Filmmakers Focus Cameras On Personal Stories, Societal Issues

March 31, 2009

Author: Sarika Jagtiani

Source: Dover Post

Documentary films are vivisections of societal issues, and filmmakers are the ones on the inside doing the cutting.

“The greatest tool in the documentary toolmakers arsenal is unique access,” said Sharon Baker, founder and director of the Hearts and Minds Film Festival.

Now in its third year in Dover, the festival will share that unique access with audiences Saturday, April 4. Viewers will see inside the home of a Seaford woman who considers her more than 1,000 dolls substitutes for her daughters in “Kid Collector.” Or they can find out what happened when leaders in a small southern town decided to integrate a school dance in “Prom Night in Mississippi.” And in “Fremont, USA” audiences might take a look at cultural diversity in one California city, where a mosque and a church stand side-by-side on a street named Peace Terrace.

“I think we get more and better quality films every year,” Baker said.

This year, if there is a trend, it’s to focus more on a domestic agenda. For instance, “Talkin’ Water” looks at four teenage girls and their questions about race, class and community following Hurricane Katrina. And “Concrete, Steel and Paint” is about a group of men in maximum-security prison who work with crime victims to design and paint a mural about healing. Filmmakers from “Talkin’ Water,” “Concrete, Steel and Paint” and “Hearing Everett: The Rancho Sordo Mudo Story” will be attending the festival to discuss their work.

Although the directors of “Fremont, USA” will not be in attendance, they are thrilled to have their work screen at Hearts and Minds.