Stephen Wade. 1987. (Color, 54 minutes)
An hour-long WETA-TV documentary on musician Stephen Wade. Catching the Music describes the passing of the banjo from one player to the next. The film includes footage of Kirk McGee, Hobart Smith, Fleming Brown, Doc Hopkins, Roscoe Holcomb, Pete Steele, Uncle Dave Macon, and Virgil Anderson.
Margaret Hixon. 1986. (Color, 29 minutes)
This film records a rural wedding in the American Hispanic community of El Rito, New Mexico, with reminiscences and commentaries that show continuities, changes, and meanings in this rich tradition.
. 2011. (Color, 26 minutes)
Chuck Suchy: Sure am Glad to be Around is an intimate portrait of iconic North Dakota musician Chuck Suchy. He talks about his creative process, the lessons he learned as an artist in residence in Iceland, the influences on his music, and the challenges that are taking him far from his ranch in western North Dakota at a time when most musicians would be thinking about retiring.
Alan Govenar. 1985. (Color, 04 minutes)
This is one of three short films in the Living Texas Blues series. Cigarette Blues features Sonny Rhodes and the Texas Twisters performing at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, California.
Jack Ofield. 1977. (Black and White, 03 minutes)
Jack Ofield's 16-mm film shows the work of Henry Duncklee, who retired from his job as a circus sign painter in 1949, and begin building this circus of his own.
Veronica Diaferia. 2006. (Color, 33 minutes)
The New York real estate market forces the oldest store in Little Italy to shut down. The film is a portrait of a family, of the neighborhood that used to be and of the way the city changes in a blink of an eye. Behind the surface, the old store contain small treasures belonging to a part of Italy that does not exist anymore, not even in Italy.
Roberta Cantow. 1981. (Color, 32 minutes)
With verve and humor, this film shows the love/hate relationship that women have with the task of cleaning the family's clothes. As we see the clothes flapping in the wind and hear the voices - some proud, some angry, some wistful - we realize that doing laundry calls forth deep feelings about one's role in life.
Kim Shelton. 1988. (Color, 53 minutes)
American cowboys have been writing poetry for more than a century. Cowboy Poets profiles three cowboy reciters--Waddie Mitchell, Slim Kite and Wally McRae--representing three different aspects of the cowboy-poetry tradition. A Kim Shelton film.
Nancy Kelly. 1985. (Color, 29 minutes)
The cowgirls in this documentary are contemporary women aged six to sixty, who ride, rope and tough out the elements just as well as their more famous cowboy counterparts. The film spans three generations, telling the real life stories of two women and two little girls.
Nancy Kelly. 1981. (Color, 30 minutes)
This evocative documentary examines the plight of the ranchers of Nevada and California, who find their grazing areas increasingly threatened by many groups (even environmentalists) competing for use of the same public lands on which these ranchers depend.
Frank DeCola. 1968. (Black and White, 12 minutes)
George "Kid Shiek" Colar and the Olympia Brass Band are featured in this rare film about New Orleans Jazz, directed by Frank DeCola.
Jim Sharkey. 1999. (Color, 45 minutes)
Sid Luck is a fifth generation potter in Seagrove, North Carolina. This forty-five minute documentary explores his life and work, and the family heritage he hopes to pass on to his two sons, Jason and Matthew.
LeAnn Erickson. 1997. (Color, 52 minutes)
August 1996, in Uvalde, Texas: the Hernandez family holds a reunion, undoubtedly one of many such gatherings held that summer in small towns across the nation.
Alan Govenar. 1985. (Color, 10 minutes)
Deep Ellum, along with its legendary music scene built by the likes of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Lead Belly, and Bill Neely, all but disappeared with the construction of Central Expressway in the 1950s.
David Zeiger. 1996. (Color, 56 minutes)
In 1980, there were a few thousand Asian and Latino immigrants in Georgia. By 1994, there were more than 300,000. Displaced in the New South explores the cultural collision between Asian and Hispanic immigrants and the suburban communities near Atlanta where they settled.
Mimi Pickering. 1988. (Color, 38 minutes)
Born in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky, Gunning suffered a life of bitter poverty which became the fuel for dozens of moving songs about working people, the mines, and the great coal strikes of the twenties and thirties. Gunning's a cappella roots music is intercut throughout the interviews and archival footage.
Alan Lomax. 1991. (Color, 58 minutes)
Alan Lomax's examination of the talents and wisdom of elderly musicians, singers, and story-tellers, who perform not for fame or fortune but to preserve and share their culture.
Maureen Gosling. 1973. (Color, 37 minutes)
A glimpse into the life, food, and Mardi Gras celebrations of black Creoles in French Louisiana, featuring the stories and music of "Bois Sec" Ardoin and Canray Fontenot. Dry Wood is one of a number of Les Blank's critically acclaimed films on Lousiana life and culture. Hot Pepper, a film on zydeco great Clifton Chenier, is a companion to Dry Wood.
Debora Kodish. 2011. (Color, 38 minutes)
Klezmer is Eastern European Jewish folk music. In other parts of the country, klezmer seemed to disappear and then was revived. But in Philadelphia, the Hoffman family never stopped playing this music.
Jack Schrader. 1973. (Color, 06 minutes)
Edd Presnell, a mountain craftsman and native of Watauga County, North Carolina, demonstrates and comments on the construction of a dulcimer. Presnell learned his craft from his father-in-law. Film includes a brief performance on a finished dulcimer by his wife, Nettie.
Debora Kodish. 2012. (Color, 15 minutes)
"Elaine and Susan Say Goodnight to Mishegas" is a short playful documentary that tells the story of a song, explores how a significant local klezmer tradition is extended (and remains relevant), and meditates on the craziness of the world.
Carolyn Allport. 1974. (Color, 18 minutes)
Hundreds of people must remember going to Elijah Pierce's barbershop on Long Street, seeking Pierce's latest woodcarvings, spiritual conversation, or simply a haircut and gossip. They may have marveled at brightly colored animal figures, vivid carvings of sports heroes, or the ambitious Book of Wood depicting the life of Christ. Or, like artist Aminah Robinson, they may have entered another level of communication, discussing God's ''laws of life'' with Pierce.
''When I see his work now, it brings it all back,'' Robinson said. ''He hasn't really gone. His life is timeless and there's much left to be learned. . . . The smallest child can appreciate him. His work knows no age, race or gender barrier. It reaches all people.''
John Feeney. 1963. (Color, 19 minutes)
This documentary shows how an Inuit artist's drawings are transferred to stone, printed and sold. Kenojuak Ashevak became the first woman involved with the printmaking co-operative in Cape Dorset.
Peggy Bulger. 1988. (Color, 27 minutes)
Nikitas Tsimouris (1924 - 2001) brought the complex music of the tsabouna, a type of Greek bagpipe, to Tarpon Springs. In 1991, Tsimouris became the first Floridian to receive a National Heritage Fellowship.
LeAnn Erickson. 2007. (Color, 27 minutes)
The Farmall Promenade is an eight member, all male troupe of farmers who, as four male-'female' square dancing couples, perform across the Midwest. They have a passion for the dance but this isn’t your Grandpa’s square dancing. They perform all the favorites while perched atop antique tractors.
. 0000. (Color, 40 minutes)
This documentary explores what has happened to lifestyles of South Carolina sea slanders since slavery, through interviews with Gullah basket weavers, net makers, fishermen, educators, farmers, and "witch doctors" in contrast with antebellum, tourist oriented Charleston and fast paced commercial development
Tim Carrier. 1990. (Color, 57 minutes)
Family Across the Sea shows how scholars have uncovered the remarkable connections between the Gullah people of South Carolina and the people of Sierra Leone.
