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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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 Fannie Bell Chapman: Gospel Singer
 
Smithy

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

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

Watermen

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

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

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

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?"
Rural Life / Appalachia / 2013
42 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

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

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

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

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

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