HERITAGE FILM PROJECT

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HFP is now developing a documentary film exploring Daniel Chester French’s formative years and his contributions to public sculpture, a lifetime commitment which ultimately led to more than 100 monuments and memorials.

 

His most well-known work is the seated Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. He also created The Minute Man in Concord, Massachusetts, the equestrian monument to George Washington in Paris and Alma Mater at the University of Columbia.

Chesterwood, the summer home, studio, and gardens of Daniel Chester French, is the principal location for this documentary now in production. Other locations being considered are New York City, Concord, Florence, Italy and Portland, ME.

Illustration by SHAWN FIELDS

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From the early 1700s to the Civil War enslaved and free Black fiddlers performed the music for dances and house parties hosted by elite plantation owners at their farms and town houses in the American south. For the Black community Black fiddlers played a very different role. Black fiddlers combined the European dance music they performed at these high-visibility White social events with ballads and songs, church hymns, African melodies and rhythms and their Caribbean variations to create a distinctive fusion music that served to bind together Black experience in the American south. In their music we hear a soundtrack of slavery. 

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The Other Madisons is a remarkable contribution to American history, documenting the process by which an oral tradition preserves, with exquisite fidelity, an important social record, in spite of, or perhaps in response to, suppression or neglect by exclusion, and racism.

In this documentary, Bettye Kearse traces her ancestry to Mandy, her family’s first African ancestor enslaved on American soil and who became the property of President James Madison's estate in Virginia, Montpelier. Kearse's research, her encounters with cultural institutions, and her travels to Ghana, Portugal, Virginia, and Texas provide the contextual background of this genealogical journey. The family mantra: "Always remember—you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president" has now achieved a new level, that of the documentary film experience. ​

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Alice Parker is a distinguished composer, conductor, and teacher of choral music. In a career that spans some seventy years, Alice found early prominence as protégé of conductor Robert Shaw, with whom she collaborated as researcher and arranger of folk songs, hymns and spirituals for the Robert Shaw Chorale. Alice’s compositional reach is extensive and inclusive, from children’s songs and church hymns to operas and large concert works. In “Alice: At Home with Alice Parker”, the composer collaborates with Eduardo Montes-Bradley in an intimate portrayal of her life that illuminates her artistic achievements and her extraordinary kindness and passion for life.

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Pablo Tabernero (1910-1996) was a distinguished cinematographer during the Golden Age of Argentine cinema. He is recognized for his unique contribution to Film Noire, and his work has been recognized by Jorge Luis Borges and exhibited at the MOMA.   

Shortly before his death, Tabernero started to write an autobiography. These unfinished memories were preceded by a revealing title: "Scenes in the life of a wandering Jew", a title that inspired writer-director Montes-Bradley to retrace the three decades previous to his arrival in Buenos Aires in an attempt to decipher his formative years and artistic evolution. In the process, the film gained with the reconstruction of Tabernero social background, his formative years in Berlin in between the two great wars, and through the Weimar experience ending with Hitler’s rise to power and the purge of Jewish cinematographers that forced into exile, some, to Barcelona. 

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