Bobby Taylor. 1975. (Color, 42 minutes)
Film of the singer/faith healer and folk artist Fannie Bell Chapman from Centreville, Mississippi. Footage includes Chapman and her family singing and praying during church services and at home, a healing service at the Chapman home, and Chapman "speaking in tongues" after healing.
Donna Campbell. 1994. (Color, 56 minutes)
Every spring for more than 75 years musicians from all over the country gather in the foothills of North Carolina at Fiddler's Grove. Susan and Donna Campbell's hour-long documentary on Fiddler's Grove, produced on the occasion of the festival's 70th anniversary
Frank Muhly, Jr.,
Peter O'Neill. 1979. (Color, 49 minutes)
A documentary about lettercutting, in both monumental inscriptions and on gravestones. The filmmakers were given complete access over a two year period to the work of the craftsmen of the John Stevens Shop in Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest business in the United States still in continuous operation in the same colonial building. It chronicles the work of John ‘Fud’ Benson, then the owner and principal designer, and, arguably, one of the most accomplished letter cutters in the world.
Michael Loukinen. 1982. (Color, 45 minutes)
A 1982 portrait of traditional Finnish American culture in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, highlighting the fragile community of memory connecting one with parents and grandparents. A Michael Loukinen production from Up North Films.
Amy Mills. 2002. (Black and White, 27 minutes)
Fire Dance presents the emerging art form called fire dancing, as practiced in the northwestern United States. The dancers explain their attraction to "playing with fire", how they learn and create new forms of fire dance, and why making their own equipment gives them a sense of pride.
. 2000. (Color, 27 minutes)
Join host Mark Greenig as he journeys through the lake country of Minnesota to meet with some of the best fish decoy carvers in the world. Meet John Jenson, Duey Johnston, Jay McEvers, Otis Lael, Bob Johnson, Lawrence Bethel, and others as they share web-dltheir stories and a few secrets to their success. Learn the history of fish decoys, how they work, and how they're made. Discover why fish decoys have evolved from being tools for survival to highly sought after works of art.
Alan Saperstein. 1986. (Color, 29 minutes)
A 1986 film about open sea sprimp fishing in Florida, showing the techniques, rituals, and superstitions of the African American, Anglo, and Mediterranean fishermen.
Nancy da Silveira. 1989. (Color, 29 minutes)
A portrait of the Portuguese-American dairy-farming community in the Chino Valley of southern California. This is one of the first films ever to document the experiences and culture of Portuguese Americans.
Mike Dunn. 1984. (Color, 27 minutes)
Seminole Indian women maintain the traditions of language, crafts, cooking, medicine, and song. These native Americans live on reservations in the vast swamp and waterways of the Everglade area in South Florida.
Steven Zeitlin. 1983. (Color, 58 minutes)
Presents a nostalgic tribute to the American medicine shows of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Shows a re-creation of a typical medicine show by veteran performers, as well as archival stills and film footage.
Patrick Mullins. 1993. (Color, 57 minutes)
A film on Irish immigrant musicians and their offspring, tracing the influences of family and community, ethnic identity, and American popular culture on the traditional music played in contemporary New York City.
Patrick Mullins. 1988. (Color, 52 minutes)
Beginning in April 1988, a number of oral histories and Irish traditional music and dance performances were videotaped for the documentary From Shore To Shore: Irish Traditional Music In New York City. Inevitably, many of these recordings were not able to be included in the original 57-minute documentary. This additional footage provides a retrospective look at a vibrant community of musicians, dancers, and audiences during one important era in the story of Irish traditional music in America.
Maggie Holtzberg-Call. 1994. (Color, 30 minutes)
Musical traditions and recollections of eight retired African-American railroad track laborers whose occupational folk songs were once heard on railroads that crisscross the South.
Jack Schrader. 1973. (Color, 14 minutes)
This remarkable film features field recordings of work chants of Gandy Dancers including aligning songs and chants to knock out slack in the rail.
Diane Reyna. 1992. (Color, 46 minutes)
The three day pageant celebrates the reconquest of New Mexico in 1692 by the Spanish over the Pueblo Indians. Interviews and scenes of Fiesta preparation, ultimately, raised issues that needed to be opened up for both Native Americans and Hispano specifically related to the portrayal of the Native Americans in the Fiesta.
. 1999. (Color, 57 minutes)
The Germans from Russia is the story of the Germans from Russia - agricultural pioneers on several continents whose quest for land and peace shaped them into a distinctive and enduring ethnic group.
Ken Harrison. 1981. (Color, 27 minutes)
Ken Harrison's 1981 profile of Johnny Gimble and his life in Western Swing. Johnny Gimble received an NEA National Heritage Award in 1994.
Bill Ferris. 1975. (Color, 21 minutes)
A 1975 account of the blues experience through the recollections and performances of B.B. King, James "Son" Thomas, Shelby "Poppa Jazz" Brown, James "Blood" Shelby, Cleveland "Broom Man" Jones, and inmates from Parchman prison.
Gretchen Robinson. 1981. (Color, 26 minutes)
For generations, the Schuyler family has lived and farmed around the Lowgap Community in North Carolina, and for generations they have produced singers who led revival meetings, attended singing schools, performed at old-time day-long singings, and sang in countless churches.
. 2009. (Color, 09 minutes)
The exquisite metal repoussé artistry and life experiences of Norik Astvatsaturov, formerly of Baku, Azerbaijan, now an American citizen in Wahpeton, North Dakota, reflect in microcosm the history and culture of Armenia.
Deborah Cohen. 1990. (Color, 59 minutes)
Going, Going, Going tells the story of aspiring auctioneer Mark Kuhn and how he learns his craft. Rural life is at the heart of the livestock's heritage and chosen profession. Going, Going, Going shows how the auctioneer pursuing this career fares among the shifting sands of today's disappearing rural world.
Deborah Wallwork. 1997. (Color, 58 minutes)
Mino-bimadiziwin: The Good Life is an engaging portrait of a community on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota where the peoples' lives revolve around the annual harvest of wild rice. Many wonderful and intimate moments show the hardships and rewards experienced by those who continue to live off the land.
Tom Mould. 2005. (Color, 24 minutes)
Folklorist Tom Mould explores the phenomenon of the kiln opening, when potters sell to collectors the products of a recently fired kiln.
Steven Zeitlin. 1993. (Color, 27 minutes)
A portrait of six older Americans, each with their roots in a unique cultural heritage and each with a powerful perspective on the nature of aging.
. 1950. (Color, 23 minutes)
Anna Mary Robertson Moses better known as "Grandma Moses" did all of her painting from remembrance of things past. She liked to sit quietly and think, she once said, and remember and imagine. "Then I'll get an inspiration and start painting; then I'll forget everything, everything except how things used to be and how to paint it so people will know how we used to live."
Judy Peiser. 1972. (Color, 10 minutes)
Othar Turner, a fife-maker and musician, owns his farm in the Gravel Springs community in northwest Mississippi. The rhythmical music he and his friends play is called "fife and drum." A 1971 film by Bill Ferris, Judy Peiser, and David Evans from the Center for Southern Folklore.
David Simpson. 1995. (Color, 56 minutes)
Nowhere in America does a stretch of pavement slice through a more vibrant and diverse cross-section of humanity than Chicago's Halsted Street. Along its length one can view a dozen nationalities, a thousand lifestyles -- the American melting pot at full boil.
