel 'Manny' Sayles, a man whose musical career has in many ways followed the development of American jazz itself. Also features Papa John Creach, Edmund Washington, and the Kid Thomas Band.
Music, Regional, Aging, African American Culture / South / 1977
29 minutes | Read More

This Is Our Slaughterhouse
This 22 minute documentary follows the ten workers of Broerman Poultry Processing, revealing their surprisingly close relationships, despite the gruesome nature of their job. The colorful interviews and raw supporting footage give new perspectives on family values, hard work, and what happens inside a slaughterhouse. The film was made by Matthew Broerman, a son of the owner of the slaughterhouse.
Work, Family, Rural Life / Midwest / 2000
22 minutes | Read More | Preview

Thoughts on Beagling
This video documents the breeding, training and hunting of the beagle, the world's most popular hound, by three passionate beaglers: Clayton Bright, a sculptor of sporting art from the wealthy Brandywine district of Pennsylvania; Roland Baltimore, an African American contractor from Middleburg, Virginia; and Claude Honeycutt, a devoutly religious gun dog man from the mountains of western North Carolina near Asheville.
Play, Rural Life, Sports/Hunting / Middle Atlantic / 1997
32 minutes | Read More | Preview

Thoughts on Fox Hunting
Features the legendary huntsman Melvin Poe and the hounds of the Orange County Hunt near The Plains, Virginia.
Rural Life, Sports/Hunting / Middle Atlantic / 1975
30 minutes | Read More | Preview

Til the Butcher Cuts Him Down: New Orleans Jazzman Punch Miller
Philip Spalding's study of the history and men who played New Orleans Jazz through the eyes of one of its greatest trumpet players: Punch Miller (died 1971). Kid Punch was renowned in New Orleans and played with all the greats from that city --King Oliver, Kid Ory, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong. This film is about his life and the changes that New Orleans music went through during his lifetime.
Music, Aging, African American Culture / South / 1971
53 minutes | Read More | Preview

Tinker: John Forshee
John Forshee was born about 1883 and died in 1974 at Cincinnatus, NY. He was a third generation tinsmith and he was filmed in 1973, using his grandfather's patented tinsmithing tools.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional / Northeast / 1973
11 minutes | Read More

To Hear Your Banjo Play
The story of Pete Seeger and the birth of banjo music throughout the Southern United States. Written by Alan Lomax and directed by Irving Lerner, this short feature includes performances from Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Baldwin Hawes, Sonny Terry, Brownee McGhee, Texas Gladden, and Margot Mayo's Square Dance Group.
Dance, Music, Folkmusic Revival / South / 1946
16 minutes | Read More | Preview

Tommie Bass: A LIfe in the Ridge and Valley Country
At the time of his death in 1996, "Tommie" Bass, was probably the most well-known herbalist in the United States. The subject of scholarly and popular books, television features, a front-page essay in the Wall Street Journal, and numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, Tommie Bass lived his entire life in the Ridge and Valley region of Alabama where he devoted himself to "trying to give ease" to the many people who sought his advice.. "Tommie Bass" is a biographical portrait of Mr. Bass, told almost entirely in his own words.
Healing & Medicine, Healing & Medicine, Narrative & Verbal Arts, Rural Life / South / 1993
49 minutes | Read More | Preview

Toot Blues
Wall to wall blues from unheralded artists. The film gives a glimpse of what is being lost and Tim Duffy's heroic efforts to document the passing.
Music, African American Culture / South / 2009
01 hour, 14 minutes | Read More | Preview

Tough, Pretty, or Smart: A Portrait of the Patoka Valley Boys
The portrayal of rural Indiana group, The Patoka Valley Boys, a six-person string band comprising one of America's finest old-time and bluegrass musical groups.
Music, Family, Regional, Rural Life, Sports/Hunting / Midwest / 1981
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Tradition Bearers

A documentary about Finnish American history and folk art expressed through the lives and repertories of our folk artists living in the western Great Lakes Region.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Music, Regional, Rural Life, Aging / Midwest / 1983
48 minutes | Read More

Two Black Churches

TWO BLACK CHURCHES" is based on fieldwork Bill Ferris conducted at a church in Vicksburg, Mississippi and at a church in New Haven, Conn. Footage includes a full immersion baptism, congregation members and preachers at both churches discussing their call to the faith, and scenes from worship services at both churches. The film contrasts the two approaches to worship at each church.

