Category Archives: Films
World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements interweaves the story of John Hunter, a teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his students’ participation in an exercise called the World Peace Game. The game triggers an eight-week transformation of the children from students of a neighborhood public school to citizens of the world. The film reveals how a wise, loving teacher can unleash students’ full potential.
The film traces how Hunter’s unique teaching career emerges from his own diverse background. An African-American educated in the segregated schools of rural Virginia, where his mother was his 4th grade teacher, he was selected by his community to be one of seven students to integrate a previously all-white middle school. After graduation, he traveled extensively to China, Japan, and India, and his exposure to the Ghandian principles of non-violence led him to ask what he could do as a teacher to work toward a more peaceful world.
Hunter teaches the concept of peace not as a utopian dream but as an attainable goal to strive for, and he provides his students with the tools for this effort. The children learn to collaborate and communicate with each other as they work to resolve the Game’s conflicts. They learn how to compromise while accommodating different perspectives and interests. Most importantly, the students discover that they share a deep and abiding interest in taking care of each other. World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements will inspire others by documenting the unheralded work of a true peacemaker.
West Main Street is a patient examination of the personal and civic histories connected by the short stretch of road in Charlottesville, Virginia. Intimate interviews with people who have lived and worked in this uniquely American setting home, the film offers a wistful, street-level perspective on the evolving nature of 20th-century communities.
Through the residents’ personal and often humorous memories and the use of archival photographs, West Main Street gradually weaves together the community’s past and present. Native and immigrant, black and white, resident, worker, and merchant: the inhabitants of West Main Street discover, often to their surprise, how their lives are linked to the fate of the road that physically connects them. Recounting how their hopes and dreams for the future were transformed by the realities of making a living, a career, or a family, their stories return to the common theme of community, even as they struggle to preserve it—along with their their wisdom and humility— through a time of unsettling change.
By documenting the transformation of one small neighborhood in a sleepy southern town, West Main Street confronts the forces of development that destroyed the town’s former center and the displacement that threatens things once held in common.
The documentary Route 40 explores one day along a five-mile stretch of the Pulaski Highway, an urban commercial strip in east Baltimore.
As the film moves through the morning and into night, the filmmakers cross paths with the inhabitants of various settings—from a gas station to a motel, a trailer park to a rollerrink, a strip joint to a fire department’s ambulance unit. Striking a light conversational tone, these people open up and discuss their lives, dreams, and regrets. Route 40 celebrates day-to-day life in an area where a cup of coffee is both a basic staple and a classic symbol.
Chicago International Film Festival—Silver Plaque (1986)
Sinking Creek Film Celebration—Festival Award (1987)
Athens Independent Film Festival—2nd Place, Documentary (1988)
Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, Pa.—Festival Award (1989)
Houston International Film Festival—Silver Award (1988)
Baltimore Independent Film Festival—2nd Place, Documentary (1989)
Santa Fe Film Expo (1989)
City Lore Film Festival, New York (1988)
Virginia Festival of American Film (1988)
University of Virginia (1987, 1989)
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (1988)
Vinegar Hill Theater, Charlottesville, Va. (1986)
Earthwatch Film Series, Boston (1991)
Short documentary film on Torres Strait Islander artist David Bosun.
Stars over the Sea focuses on Bosun’s one-month guest residency at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum at the University of Virginia. The film follows him as he works in various art forms, including print-making, sculpture and dance. This residency gave Bosun the opportunity to present his work to the Charlottesville, Virginia and University community as well as to teach students about his art and culture through a collaborative working relationship. Bosun’s mission as an artist is to preserve his people’s rich and long-lasting culture, which traces its roots back to Africa 70,000 years ago. His people’s deep knowledge of and strong respect for the land, sea and cosmos is at the center of his art, and through his work this knowledge is both passed along to future generations of Torres Strait Islanders while also shared with others around the world. For more information, please visit the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection web site.