Caroline Babayan. 2000. (Color, 49 minutes)
Over preparations of a sumptuous Armenian meal of stuffed vegetables (dolma), five Armenian-American women discuss their feelings of alienation from their ethnic community and their desire to relate to their cultural heritage on their own terms.
Sol Korine. 1978. (Color, 29 minutes)
A candid portrait of the Tennesse ballad singer, story-teller, and part-time moonshiner Hamper McBee.
. 2001. (Color, 01 hours, 00 minutes)
From the coalfields of West Virginia to the factories of Baltimore, Hazel Dickens has lived the songs she sings. Interviews with Hazel and fellow musicians such as Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, and Dudley Connell are interwoven with archival footage, recent performances, and 16 songs including “Mama’s Hand,” “ Working Girl Blues,” and “Black Lung.”
Don Owens. 1965. (Color, 14 minutes)
This short documentary offers a dizzying view of the Mohawk Indians of Kahnawake who work in Manhattan erecting the steel frames of skyscrapers.
Anne Lewis. 1999. (Color, 28 minutes)
Ethel Caffie-Austin, daughter of the coalfields, is West Virginia's "First Lady of Gospel Music." This program features Ethel performing a range of spirituals, hymns and contemporary gospel numbers that represent the rich cultural heritage of African American Song and worship.
Gary Wand. 1975. (Color, 01 hours, 04 minutes)
A rare 1975 film on a rural impoverished community in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. This remarkable film deals with stereotypes of improvised rural life, but unfolds into a sympathetic view of the community and their suspicion of outsiders.
Benjamin Shapiro. 1992. (Color, 27 minutes)
A film about the efforts of Sea Islanders in South Carolina and Georgia to preserve their cultural identity and cope with the development of the islands as exclusive resorts.
Ernst Edward Star,
Steven Zeitlin. 1975. (Color, 19 minutes)
This 1974 documentary produced in the era before video cameras chronicles the tradition of home movies in American family folklore. It explores the common themes in family films, and features three individual families as they watch their home movies, suggesting how these documents structure family memory.
Ali Colleen Neff. 2006. (Color, 15 minutes)
The home of the Double-Headed Eagle is a kaleidoscopic work of visionary architecture created by the Reverend H. D. Dennis and his wife, Margaret Dennis. A 2006 film made by folklore graduate student Ali Colleen Neff and filmmaker Brian Graves.
Carrie Aginsky. 1980. (Color, 40 minutes)
A history of rural southeastern traditional American music, as told and played by Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrard. Mike and Alice recount their own involvment with this music, and briefly trace its history as we meet their mentors: the late Tommy Jarrell, Lily May Ledford, Roscoe Holcomb, Elizabeth Cotton and many other musicians.
Michael Ford. 1975. (Color, 27 minutes)
Folklife in the hill county of northern Mississippi in the early 1970s.
Douglas Wikinson. 1949. (Color, 10 minutes)
This classic short film shows how to make an igloo using only snow and a knife. Two Inuit men in Canada’s Far North choose the site, cut and place snow blocks and create an entrance--a shelter completed in one-and-a-half hours.
Irving Saraf. 1980. (Color, 28 minutes)
Harry Lieberman, at age 102, shares with wit and wisdom his art, which celebrates Talmudic lore and Jewish life in long-ago Eastern Europe, in this documentary which describes his transformation from retired businessman to artist who, in his old age, is "living on the top of the world."
Judy Peiser. 1978. (Color, 04 minutes)
Meet Tom Johnson and his praying pigs. "Been fooling with them hogs for 35 long years," Johnson says in the film as he rocks on the porch of his modest residence near Bentonia, Mississippi. "It's just an idea that I took up. It's a play thing. And it put me into something that I didn't get out of too easy and so soon."
Bill Ferris. 1975. (Color, 22 minutes)
16mm color documentary based on fieldwork William Ferris conducted with African American storytellers and bluesmen in the communities of Leland and Rose Hill, Mississippi. The stories include include folk and religious tales, jokes, toast telling sessions, and characters from African American oral tradition.
Iris Torres. 2002. (Color, 23 minutes)
This documentary follows a group of people opposing the city of Philadelphia’s “takings” of private homes: the little-known downside of the city’s “redevelopment” initiative.
Stephen Shearon. 2010. (Color, 55 minutes)
A comprehensive look ca. 2007 at southern gospel convention singing, an amateur, Christian, music-making and educational tradition that developed in rural America following the Civil War. Includes interviews of prominent figures in the tradition and segments on singings, singing schools, gospel quartets, songwriting, music publishing, convention piano, and dinner-on-the-grounds.
Al Clayton. 1991. (Black and White, 47 minutes)
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. Mark 16: 18
William Wiggins. 1976. (Color, 59 minutes)
A religious drama staged by members of the Second Baptist Church in Bloomington, Indiana.
Tom Davenport. 1973. (Color, 15 minutes)
It Ain't City Music was filmed at the National Country Music Contest at Lake Whippoorwill in Warrenton, Virginia, in 1972. "Any country song you hear nowadays, the guy's either in jail or just got divorced," notes a man who continues, "but it's their lives and they write songs about it."
John English. 1977. (Color, 29 minutes)
By the time "It's A Mean Old World" was filmed, Reverend Pearly Brown had been struggling to survive singing gospel music for nearly 40 years. While the rough sound of his bottleneck playing has the feel of a life spent scuffling on the street, the poignancy of his voice is a better measure of the gentle spirit and inner strength of the man.
Stan Woodward. 1980. (Color, 44 minutes)
With all the native wit, rib tickling humor and ability to see what makes the South the South found in the literary classics of Southern writers like Mark Twain, documentary filmmaker Stan Woodward helps us discover the common thread that connects the South’s people across all social, economic, political and racial boundaries – Grits! “Grits is us” - or, if we are to be grammatically correct, “Grits are us” - could easily be the title of this uproariously funny and at the same time insightful and poignant personal documentary.
Tony De Nonno. 1972. (Color, 08 minutes)
Young Italian American shoemaker John Prince, following in his father Tony's footsteps, invites you into his shop to share the pleasure and pride he feels from his work.
Judith Mcwillie. 1986. (Color, 09 minutes)
J. B. Murray (1908-1988) was a farmer who lived in rural Glascock County, Georgia, near the community of Mitchel. When he was approximately seventy years of age, believing he had experienced a vision from God, he began writing a non discursive script on adding machine tape, wall board, and stationery. He described it as "the language of the Holy Spirit, direct from God" and interpreted it using a bottle of water as a focusing device.
Alan Lomax. 1990. (Color, 58 minutes)
Alan Lomax's overview of the Jazz scene in New Orleans with interviews and performances by Majestic Band, the Preservation Hall Band (Willie Humphrey, James "Sing" Miller, Emanuel Sayles, Alonzo Stewart, Kid Thomas Valentine and Chester Zardis) and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Greg Davis, Charles Joseph, Kirk Joseph, Roger Lewis, Jenell Marshall and Ephrem Townes) at the Glass House and participating in a funeral parade.
Mike Hazard. 1996. (Color, 28 minutes)
Jim Northrup: With Reservations is a half-hour portrait of the Anishinaabe / Ojibwe / Chippewa writer/activist from Naagajiwanaang (Fond du Lac) in northern Minnesota. A lively mix of powwows, wild ricing, a moose hunt, the sugar bush, the Vietnam Wall and life on the Rez, we follow Northrup traveling all over the country, living his life in the circle of the seasons.
John Winninger. 1981. (Color, 59 minutes)
Joy Unspeakable examines the question, what does it mean to be Pentecostal, through the documentation of three types of Oneness Pentecostal services in Southern Indiana: a gospel-rock concert, a regular Sunday service, and a camp meeting. Religious behavior, doctrine, and social values are discussed by several Oneness Pentecostal church members and ministers in interviews interspersed with footage of the various services. A film by John Winninger and folklorists Elaine Lawless and Betsy Peterson.