Music, Religion, African American Culture / South / 1975
19 minutes | Read More | Preview

Two Homes, One Heart: Sacramento Sikh Women and their Songs & Dances
Sikhs in Northern California celebrate special events with Giddha and Bhangra, songs and dances from their native land, Punjab, India.
Customs, Dance, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Women, Festivals/Customs / West / 1992
26 minutes | Read More | Preview

Unbroken Tradition
Unbroken Tradition is a portrait of Jerry Brown, a ninth generation potter from Hamilton, Alabama. It looks at the continuation of this family tradition since Jerry's great-great-great grandfather set up his potter's wheel in Georgia around 1800.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work / South / 1986
29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Uncle Dave Macon

Uncle Dave Macon, also known as "The Dixie Dewdrop"—was an American old-time banjo player, singer, songwriter, and comedian. Known for his chin whiskers, plug hat, gold teeth, and gates-ajar collar, he gained regional fame as a vaudeville performer in the early 1920s before becoming the first star of the Grand Ole Opry in the latter half of the decade.

/ South / 1980
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

United States Public Folklore: The Watershed Years
The intimate stories of how a few dedicated people changed US public policy and brought recognition and financial support to folk and traditional artists in the United States by creating and leading federal government efforts to support and present folk artists and folk cultures.
/ Middle Atlantic / 2008
57 minutes | Read More

The Urban Gospel Ministry of Robert and Lily Butler
Ms. Butler and her son, the Reverend Rober Butler, play at folk festivals and churches throughout New York City
Religion, Urban Life, African American Culture / Middle Atlantic / 1998
40 minutes | Read More | Preview

Water From Another Time
A film document of three elderly residents of Orange County, Indiana. Featured in the film are musician Lotus Dickey, clock builder and tinkerer Elmer Boyd, and self-taught artist Lois Doane.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Music, Women, Arts, Visionary and Outsider, Aging / Midwest / 1982
28 minutes | Read More | Preview


In 1965 New York filmmaker Holly Fisher focused her camera on the annual skipjack race on the Chesapeake Bay, and on skipjack captain Art Daniels. Over the next three years, she and her co-director, Romas Slezas, filmed Daniels, his family and his colleagues oystering and crabbing and living on the Chesapeake.

Work, Agriculture, Family, Rural Life / Middle Atlantic / 1968
01 hour, 00 minutes | Read More | Preview

The Watershed Years: US Public Folklore: The Watershed Years
Untitled Page

The late 1960's and the 1970's were watershed years for the American public folklore, during which several of the main national and international institutions in the field came into being and developed their signature programs. The Watershed Years unveils the stories of Alan Jabbour, Richard Kurin, Archie Green, Bess Lomax Hawes, and Dan Sheehy as they recount some of their experiences as active participants during this time of American folklore history.

/ Any / 2008
57 minutes | Read More

We Are Arabbers

We Are Arabbers follows the horse-and-wagon produce vendors along the streets of Baltimore, Maryland as they struggle to make a living and maintain their unique culture.

Customs, Foodways, Work, African American Culture / Middle Atlantic / 2004
01 hour, 21 minutes | Read More | Preview

We Shall Not Be Moved: A history of the Tillery resettlement community

During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was supposed to give sharecroppers a chance at land ownership. But for Black farmers in Tillery, North Carolina, government intervention only added to their long struggle for economic and social justice.

African American Culture, Social Justice/Protest / South / 2007
46 minutes | Read More

Weaving Bitter with the Sweet
A portrait of a Lao refugee woman Mone Saenphimmachak who seeks to overcome loss through the weaving for which her people are famous. Mone Saenphimmachak is a National Heritage Award winner.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Ethnic & Immigrant Cultures, Women, Costume/Dress, Asian American Culture / Midwest / 2003
30 minutes | Read More | Preview

Welcome to Spiveys Corner: The National Hollering Contest

In 1979 Keir Cline shot footage at the Tenth Annual National Hollerin’ Contest in Spivey’s Corner, a small crossroads community in southeastern North Carolina. The festival had been established to raise funds for the local volunteer fire department and to pay whimsical tribute to a kind of loud vocalizing that people on isolated farms used to communicate across distances in the years before they had telephones. “Welcome to Spivey’s Corner” features interviews with one of the early winners, Coharie Indian Leonard Emanuel, and performances by others who learned hollering as children.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Music, Festivals/Customs, Play, Rural Life / South / 1978
17 minutes | Read More | Preview

