Tom Davenport | Filmmakers on Folkstreams

Tom Davenport

TOM DAVENPORT (FOLKSTREAMS FOUNDER/DIRECTOR) is an independent filmmaker and film distributor living in Delaplane, Virginia. He was graduated from Yale University, went to Hong Kong with a Yale program to teach English in New Asia College, and spent several years in Taiwan studying Chinese language and culture and working as a still photographer. He began his work in film with documentary filmmakers Richard Leacock and D.A. Pennebaker in New York and made his first independent film in 1969 on the Chinese martial art of T'ai Chi. In 1970 he returned home to rural Virginia and started an independent film company ( with his wife, co-producer and designer, Mimi Davenport. They produced a series of live-action American adaptations of traditional folktales in a series called "From the Brothers Grimm" ( In the 1970s, Davenport began to collaborate with Dr. Daniel Patterson who then chaired the Curriculum in Folklore at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. They produced a series of documentary films about American Traditional Culture which are now streaming on Their collaboration led to the formation of Folkstreams in 2002. Davenport received the first Archie Green Award from the American Folklore Society which recognized Folkstreams as a visionary project, started at a time when streaming films on the web was in its infancy. The Award describes as "an extraordinary democratic initiative in public folklore and education, exponentially increasing the visibility of the field, and giving grassroots communities across the U.S. access to their own traditions, folklore, and cultural history."