Michal Goldman. 1987. (Color, 01 hours, 15 minutes)
A Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden was the first film to document the klezmer revival, tracing the efforts of two founding groups, Kapelye and Boston's Klezmer Conservatory Band, to recover the lost history of klezmer music. A Michal Goldman film.
Sharon R. Sherman. 1979. (Color, 32 minutes)
From the placing of an order to the completion of the last stitch, the film details the entire process of creating a traditional Lone Star quilt. As the quilt grows, so does our knowledge of Kathleen Ware's vibrant spirit as quiltmaker, wife, mother, and grandmother. A film by Sharon Sherman.
Olga Nájera-Ramírez. 1996. (Color, 26 minutes)
Based on five seasons of ethnographic fieldwork centered in Sunol, California and extending to other parts of the United States and Mexico, La Charreada examines the significance of Mexican rodeo in the lives of Mexicanos living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border on both sides of the border.
Myriam Fuentes. 2005. (Color, 23 minutes)
Portrayal of four renowned Puerto Rican décima troubadours as they come together to revive the Roundtable tradition and to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of Don Quixote de la Mancha.
John M. Bishop,
Worth W. Long. 1979. (Color, 58 minutes)
In the late 1970s Alan Lomax traveled to Mississippi with filmmaker John Bishop and folklorist Worth Long and made this film about the African American music he found there.
Alvaro Toepka. 1998. (Color, 52 minutes)
The Language You Cry In tells an amazing scholarly detective story reaching across hundreds of years and thousands of miles, from 18th century Sierra Leone to the Gullah people of present-day Georgia. It shows how African Americans have retained powerful links to their African past despite the horrors of the Middle Passage and the long years of slavery and segregation. The film dramatically demonstrates the contribution of contemporary scholarship to restoring what narrator Vertamae Grosvenor calls the “non-history” imposed on African Americans: “This is a story of memory, how the memory of a family was pieced together through a song with the powers to connect those who sing it with their roots, their silent history.”
Jack Ofield. 1974. (Color, 10 minutes)
Harvey Ward, age 87, carves beautiful grained shovels with a double edged axe.
Barry Dornfeld. 2003. (Color, 29 minutes)
LaVaughn Robinson, a National Heritage Fellowship award winner, was a tap-dance virtuoso on the big-band circuit in the 1940s and ’50s who became a master teacher and a major force in tap’s revival.
Dan Kossoff. 1981. (Color, 28 minutes)
Portrait of Lucreaty Clark (1903 - 1986), an African American oak basket maker from rural Florida. Clark embraced a wide repertoire of traditional African American songs, games and folk knowledge essential to rural life. She was a remarkable representative of an era that seems very far away today.
Yasha Aginsky. 1983. (Color, 26 minutes)
A portrait of Southwestern Louisana's Balfa Brothers, ambassadors of traditional Cajun music to the world. Filmed in Louisiana between 1978 and 1981, the film focuses on the surviving brother fiddler Dewey Balfa and his efforts to continue playing and performing his family's traditional music after the sudden death of his brothers Rodney and Will in a traffic accident.
Ali Colleen Neff,
Jerome Williams. 2006. (Color, 29 minutes)
Hip-hop and Blues in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Top Notch and Da Fam as well as performances by blues artist Terry "Big T" Williams and gospel singer Martha Raybon.
Iris Thompson Chapman. 2004. (Black and White, 27 minutes)
The story of the last African American fiddle player in North Carolina whose unique style of music has been passed down in his family for over three hundred years.
Jack Ofield. 1983. (Color, 06 minutes)
Dubbed the “Grandma Moses of Virginia,” Emma Serena Dillard “Queena” Stovall (December 20, 1888–June 27, 1980) painted scenes of people and activities in rural Virginia.
Gwendolyn Clancy. 1985. (Color, 29 minutes)
Henry Elijah "Lige" Langston was born in 1908 in the Great Basin outback on a homestead. He worked his entire life as a wrangler and rawhide braider in the region known as the Sagebrush Corner of northeastern California and northwestern Nevada.
Debbie Wei. 2002. (Color, 26 minutes)
“Look Forward and Carry on the Past": Stories from Philadelphia’s Chinatown” illustrates the strength and complexity of Philadelphia’s only remaining community of color in the city’s center. The documentary attends to the role of folk arts and community cultural expression in the community’s continuing struggles for respect and survival.
Bill Ferris. 1975. (Color, 18 minutes)
A 1975 Bill Ferris film that features artists from a number of different craft traditions discussing and demonstrating their work, including quilting, sculpting, house building, and basketmaking. Artists in the film include James "Son" Thomas, Shelby "Poppa Jazz" Brown, Richard Foster, Othar Turner, Louise Williams, Esther Criss, Leon Clark, Amanda Gordon, Mary Gordon, Lester Willis.
Rob Roberts. 2005. (Color, 24 minutes)
This video examines the tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing in Madison County, North Carolina and how both documentary work and the power of family and community have influenced that tradition.
Jack Ofield. 1983. (Color, 14 minutes)
Mario Sanchez is a self-taught artist. In a series of wood reliefs, hand-chiseled on cedar boards, he paints memories of his childhood in Key West, Florida, recording for posterity a distinctive part of the American scene.
Michael Loukinen. 1991. (Color, 01 hours, 21 minutes)
Fiddlers and dancers from Native and Metis families of the northern United States and Canada carry on the musical traditions passed down from early settlers. The film weaves tunes, dance, and oral history together to reveal an older and broader vision of America.
Jeff Porter. 1995. (Color, 28 minutes)
A documentary on the Brooklyn St. Paulinus Festival. This film explores ethnicity, cultural traditions, and religious devotion as the performers, participants, and community members explain the significance of the festival.
. 1998. (Color, 56 minutes)
The Mennonites of Manitoba is the story of a modest, peaceful, religious people. A people who have fled from Holland to Poland, from Poland to Ukraine, and from Ukraine to Manitoba, where they have held on to their distinctive culture and common history for 125 years.
Steven Zeitlin. 1978. (Color, 18 minutes)
Long before the advent of hip-hop as a multi-million dollar industry, African Americans were rapping and rhyming in the street, in their neighborhoods, and on the fish market docks in Washington DC. A 1978 film by academy award winning filmmaker Paul Wagner with folklorist Steve Zeitlin and Jack Santino.
John Lightfoot. 1998. (Black and White, 17 minutes)
The Minneapolis Wrestling Club is a 16mm documentary film about four old-school, Midwestern professional wrestlers. With roots in vaudeville and the carnival sideshow, early professional wrestlers were a rare combination of athlete, circus performer and thug.
Judy Peiser. 1974. (Black and White, 18 minutes)
From 1968 to 1970, Bill Ferris travelled from farms, to jooks to homes collecting music he felt best expressed the richness of the Mississippi Delta.
Irving Saraf. 1983. (Color, 28 minutes)
Chief Thunder's artistry is the testament of a great American folk artist.The film captures the tragedy of his life, his painful isolation, the beauty of his work, and his creative process.
Anne Lewis. 1991. (Color, 28 minutes)
Eastern Kentucky's Morgan Sexton cut his first banjo out of the bottom of a lard bucket, and some seventy years later won the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Award for his "amazingly pure and unaffected singing and playing style." In this program, the eighty-year-old Sexton shares his life and music.
