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Generation a story of art, healing, love, and escape

TRAILER:

RUNTIME:

20 minutes

CATEGORIES:

Art Film, Avant-Garde, Experimental, Screendance, Drama, Narrative, Arthouse, Underground

COMPLETION YEAR:

2018

HONORS & PAST FESTIVAL SELECTIONS:

  • 2018 NORTH BEACH AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL:
JURY AWARD FOR Best Experimental Film, Animation Film, or Music Video
  • 2018 EXPERIMENTAL FORUM:
HONORABLE MENTION AWARD FOR Pamela Woolford's "vision and the film's unique contribution to cinema"
  • 2018 CANADA SHORTS:
AWARD OF COMMENDATION
  • 2019 BLACK BOTTOM FILM FESTIVAL:
One of 20 official selections, alongside Oscar nominees If Beale Street Could Talk and Hale County This Morning, This Evening
  • 2019 BLACK CONTINENTAL INDEPENDENT MOVIE AWARDS (aka Black Cinema Awards)
special jury award for originality. BEST SHORT FILM NOMINEE.
  • 2018 WOMEN OF THE LENS FESTIVAL, London, UK
  • 2018 GENRE CELEBRATION FESTIVAL, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2018 KWANZAA IN AUGUST: UNBOXED AND UNBOUND FILMS, Washington, DC
  • 2018 UNDERGROUND FILMFEST, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 2018 GARY INTERNATIONAL BLACK FILM FESTIVAL, Gary, IN.
  • IN YOUR EAR, with novelist Morowa Yejide and poet Katy Bohinc, Washington, DC.

UPCOMING SCREENINGS:

(Updated with festival selections and screenings as they're scheduled.)

Lakefront Film Festival, Columbia, MD, July 25-28, 2019. Details TBA.

Pamela Woolford show at The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at the Smith Center, 1632 U St NW, Washington, DC, January-March 2020 (exact dates TBA). Generation will screen on a loop.

FAD Festival Collection: Film-Art-Dance on Tour North Carolina State University, cosponsors. Locations throughout U.S. and Canada. Tour schedule TBA.

Underground FilmFest Two screenings to date in Stockholm, Sweden for Underground FilmFest Stockholm. Additional Underground FilmFest international events TBA.

CONTACT:

For screenings, media interviews, downloadable photos, and Pamela Woolford talks/readings or for access to Generation media photos, contact us at GenerationTheMovie@gmail.com.

A poor farm girl reads classic literature to her abusive father, struggling mother, and six sisters and brothers, helping to forge a new existence for her family for generations to come.

Production stills by Denée Barr.

SYNOPSIS:

An elderly narrator revisits her youth, telling the story of her sister Mable, a poor farm girl who reads classic literature to their abusive father, struggling mother, and family of seven brothers and sisters, helping to forge a new existence for the family for generations to come. An experimental solo-screendance short, Generation is shaped by a script consisting entirely of two nearly identical voiceover monologues, echoing each other at various points and driving and chasing the film’s visual images. Generations of stories are symbolically intertwined in these images, representing memories of the past and visions of the future for this family and their unknown descendants.

Generation is about memory and storytelling and windows in time.

The story is inspired by the life of the filmmaker Pamela Woolford’s octogenarian mother, Sadie Woolford, who appears briefly in the film. Sadie grew up in rural poverty-stricken areas of North Carolina in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, where she would read classic novels and short stories to her family of ten sisters and brothers. In Generation, literary works of O. Henry—“The Gift of the Magi” and “The Last Leaf”—and the opening storyline of In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust serve to foreshadow…and inspire Mable, her mother, and their family’s fate.

“THE NARRATIVE, THE SPOKEN WORD OF THE OLD WOMAN...ARE QUITE LOVELY AND WONDERFUL AND FULL OF RICH IMAGERY.”

—Wynn Thomas, production designer for Hidden Figures, A Beautiful Mind, and Malcom X

"AN INTIMATE TECHNIQUE OF STORYTELLING...
"...INVOLVING MULTIPLE ART DISCIPLINES, INNOVATIVE USE OF DIALOGUE AND NARRATIVE.”

—C. Denise Johnson, New Pittsburgh Courier

"...THE STORYTELLING AND SETTING [ARE] A BEAUTIFUL AND HAUNTING MIX."

