The trailer for a documentary film about the history of school desegregation and civil rights in Yazoo City by NOPA member David Rae Morris–a project partially funded by a Mississippi Humanities Council grant applied for via the Photo Alliance–premiered last Saturday, April 13, at the Jackson, Miss. area’s Crossroads Film Festival.
Morris is now seeking pledges for additional funding of $15,000 through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter in order to bring to the project to feature length. Details regarding the fundraising drive are listed below.
The setting of “Yazoo Revisited,” is the hometown of Morris’ father, the late author and onetime Harper’s Magazine editor Willie Morris. The elder Morris wrote extensively about Yazoo City in works including his memoir “North Toward Home.” Another of his books, 1972’s “Yazoo: Integration in a Deep Southern Town,” concerned the desegregation of the town’s schools.
It was not his father’s writing per se that sparked the project, however, but Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour’s news-making comments in 2010 about the town’s Civil Rights Era history. More specifically, Barbour told the conservative Weekly Standard magazine that he did remember the era as being so bad for race relations.
Morris notes that he had always been a still photographer. Still, he decided that documentary film would be the more appropriate medium for a reexamination of Yazoo City story in the wake of Barbour’s comments.
He now expects to have a 25-minute or so work-in-progress ready after the end of the June, when the initial grant period is completed. In order to expand the documentary to a planned feature length, however, he needs more funding. Consequently, he is seeking $15,000 in funding via the Kickstarter crowd-funding website, about $3,000 of which he had pledged thus far. If he does not reach his pledge goal by the morning of Sunday, May 13, he will not receive Kickstarter funding, and no money will change hands.
Morris noted that this funding would allow him to complete the first phase of his larger documentary project by the end of 2012. This phase will involve doing more interviews and research, securing archival footage and the completion of principal photography. Any funds raised over his goal will be applied to a second phase of the project, which will involve post-production, editing and the securing of rights for archival footage.