Stan Woodward. 2006. (Color, 01 hours, 51 minutes)
Morris Peeples is a film that sets out to document a 93 year-old barbecue master as he cooks a hog in the old fashioned way - the way that farmers in the Springfield community in South Carolina have cooked in this Edisto River region in Barnwell County.
Andrew Kolker. 1983. (Color, 23 minutes)
A video examining the unique history and culture of one of America's least known ethnic groups, the Spanish-speaking "Islenos" who live in the bayous east of New Orleans and are celebrated for their tradition of decimas -- long, descriptive ballads about events in their lives or notorious local characters. A film by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker.
Sol Korine. 1981. (Color, 25 minutes)
Boot-camp count-off chants, jump-rope rhymes, and carny barks are featured in this fast-moving sampler of “proto-music” from the imaginations and versatile mouths of southern folk musicians.
Beth Harrington. 1993. (Color, 29 minutes)
This documentary follows a group of Italian-Americans from Boston's North End to their ancestral hometown, Sciacca, Sicily, to participate in the Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso (also known and celebrated in Boston as the Fisherman's Feast)
Elaine Velazquez. 1989. (Color, 58 minutes)
High in the mountains of Laos the Yiu Mien lived as they had for centuries until the Vietnam War forced them to leave their homeland and come to America....catapulted from one century into another. MOVING MOUNTAINS is the story of these refugees caught between two worlds.
Samantha Davidson Green. 2009. (Color, 26 minutes)
When Mr. Jimmy Moore challenged himself to run 80 kilometers in 1 day for his 80th birthday, his small Mississippi town got behind him to see if they too could "run their age," from age 8 to 80. Mr. Jimmy's quest reveals how a retired railroad man-turned extreme athlete could face the death of his wife and the limitations of his aging body to "enjoy life right up to the end."
Susan Levitas. 1996. (Color, 56 minutes)
The Music District is a one-hour documentary profiling four African American traditional music groups practicing and performing for fans and congregants in the neighborhood churches and nightclubs of Washington, D.C. The film features the Orioles (r&b quartet); Junk Yard Band (go-go); The Kings of Harmony (United House of Prayer shout band); and The Four Echoes (jubilee quartet). A film by Susan Levitas from California Newsreel.
Joan Ross. 1991. (Color, 27 minutes)
Séamus was 12 years old when he began playing the fiddle. As a young musician he traveled throughout Ireland, meeting and playing music with some of the legends of Irish music. Seamus Connolly is one of the world's most respected master Irish traditional musicians and teachers.
Melissa Shepard Sykes. 1993. (Color, 59 minutes)
A celebration of the rich heritage of southern traditional music and the people who created it. This performance documentary focuses on three different styles of blues, stringband music, and AfroCuban bembe drumming. The production explores the contributions of their root cultures African, British Isles, and Caribbean and weaves the music together with memories, history and music.
Katherine Gulla. 1986. (Color, 26 minutes)
Shot on location in Palermiti and the Boston area of Massachusetts, MY TOWN/MIO PAESE shows the family, cultural and religious ties between immigrants and their paesani in Southern Italy. The documentary features La Festa della Madonna della Luce (the feast of the Madonna of Light) in both countries and the story of the patron saint’s legendary miracles as told by three generations of Italians and Italian-Americans.
Rayson Alex K.. 2008. (Color, 14 minutes)
This is a 15-minute documentary on the life and culture of a gypsy community called Narikuravar, settled in Villupuram, in the state of Tamilnadu in south India. The documentary has been produced by National Folklore Support Centre, Chennai, as a part of the Community Digital Archive Project, funded by TATA Educational Trust. Folkstreams is hoping to help other countries archive and streams films about their own traditional cultures and this is our first experiment in International cooperation.
Arlene Bowman. 1986. (Color, 40 minutes)
Film student Arlene Bowman (Navajo) travels to the Reservation to document the traditional ways of her grandmother.
John M. Bishop. 1983. (Color, 28 minutes)
This 1984 film by John Bishop and Nicholas Hawes presents seven of the finest traditional musicians as they play in their homes and at dances and contests, passing their styles to younger fiddlers, and commenting on their music. Featured are Ron West (Yankee), Paddy Cronnin (Irish), Ben Guillemette(Quebecois), Wilfred Guillette (Quebecois), Harold Luce (Yankee), Gerry Robichaud (Maritime), and the Cape Breton style of Joe Cormier
Jim Sharkey. 2000. (Color, 55 minutes)
A.R. Cole began building a barn in 1927 and asked his wife if it should be for tobacco or pottery. She did not have a preference and realized it was to be for pottery when the rafters were too short for tobacco. Thus continued the Cole family tradition begun in the 1600s in Staffordshire, England. Neolia (who was born on the day in 1927 when A.R. fired his first batch of pottery) and Celia, his daughters, continue the tradition today with Neolia's grandson, Kenneth, at their shop in Sanford, NC.
Margaret Hixon. 1981. (Color, 29 minutes)
Hixon's film documents a real-life wedding in the Old Believer settlements of Marion County, Oregon, in the years 1979 and 1980. The film briefly touches on a wealth of traditional arts (embroidery, clothing construction, weaving, vernacular architecture, folk song and foodways) and beautifully presents a whole series of rituals -- the "devichnik" (engagement party), "selling" the bride and her braid, the wedding feast, the bargaining over the dowry, and the ceremony of bestowing gifts and advice to the newlyweds. In English and Russian with subtitles or voice-over translations.
Jack Ofield. 1983. (Color, 12 minutes)
Ralph Fasanella was born on Labor Day, 1914 in New York's Little Italy neighborhood to Joe the Iceman and Ginevre the Buttonhole Maker from Bari, Italy. His rough childhood among impoverished immigrants, service in the Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War, labor union activism and committed humanitarianism are captured in his panoramic paintings of New York and, especially, of New England industrial mills and striking workers.
Jack Ofield. 1973. (Color, 06 minutes)
An Onondaga father and son make lacrosse sticks in the traditional way.
Jack Schrader. 1973. (Color, 05 minutes)
Demonstration of and commentary on the mountain craft of building wooden farm sleds by Ott Blair, a native of Heaton, North Carolina. Discussion includes first selling sled and his attitudes toward economic self-sufficiency.
Harald Prins. 1986. (Color, 49 minutes)
This 1986 film examines the traditional Native American craft of split ash basketmaking as a means of economic and cultural survival for Aroostook Micmac Indians of northern Maine. This documentary of rural off-reservation Indian artisans aims to break down stereotypical images. Basketmakers are filmed at their craft in their homes, at work on local potato farms and at business meetings of the Basket Bank, a cooperative formed by the Aroostook Micmac Council. First person commentaries are augmented by authentic 17th century Micmac music.
Susan Slyomovics. 1990. (Color, 25 minutes)
This 1990 video features the exquisite mehndi body painting tradition as it is practiced among Pakistani immigrants living in Queens, New York City. The film follows a mehndi artist, Shenaz Hooda, as she prepares a henna paste and paints intricate designs on the hands and feet of a bride-to-be, while the bride's friends sing humorous songs mocking the groom and the future in-laws.
Joyce Smith. 1996. (Color, 40 minutes)
Hmong textile art, Paj ntaub or "flower cloth" consists of textile arts traditionally practiced by Hmong people. The Hmong, a nomadic group originating in China, migrated through the centuries into Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Closely related to practices of other ethnic minorities in China, the embroidery consists of bold geometric designs often realized in bright, contrasting colors. Different patterns and techniques of production are associated with geographical regions and cultural subdivisions within the global Hmong community.