Well Known Stranger: Howard Finster's Workout
Well Known Stranger: Howard Finster's Workout takes an intimate look at artist Howard Finster as he conducts a workshop or a "workout" as he calls it, at Mountain Lake, Virginia. Finster talks at length about his many and varied methods of art making. He also sings and picks a mean banjo
Religion, Arts, Visionary and Outsider / Appalachia / 1987
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

When My Work Is Over: The Life and Stories of Miss Louise Anderson, 1921-1994
The gifted African American storyteller Louise Anderson (1921-1994) tells her family stories and folk tales, and recites poetry in this film taped in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in the last years of her life. Her sisters Evelyn Anderson and Dorothy McLeod join Louise in recalling their experiences growing up in the South, working in restaurants and as domestics in white households, and struggling for civil rights in the early 1960s.
Narrative & Verbal Arts, Women, Work, Costume/Dress, Aging, African American Culture, Social Justice/Protest / South / 2000
38 minutes | Read More | Preview

Where Do They All Go?
As a teenager, growing up in the mountains of rural northern Virginia, Jerry Payne asked "Animals are dying all the time. Where to they all go?"
Religion, Rural Life / Appalachia / 2013
42 minutes | Read More | Preview

Why The Cowboy Sings

The cowboy's job has always been dangerous, lonely, dusty, gory and low-paying. So why do cowboys make music, and why do they need to tell their story? Why the Cowboy Sings is a journey across the open West to explore this unique genre of folk art.

Music, Work, Rural Life, Native American / West / 2002
58 minutes | Read More | Preview

Wild Caught: The Life and Struggles of an American Fishing Town
WILD CAUGHT chronicles the lives of fisherman carrying out small scale, sustainable commercial fishing in the town of Snead's Ferry, North Carolina, and their struggles to keep afloat amidst a rising tide of cheap imports, stifling regulations, and coastal real estate development interests.
Work, Sports/Hunting, Social Justice/Protest / South / 2006
01 hour, 29 minutes | Read More | Preview

Winter Harvest

This film documents the activities of the Bear Creek Ice Company in northeastern Pennsylvania through interviews with former employees, who describe working conditions and the process of "harvesting" the ice from a string of five lakes.

Work, Rural Life / Middle Atlantic / 1987
20 minutes | Read More | Preview

With These Hands: The Story of an American Furniture Factory
In March 2007, unable to compete with cheaper offshore production, Hooker Furniture Company closed its plant in Martinsville, Virginia, after 83 years in operation. “With These Hands” follows the last load of kiln-dried wood down the assembly line as it is cut, honed, and assembled into fine furniture. Along the way, employees at the factory share their perspectives on work, community, and survival in a country devastated by deindustrialization and outsourcing.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Social Justice/Protest / South / 2009
01 hour, 18 minutes | Read More | Preview

Women of Old Time Music: Tradition and Change in the Missouri Ozarks
Women of Old-time Music: Tradition and Change in the Missouri Ozarks takes on the commonly-held folk music scholarship assertion that women did not widely participate in old-time music in the Ozarks.Through performances and interviews with senior generations of women musicians in southern Missouri, the film illustrates the central role women played, and continue to play, in the development of old-time music, culture, and community identity.
Music, Women, Aging / Appalachia / 2003
54 minutes | Read More | Preview

Woodsmen and River Drivers
Men and women who worked for the Machias Lumber Company before 1930 share their recollections of the logging industry in Maine when they cut trees by hand, hauled logs to the river with horses, and floated them down to the mill. Remarkable documentary footage from the 1930's illustrate this dangerous and exhausting work.
Work, Regional, Rural Life / Northeast / 1989
28 minutes | Read More | Preview

Zampogna: The Soul of Southern Italy
Follow a young Italian-American's cultural odyessy though the depths of Italy's most remote and traditional regions, told through the story of Italian folk music.
Music / World / 2009
01 hour, 20 minutes | Read More | Preview

Zydeco: Creole Music and Culture in Rural Louisiana
Nick Spitzer film on African American dance-hall music in French-speaking southwest Louisiana, with Dolon Carriere, Armand Ardoin, and Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin.
Customs, Music, Festivals/Customs, Rural Life, African American Culture / South / 1986
55 minutes | Read More | Preview

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