—Bonnie Thornton Dill, feminist scholar

"Pamela's visual and auditory expression adds layer after layer of emotion. I love the mystery, like I had stumbled upon some secret ritual to the past."

—Lindsey Yancich, Healing Arts Gallery coordinator

"I...was moved to tears. This is such a phenomenal film!

—Bevil Townsend, poet

"THIS IS A LOVELY AND GROUNDBREAKING FILM."

—Marita Golden, bestselling author

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

Generation is a tale of art, healing, love, and escape—escapism and physical flight. I chose the title to represent several of the concepts I explore here, generation of empowerment through the arts and nature, generation of fear and crushing stagnation through domestic abuse, and the power of a generation of people to inspire, threaten, or save the next generation. And of course, the general concept of generation as in generating art, strength, story….

I am a storyteller at heart. Everything I do as an artist—write, dance, make films—is based in that. This road I am on now began when I was so small. I got my storytelling tradition from my mother, who would read to me fairytales, myths, and short stories from some of her favorite authors, like Guy de Maupassant and O. Henry, who are referenced in the film—so is the work of Marcel Proust, though his name is not said. I grew up thinking certain writers of classic literature wrote stories for children because my mother never differentiated between them and the fairytales. In fact, she never spoke to me about any of the works at all. She read, and I’d let them wander around in my head and do their magic.

Pamela Woolford in Generation. Photo by Denée Barr.

So back to Generation. I adapted the script from my short story “Just After Supper,” which was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize by novelist and Pushcart Prize editor Mark Wisniewski. I was so proud to have that particular piece published—I had sent it out for years—because it represents so much of me, who I am, who I have been, and how I survive, and it represents my lineage, my people.

I believe I was born to write that story.

Screenshots from Generation Post-Production

My mother is also a writer, and a preacher—two forms of storytellers rolled up into one woman. “Just After Supper” is inspired by her life growing up dirt poor in rural North Carolina in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. She would get classic literature from one of the reading vans that used to travel to remote areas back then, lending books, and she’d read from these novels and stories to her family of ten sisters and brothers.

Sadie Woolford, Pamela's mother, in 1940s rural North Carolina

As a writer, I specialize in memoir and fiction inspired by true-life stories. Nature and the arts sustain me, and the sounds of the natural world serve nearly as a character in Generation. I wanted the words of the film’s double narration, the sounds of the natural world, and the visual images to come together in a journey for the senses, representing the relationship between the sensory world and inner peace, so sound is especially heightened.

Nature envelops Pamela in Generation.

My mother appears briefly in the film. In addition to her, I worked with award-winning fine-art photographer and multi-media artist Denée Barr, who shot the footage, and the beats were created by French African singer and beatmaker Loren The Storyteller, all of us women of African descent.

That’s meaningful to me. It’s a black woman’s tale.

Denée Barr, Pamela Woolford, and Sadie Woolford. Photo by Revolon Schmidt.

CAST & CREW

Denée Barr (Director of Photography)

Denée Barr is an award-winning fine-art photographer and multi-media artist. She has been the director of photography for films and music videos starring hip-hop artist Tokyo Cigar and shot a documentary film on her travels in China.

“I believe in celebrating what is not only seen by the eye, but felt from within the human spirit,” Denée says in an artistic statement for her photography.
Denée Barr on set of Generation.

Denée has lectured on photography at Towson University and lectured on photography and fine art at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. A recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant for artistic excellence in photography, Denee’s photographs have been exhibited in galleries in Maryland and the eastern Caribbean and at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, England. She has also been invited to exhibit at Modern Art Oxford. She has presentations archived at the American Folklife Center, the Library of Congress, and the Organization of American States. Her mixed-media works are in private and public collections, including the historic John A. Wilson Building City Hall Permanent Art Collection in Washington, DC, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Public Art Collection.