Tom Mould. 2004. (Color, 22 minutes)
A gritty glimpse into the youth culture of a small southern town, where cars serve as symbols of contested identities. Taped in Burlington, North Carolina
Stan Woodward. 1974. (Color, 36 minutes)
Members of a branch of the Holiness churches who base their religious beliefs and practices on Bible verses, especially Mark 16:18. The members handle serpents, hold fire to their bodies, speak in tongues, lay hands on the sick and cast out devils.
LeAnn Erickson. 1992. (Color, 23 minutes)
People's Stuff is a document of six collectors of unusual objects. Creating an environment for storytelling, the subjects reveal inner dreams and motivations as they share both their collections and their lives with the viewer.
Gerald Davis. 1982. (Color, 58 minutes)
The Performed Word is African American folklorist Gerald L. Davis’ guided tour of African American expressive culture. Although he claimed to be “unchurched,” Davis explores with great depth and passion the African American sermon, expanding it into an exploration of the aesthetics of African American culture.
Archie Green. 2003. (Color, 28 minutes)
A union-produced documentary about pile drivers, courageous men and women better known as "pilebutts," who secure structures like bridges and skyscrapers to the earth. Pilebutts weaves history and folklore into a modern story of individuals doing tough, often dangerous industrial work.
Peter Vogt. 1965. (Black and White, 10 minutes)
This is a short film made by Peter Vogt in 1965 about axe making in Oakland, Maine. It documents the process of creating fine axes in the Emerson Stevens shop -- the last axe factory to operate in Oakland. Oakland was once a world-famous center of quality blade-making.
Arnold Eagle. 1949. (Black and White, 14 minutes)
In 1948, Robert Flaherty was working on "The Louisiana Story." He was searching for a small boat, or "pirogue" for his young hero. Flaherty soon became aware that pirogue-making was a disappearing art. Finally, when he found Ebdon Allemon, a Cajun craftsman, he persuaded him to make the pirogue. It may well have been the last piroque made in Louisiana. This is a record of that event.
Bess Lomax Hawes. 1968. (Black and White, 18 minutes)
PIZZA PIZZA DADDY-O (1967) looks at continuity and change in girl's playground games at a Los Angeles school.
Mariana Reyes-Anglero. 2012. (Color, 01 hours, 04 minutes)
PLENA! A folkloric genre native to Puerto Rico whose creation was influenced by African and Caribbean music.
Debora Kodish. 2004. (Color, 53 minutes)
“Plenty of Good Women Dancers” features exceptional Philadelphia African American women tap dancers whose active careers spanned the 1920s-1950s.
Ethel Raim. 1978. (Color, 59 minutes)
Filmmaker Jill Godmilow (with folklorists Ethel Raim and Martin Koenig) made this film in 1977 when there was a community of 1100 Serbian-Americans families in South Chicago. They worked in steel mills, drove trucks, taught school, played tennis and golf, watched television, and went to church on Sunday. But what connected them to their family, church and community and provided the deepest expression of their identity was their traditional Serbian music and the Popovich Brothers were a constant source of that music.
Jeff Titon. 1989. (Color, 57 minutes)
Powerhouse for God is a portrait of an old-fashioned Baptist preacher John Sherfy, his family, and their church in Virginia's northern Blue Ridge Mountains. Audiences who were born and raised among old-time southern Baptists say this film captures the fierce preaching, determined singing, autobiographical witnessing, and stern doctrine that characterizes these religious communities.
. 2008. (Color, 56 minutes)
Showcases the diverse history and architectural traditions represented by 117 churches throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Minnesota.
. 2002. (Color, 56 minutes)
Prairie Crosses follows the traditional iron art form that crossed continents and oceans and survived famine and war to be reborn on the Great Plains of America and Canada.
. 1999. (Color, 28 minutes)
Prairie Quilts explores the wonderful works of art, expressions of love, and legacies of comfort being made by contemporary quilters.
Ken Harrison. 1974. (Color, 29 minutes)
An experimental film by Ken Harrison, Dallas filmmaker, in the use of Super 8 film for television production. The film is a study of a Terrell, Texas, blues singer/fiddler of the late 20's.
Jon Lohman. 2013. (Color, 29 minutes)
The Charlie McClendon Story explores the life and career of one of Norfolk, Virginia’s most talented Rhythm & Blues and Gospel artists. Though largely unknown to the general public, Charlie and his group were stalwarts at the night clubs of Church Street, Norfolk’s vibrant African American cultural hub, as well as unnamed backup bands on countless soul music package tours and a seminal studio presence for what became known as the “Norfolk Sound” during the 1960s, before leaving soul for gospel music.
Pat Ferrero. 1981. (Color, 28 minutes)
Quilts was a ground breaking film used by folklorists, anthropologists and historians of art and womens history that presented the lives, art, work and philosophy of ordinary women in the days when few documentaries came from women filmmakers. This deceptively simple film won most of the major awards for independent films during the years after its release in 1981, including Emily Grand Prize, American Film Festival; 1st Place Fine Arts, San Francisco International Film Festival; Best of Festival, National Educational Film and Video Festival, New York International Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival.
Gail Steiger. 1987. (Color, 01 hours, 04 minutes)
Ranch Album celebrates rough country ranching in Northern Arizona and shows real cowboy life.
William Wiggins. 1976. (Color, 59 minutes)
Bill Wiggins film about a family’s dedication to producing the religious drama “In the Rapture”; accompanies his film of that drama
Kenneth Thigpen. 1992. (Color, 24 minutes)
The annual rattlesnake bagging contest at this tiny Appalachian festival includes a parade, a fair, firefighters’ contests, and a greased pig chase. A George Hornbein/Ken Thigpen film.
Bobby Taylor. 1972. (Color, 18 minutes)
Ray Lum (1891--1977) was a mule skinner, a livestock trader, an auctioneer, and an American original.
Lawrence R. Hott,
Claudia Levin. 1991. (Color, 57 minutes)
After fleeing their country and the Khmer Rouge, this one hour documentary examines the Cambodian refugees' efforts to adjust to Western life and the significant role played by the Buddhist culture in this difficult process
. 2005. (Color, 50 minutes)
From the Russian steppe to the American prairies, the resourcefulness of the Germans from Russia, particularly in the preparation of food for large families, has become a rich legacy. In German-Russian life, “food was love,” and prairie mothers who left no record of their lives are remembered daily in the recipes and rituals of food preparation.
Chris Simon. 1998. (Color, 25 minutes)
This video documents the passions of 80 year old "Red" Alexander: building ships (both model and real), wood working, and story telling. Red was encouraged by the sale of one of his first model ships to one of his school teachers. In 1934 he joined the Shipwrights, Joiners, and Boat Builders Union - local 1149, in the San Francisco Bay Area. After 46 years of building real ships Red retired in 1980 as dockmaster at the Pacific Drydock in Alameda, Ca. Today his kitchen is a studio where he makes detailed models of all types of ships and boats.
Tom Davenport. 2000. (Color, 37 minutes)
An oral history of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Fauquier County, Virginia. The storytellers are masters-all of them members of the congregation from the old farming community tradition of Fauquier County. The stories, funny, sad, and scandalous, are memories of friends and family who are dead and buried in the churchyard.
Barry Dornfeld. 2003. (Color, 27 minutes)
Profiles filmmaker, photographer, artist, and musician John Cohen. The film examines the birth of a new artistic ethic and counterculture through John Cohen's involvement with the Beat Generation, abstract expressionist painters, and the Folk Music Revival, and it explores the role of an outsider documenting the life and arts of an Appalachian community.
. 2006. (Color, 01 hours, 04 minutes)
In 2006, a group of students at Louisiana State University created short films revisiting the people and places of documentary maker Robert Flaherty's Louisiana Story.
