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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at www.clsnet.org if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

20th Anniversary Blessings of Liberty, Collinsville

It was January 1992 when Brett Morgen, Jessica Kane and the Public Roads Production Company came to Collinsville to shoot the documentary that was year later shown on Bama Public TV.
Google Brett Morgen, Oscar Nominee who married into Sweet n Low; major profile in NY Times not long ago if you can google it up. Saw him in FlatRock about Four years ago.
Here are excerpts of the May 31, 1993 BHam Post Herald Feature by Elaine Witt on the screening of the effort at Collinsville, Baptist Church after Bob Dylan's son, Sam, helped edit it in L.A.

It's not everyday a small town gets to see itself Warts and All on the Silver Screen; a big lettered Sidebar Headline said on the back page of the A-section of that Monday issue.
From the article

It wasn't Cannes, but to Brett Morgen it might as well have been.
The 26 year pony tailed Californian lay awake the long night before he showed the Town of Collinsville, population 1500, the 68 minute documentary he'd made about it.
"I was so nervous about how they're going to receive the film," he said a few minutes before Wedsnesday nights screening of the film Blessings of Liberty," at the Collinsville Baptist Church (my Mother was baptized there and on May 28 2006 they had a significant conversation and set new direction for the church)

In the end there was a little tension over the disparity of views Morgen captured--particularly about race, class and economic opportunity in the Dekalb County village known best for its weekly Trade Day. (google Rick Bragg in Southern Magazine)
More prevalent were hugs and acclamations for the young outsider who came 17 months ago to find small town America, and managed to tell a twon a little bit about itself in the process......

And in a few places the Audience seemed to hold its breath. There was the scene of a fight that erupted between teenagers while the crew was filming a HS basketball game.
Casey Mattox, an 18 year old recent HS grad heading for U Virginia, said he and his friends had hoped the fracas wouldn't make it to the final cut.
"But when you saw it, it seemed like if he didn't use it, it would have been an injustice. It didn't start our racial, even though it was a black guy and a white guy fighting. But then when people came in to separate them, the whites were pushing the blacks away and the blacks were pushing the whites away."
......(later in the film) A member of a prominent local family seated on an immaculate white couch, offers a homily to the camera.
"If I could say one thing, I would say we all need to think positive, for this little town of Collinsville, Alabama and the USA. Positive thinking is the most important thing we have left in this country.
For the most part the film cast a golden light on the church and community life of Collinsville, a town where a red, white and blue barber pole still spins, and where you can still get a haircut for $3.00.
(Some) predictably thought the movie had overplayed the racial problems, though many thought the depictions were accurate.
Enough people liked the film for Morgen to leave with a list of people who want to order their own copies on video. And one woman asked in the film would ever show up at the movie theatre.
Morgen said the film has been accepted for screening at an international film festival. And He hopes to have it aired on Bama PBS (which it was, couple times)
"Here I am this Yankee coming here telling them how their town is, but the point of the film is, this could be Anytown, USA. My major concern was getting out of town alive, but I think I will be okay," he quipped.

Since, Morgen was nominated for Oscar for On the Ropes, and his Chicago Ten and the Kid Stays in the Picture got kudos from Robert Redford Himself. In fact I think you can google a conversation between Brett and Bob.

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