From the Washington Post article “When Art Is in the Picture” about Denee’s fine-art photography: Behind closed doors in the darkroom in her Columbia home, Barr leaves traditional photography behind and enters a world influenced by the concepts of physics, film techniques, the art of paper-making and theater. What emerges are multilayered works of art in which the photographic image is transformed, creating new visions out of such ordinary sights….
Screenshot from post-production

Sadie Woolford (Executive Producer, Co-star)

Ordained pastor, pastoral counselor, and memoirist Sadie Woolford has a long history creating and producing arts programs, worship services, and interfaith programs incorporating the arts for groups such as the Iota Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Growth Center community mental-health group, and Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, where she served as chaplain. Sadie has her master’s and Certificate of Advanced Study in pastoral counseling from Loyola University Maryland and a bachelor of science from Antioch University.

As a pastoral counselor, Sadie studied psychodrama, a method of using the art of acting in treating patients.

In college at Morgan State University, prior to attending Antioch, Sadie acted with the dramatic club, and in the 1970s to 1990s she acted in community theater, including productions by Columbia Cooperative Ministry and the drama club, which she founded, at St. John Baptist Church of Columbia, Maryland, where she is the last living founder and currently serves as associate pastor for pastoral care.

Generation set

In the 1970s Sadie booked and emceed the musical production Roots and Branches of Afro-American Sacred Music, performed by the St. John Baptist Church Adult Gospel Choir, about the history of Negro spirituals. In the mid-1990s Sadie served as president of the board of directors of Jambalaya, Inc., which showcased the work of people of African descent, including programs with now HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, filmmaker Haile Gerima, and poets E. Ethelbert Miller and Lucille Clifton. In 2017 she assisted with the writing of and co-starred, with her daughter Pamela Woolford, in the scripted vlog Truth & Story.

Sadie is currently writing her life story, From Farm Girl to Pastoral Counselor, excerpts of which are published in the collection of stories by seniors Journeys into Christmas edited by Jean Testerman and published by Warner Press and the upcoming Fantasma: An Anthology of Whispers edited by Adura Ojo and David Ishaya Osu.

Screenshots from Generation Post-Production

David Hester (Color and Audio Mix)

Emmy-nominated editor David Hester has more than 20 years experience in editing for film and broadcast television and is an editor for TV One. He has formatted two seasons of Fox network’s Empire; edited shows for Investigation Discovery, Oprah Winfrey Network, and The Learning Channel; provided technical and project coordination expertise for National Geographic Explorer, Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos, and The President’s Photographer: 50 Years in the Oval Office; and re-versioned and formatted programs for Discovery Communications networks, including Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, MythBusters, What Not to Wear, and programming for Shark Week.

Loren The Storyteller (Beatmaker)

Loren The Storyteller

French African singer and beatmaker Loren The Storyteller is the host of the podcast Tell ‘em Loren. She lives in Paris, France.

Pamela Woolford on set of Generation. Photo by Denée Barr.

Pamela Woolford (Writer, Director, Editor, Sound Designer, Lead Performer)

A Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award-winning screenwriter, a voiceover actor, and a modern and ethnic dancer, Pamela Woolford makes her film directorial debut with her experimental solo-screendance short Generation. Pamela’s connection to storytelling in all its forms—film, the written word, dance, acting—began in childhood, listening to her mother’s stories of growing up in rural North Carolina in the '30s, '40s, and ‘50s, a life far removed from her suburban upbringing. It was these tales that inspired her, decades later, to write her short story “Just After Supper,” from which she adapts the script for Generation.

Pamela Woolford in Generation. Photos by Denée Barr.

Pamela began her career in the arts in the 1990s, writing fiction and an award-winning screenplay; co-founding and directing Maryland Jambalaya-Fest, a celebration of the diversity of people of African descent; editing film reviews; and writing and editing profiles and interviews detailing the lives of artists and newsmakers. Soon she wrote human-interest stories as well for arts and cultural journals and The Baltimore Sun, where she wrote a weekly bylined column as a community correspondent.

In 2016 she wrote and directed film scenes for her multidisciplinary memoir collection Meditations on a Marriage. That year she was featured with an interview in the filmmakers’ site The Creative Outsiders. In 2017 she scripted and directed Truth & Story, a vlog co-hosted by her and her writer mother, Sadie Woolford.

Pamela on-set for Generation.