. . (Black and White, 00 minutes)
Jack Ofield. 1980. (Color, 16 minutes)
Life and lore along the legendary Hudson River with a special appearance by Pete Seeger.
Nancy Kalow. 1988. (Color, 30 minutes)
A 1988 8mm video documentary about the street children of San Francisco. The video documents the expressive traditions of a group of young runaways who formed an alternative family in an abandoned high school building near Golden Gate Park. Shot in an urban setting with a "one-person crew," Sadobabies demonstrates small-format, low-budget production.
Kenneth Thigpen. 1982. (Color, 12 minutes)
An annual, weekend party at a college fraternity, which includes swallowing live salamanders develops into a competition among coeds that has sexual overtones. A George Hornbein/Ken Thigpen film.
. 2014. (Color, 20 minutes)
Scandanavian Folk Music in Minnesota celebrates the musical and cultural legacy that grew out of the Scandinavian immigration to Minnesota- a legacy that is still being practiced by Scandinavian descendants and American musicians alike.
. 2002. (Color, 59 minutes)
Scandinavian Traditions takes a nostalgic look at childhood memories and family traditions and shows us that there is more to being Scandinavian than Ole and Lena jokes — this heritage is something to celebrate!
. 2000. (Color, 55 minutes)
Schmeckfest is a collection of vignettes filmed in the kitchens of cooks who remember milking cows on cold North Dakota mornings; at a cafe that still serves the traditional Knoepfla Soup; and at a modern Schmeckfest where, to use the literal definition of a Schmeckfest, people celebrate with a 'festival of food.'
Louis Presti. 1991. (Color, 28 minutes)
The Sea Bright-style skiff dates back to the mid 1800s along the North Jersey Shore. Charles Hankins still hand-crafts these boats of New Jersey cedar and green oak, though they no longer serve as fishing vessels. He demonstrates the process of building the skiff, step by step.
Carolyn Allport. 1980. (Color, 27 minutes)
An interview with Elijah Pierce in his barbershop on Long Street in Columbus. He talks about his work and his life and shows how his carvings express his experiences and beliefs.
Frank DeCola. 1974. (Color, 30 minutes)
THE SHAKERS traces the growth, decline, and continuing survival of this remarkable religious sect through the memories and songs of Shaker sisters in New Hampshire and Maine.
Stan Woodward. 2001. (Black and White, 55 minutes)
This journey in search of the story of Dundas Sheep Stew and its preparation is poignant as we learn how fragile the tradition is; and it is filled at every turn with good humor and the extraordinary warmth of the people of Dundas. This documentary provides an unusual view back into the ways of our rural farm folk who took occasional breaks from the gruelling work of farming to come together around the cooking of a locally concocted stew, to enjoy fun and fellowship; and for the stewmaster and stew crews, a sip of whiskey here and there, some good-natured leg-pulling, and the comradery of a rural farm culture that occured around the stew-pot - not to mention the good eatin' that followed.
Sol Korine. 1976. (Color, 57 minutes)
Peter Seeger. 1964. (Black and White, 13 minutes)
Pete and Toshi Seeger documented work songs of a fishing community in Ghana, the West-African roots of the work-song tradition shown in the films "Afro American Worksongs in a Texas Prison" and "Gandy Dancers".
Tom Davenport. 1986. (Color, 57 minutes)
The story of a gifted African American family from the rural South. With interviews and stories, and scenes from daily life, reunions, gospel concerts, and church services, the film traces the history of the Landis family of Granville County, North Carolina, over the lifetime of its oldest surviving member, 86-year-old Mrs. Bertha M. Landis.
Max Kalmanowicz. 1974. (Black and White, 24 minutes)
The fiddlers' convention at Union Grove is the oldest bluegrass music festival of the U.S., held on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This film documents the intense hippy-ness of this festival during the 1970s.
Jack Ofield. 1974. (Color, 05 minutes)
Delbert Smith, 88, a hereditary blacksmith, illuminates life around the forge.
Blaine Dunlap. 1973. (Black and White, 21 minutes)
1973 portrait of Stanley Maupin who cleans sidewalks at night for the Dallas Department of Sanitation. A film by Blaine Dunlap with music by Ken Watson.
Sol Korine. 1983. (Color, 27 minutes)
Bull-riding rodeo boys of Oklahoma!
Josette Ferris. 1969. (Color, 41 minutes)
B/w 16mm documentary film based on fieldwork Ferris conducted with Leland, Mississippi, bluesman and folk artist James "Son" Thomas. Included is footage of Thomas performing at juke houses, his wife preparing dinner, and Thomas making skulls out of clay.
Yasha Aginsky. 1969. (Color, 05 minutes)
Shot in 1969, SHOUTIN' THE BLUES is a one shot, one story and one song short film of harmonica great, Sonny Terry. Seated in a motel room on Broadway in Oakland, California where he was filmed while on tour with Brownie McGhee, Sonny, with one small harmonica in his hand, creates a complex and soulful blues solo out of his whooping and hollering, after telling us the story behind the creation of that famous solo.
Rick Paup. 1969. (Color, 13 minutes)
Seated in a motel room on Broadway in Oakland, California where he was filmed while on tour with Brownie McGhee, Sonny, with one small harmonica in his hand, creates a complex and soulful blues solo out of his whooping and hollering, after telling the story of the context that gave birth to that solo
. 2005. (Color, 56 minutes)
Throughout their travels, this enduring ethnic group maintained their traditional religious music, their lullabies and folk songs, their vocal and instrumental music. "A Soulful Sound: Music of the Germans from Russia" blends expert commentary with performances of traditional music—in the original language—from regional talent.
Stan Woodward. 2002. (Color, 56 minutes)
This spontaneously-shot surprising documentary looks across the South to see the connections between the folk heritage traditions of communal cooking in gigantic black iron pots stirred with wooden paddles maintained into the 21st century by culinary folk artisans called “stewmasters” with their stew crews.
Sharon R. Sherman. 1991. (Color, 28 minutes)
An in-depth portrait of a man, his art, his philosophy, and his creative process, this work cuts across folk and fine art boundaries to explore the energized world and works of chainsaw artist J. Chester "Skip" Armstrong. Skip describes the forces that drive him: "The chainsaw allows you that moment of thinking translated immediately into the act of creating."
Jerald B. Harkness. 1992. (Color, 55 minutes)
Introduces viewers to the step show, an exciting dance style popular today among black fraternities and sororities. In addition to many rousing, crowd-pleasing performances, the program examines the cultural roots of steppin' in African dancing, military marching and hip-hop music, and discusses its contemporary social significance on college campuses.
Bruce "Pacho" Lane. 1981. (Color, 29 minutes)
Stoney Knows How is an extended interview with 'Stoney' St. Clair, an ebullient little man with the gift of gab of a circus tout and a fund of bizarre stories about tattooing and other matters. One of these is the tale of a Florida snake handler and tattoo artist who was squeezed to death by his own python. His widow made a fortune touring the South with the guilty snake. "After all," says Stoney, "how often do you get a chance to see a snake that's squeezed a man to death?" Not often, nor does one often have the opportunity to meet a man like Stoney. The filmmakers treat him with respect, fondness and appreciation, and he responds in kind. Vincent Canby, The New York Times.
Tony Silver. 1983. (Color, 01 hours, 09 minutes)
New York's legendary Kings of Graffiti own a special place in the hip hop pantheon. Style Wars is regarded by many as the definitive document of the emerging hip hop culture, an emblem of the original, embracing spirit that burst forth to the world from underground tunnels, uptown streets, clubs and playgrounds.