PAMELA'S WRITINGS ON FILM

As editor of Jambalaya Magazine, the journal spotlighting people of African descent which she co-founded in the 1990s, Pamela edited film reviews among other contents. In 1994 she published "Filming Slavery," her interview with independent filmmaker Haile Gerima after the release of his acclaimed film Sankofa, in Harvard University's Transition. Of her more than 100 published articles and essays, "Filming Slavery" is her most cited work and is cited in L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema edited by Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart (University of California Press, 2015) and Shaping the Future of African American Film by Monica White Ndounou (Rutgers University Press, 2014). “Filming Slavery” has been, over decades, required reading for courses at universities. Pamela has also profiled documentary filmmaker Jeff Bieber for The Baltimore Sun.

Pamela has been:

  • a Maryland State Arts Council Creativity Grant recipient;
  • Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award winner for screenwriting;
  • a Maryland House of Delegates Official Citation recipient for journalism;
  • a 2018 North Beach American Film Festival Jury Award winner for Best Experimental Film, Animation Film, or Music Video;
  • a 2018 Canada Shorts Award of Commendation recipient
  • a two-time 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee (one for “Just After Supper”);
  • a 2018 Experimental Forum Honorable Mention Award recipient for "vision and the film's unique contribution to cinema";
  • a 2016 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards finalist;
  • shortlisted for the 2017 Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize; and
  • a 2014 Rick DeMarinis Short Fiction Contest semifinalist at Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts.
Pamela Woolford in Generation. Photos by Denée Barr.

PAMELA'S PERFORMANCE BACKGROUND

A longtime student of various dance forms, including modern, West African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Katherine Dunham techniques, Pamela began performing as a dancer the same year she published “Filming Slavery,” becoming a member of Aurora Dance Company, a modern and West African troupe then in residence at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. She went on to perform, in concerts and at festivals, her own solo fusion choreography and solo Middle-Eastern choreography by others, including renowned world-fusion choreographer Dalia Carella. She has studied with choreographers MiaNaja al Sephira, Lotus Niraja, and the late Eva Anderson among others.

Screenshot from Generation post-production.

Having studied voiceover acting with dialect and voice instructor Nancy Krebbs, she performed her first voiceover recordings in 2003, doing PSAs for the City Museum of Washington, DC, and the Historical Society of Washington, DC. She studied acting at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, and in 2014 recorded voiceover for the play Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins at 1st Stage Theatre in McLean, Virginia.

She modeled for a representation of African enslavement for photographer Fabrice Monteiro and documented the experience in her 2017 essay “Here I Am Looking” for Eunoia Review, which has been translated into German for Briefe aus Amerika and accepted for the upcoming Fantasma: An Anthology of Whispers edited by Adura Ojo and David Ishaya Osu and Fury: Women's Lived Experiences During the Trump Era edited by Amy Roost and Mary McNaughton-Cassill.

Generation set

ARTIST MISSION STATEMENT

PAMELA WOOLFORD

As a writer, filmmaker, and performer, I am a multidisciplinary storyteller. As such I specialize in literary nonfiction stories, fiction inspired by true-life stories, and fiction inspired by the history of a people. I reflect on memories and intimate moments from my own life and the lives of others to increase visibility of underrepresented groups and to expand empathy.
My work is especially concerned with the lives of black women and girls and others whose joy, history, and inner life are underexplored in American media and popular art. My work is about truth.
I hope to tell the truth in a way that does not bow to fear, whether fear of my own thoughts or fear of the thoughts of others, so that I can take life's unsavory bits along with the lovely bits and lay them bare in the openness of the screen, the stage, the page. In so doing I endeavor to turn a particular space in the world into a source of communing, reaching beyond that particular to touch the lives of others.
Screenshot during Generation post-production.

LINKS & CONTACT INFO.

Keep up with news about Generation on Facebook.

Listen to the recent Fury podcast in which journalist and Snap Judgement contributor Amy Roost talks to Pamela Woolford about traumatizing effects of American politics, the healing power of art, and Pamela's film Generation.

Find out more about filmmaker Pamela Woolford, the art of screendance, and Pamela's celebration of her hometown and her mom's in Generation.

Learn more about Pamela Woolford and her works on her portfolio page--and get links to her social media accounts.

You can watch Pamela and Sadie in the 8-episode season of their Truth & Story vlog.

To arrange a Generation screening, media interview, or talk/reading with Pamela Woolford or for access to Generation media photos, contact us at GenerationTheMovie@gmail.com.

Credits:

Production stills by Denée Barr.

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