. 1998. (Color, 26 minutes)
Tall tales, oyster shucking monsters, and some good old fashioned jokes are all on the menu in Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana.
Jim Carnes. 2001. (Color, 59 minutes)
The story of the Woottens of Sand Mountain, Alabama, one of the key singing families who have helped Sacred Harp music survive and flourish for more than 150 years. The video explores how Sacred Harp singing is about more than just music - it is a life-shaping force, reflected by tradition, deep spiritual belief, and the community that embraces it.
Sharon R. Sherman. 1970. (Black and White, 26 minutes)
This film documents a group of teenagers telling urban legends, ghost stories and horror tales. The film explores how teenagers transmit horror stories, what the functions of such stories are for teenagers and the connection between transmission and function in the telling of tales. The film also relates these legends to media images.
Mike Seeger. 1987. (Color, 01 hours, 27 minutes)
Talking Feet is the first documentary to feature flatfoot, buck, hoedown, and rural tap dancing, the styles of solo Southern dancing which are a companion to traditional old-time music and on which modern clog dancing is based. A film by old time music master, Mike Seeger.
Bruce "Pacho" Lane. 1986. (Color, 28 minutes)
"Texas Style" is an intimate look at rural Texas culture and the traditional fiddle music played on its back roads. With spirited rhythms and guitar accompaniment, Texas fiddling is a crowd pleaser that has influenced western swing and folk music across the country. This film centers on three generations of Westmoreland family fiddlers. From the elder H.D. Westmoreland to his grandson Wes III, already a state champion, we see the evolution of Texas fiddling.
Circe Sturm. 2007. (Color, 34 minutes)
The Tavola di San Giuseppe, an important religious event at which a single Sicilian-American family hosts almost 1,000 guests in honor of St. Joseph.
Jonathan Mednick. 1996. (Color, 51 minutes)
Within the context of the universal problem of how rural communities must contend with the complex forces of modernization, They Live in Guinea paints a sensitive portrait of the colorful and resourceful watermen who populate Guinea Neck on the Virginia shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
Jerry Stimpfle. 1972. (Color, 20 minutes)
This film documents sacred harp singing, a 200 year old tradition of religious singing which survives today in the rural South.
Stevenson Palfi. 1977. (Color, 29 minutes)
A portrayal of the life and musical career of New Orleans banjo and guitar jazzman Emanuel 'Manny' Sayles, a man whose musical career has in many ways followed the development of American jazz itself. Also features Papa John Creach, Edmund Washington, and the Kid Thomas Band.
Matthew Broerman. 2000. (Color, 22 minutes)
This 22 minute documentary follows the ten workers of Broerman Poultry Processing, revealing their surprisingly close relationships, despite the gruesome nature of their job. The colorful interviews and raw supporting footage give new perspectives on family values, hard work, and what happens inside a slaughterhouse. The film was made by Matthew Broerman, a son of the owner of the slaughterhouse.
Tom Davenport. 1997. (Color, 32 minutes)
This video documents the breeding, training and hunting of the beagle, the world's most popular hound, by three passionate beaglers: Clayton Bright, a sculptor of sporting art from the wealthy Brandywine district of Pennsylvania; Roland Baltimore, an African American contractor from Middleburg, Virginia; and Claude Honeycutt, a devoutly religious gun dog man from the mountains of western North Carolina near Asheville.
Tom Davenport. 1975. (Color, 30 minutes)
Features the legendary huntsman Melvin Poe and the hounds of the Orange County Hunt near The Plains, Virginia.
Philip Spalding. 1971. (Color, 53 minutes)
Philip Spalding's study of the history and men who played New Orleans Jazz through the eyes of one of its greatest trumpet players: Punch Miller (died 1971). Kid Punch was renowned in New Orleans and played with all the greats from that city --King Oliver, Kid Ory, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong. This film is about his life and the changes that New Orleans music went through during his lifetime.
Jack Ofield. 1973. (Color, 11 minutes)
John Forshee was born about 1883 and died in 1974 at Cincinnatus, NY. He was a third generation tinsmith and he was filmed in 1973, using his grandfather's patented tinsmithing tools.
Willard Van Dyke. 1946. (Black and White, 16 minutes)
The story of Pete Seeger and the birth of banjo music throughout the Southern United States. Written by Alan Lomax and directed by Irving Lerner, this short feature includes performances from Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Baldwin Hawes, Sonny Terry, Brownee McGhee, Texas Gladden, and Margot Mayo's Square Dance Group.
Allen Tullos. 1993. (Color, 49 minutes)
At the time of his death in 1996, "Tommie" Bass, was probably the most well-known herbalist in the United States. The subject of scholarly and popular books, television features, a front-page essay in the Wall Street Journal, and numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, Tommie Bass lived his entire life in the Ridge and Valley region of Alabama where he devoted himself to "trying to give ease" to the many people who sought his advice.. "Tommie Bass" is a biographical portrait of Mr. Bass, told almost entirely in his own words.
Chris Johnstone. 2009. (Color, 01 hours, 14 minutes)
Wall to wall blues from unheralded artists. The film gives a glimpse of what is being lost and Tim Duffy's heroic efforts to document the passing.
Richard Kane. 1981. (Color, 29 minutes)
The portrayal of rural Indiana group, The Patoka Valley Boys, a six-person string band comprising one of America's finest old-time and bluegrass musical groups.
Michael Loukinen. 1983. (Color, 48 minutes)
A documentary about Finnish American history and folk art expressed through the lives and repertories of our folk artists living in the western Great Lakes Region.
Bill Ferris. 1975. (Color, 19 minutes)
TWO BLACK CHURCHES" is based on fieldwork Bill Ferris conducted at a church in Vicksburg, Mississippi and at a church in New Haven, Conn. Footage includes a full immersion baptism, congregation members and preachers at both churches discussing their call to the faith, and scenes from worship services at both churches. The film contrasts the two approaches to worship at each church.
Joyce Middlebrook. 1992. (Color, 26 minutes)
Sikhs in Northern California celebrate special events with Giddha and Bhangra, songs and dances from their native land, Punjab, India.
Herb Smith. 1986. (Color, 29 minutes)
Unbroken Tradition is a portrait of Jerry Brown, a ninth generation potter from Hamilton, Alabama. It looks at the continuation of this family tradition since Jerry's great-great-great grandfather set up his potter's wheel in Georgia around 1800.
Sol Korine. 1980. (Color, 58 minutes)
Uncle Dave Macon, also known as "The Dixie Dewdrop"—was an American old-time banjo player, singer, songwriter, and comedian. Known for his chin whiskers, plug hat, gold teeth, and gates-ajar collar, he gained regional fame as a vaudeville performer in the early 1920s before becoming the first star of the Grand Ole Opry in the latter half of the decade.
American Folklore Society. 2008. (Color, 57 minutes)
The intimate stories of how a few dedicated people changed US public policy and brought recognition and financial support to folk and traditional artists in the United States by creating and leading federal government efforts to support and present folk artists and folk cultures.
Steven Zeitlin. 1998. (Color, 40 minutes)
Ms. Butler and her son, the Reverend Rober Butler, play at folk festivals and churches throughout New York City
Richard Kane. 1982. (Color, 28 minutes)
A film document of three elderly residents of Orange County, Indiana. Featured in the film are musician Lotus Dickey, clock builder and tinkerer Elmer Boyd, and self-taught artist Lois Doane.
Holly Fisher. 1968. (Color, 01 hours, 00 minutes)
In 1965 New York filmmaker Holly Fisher focused her camera on the annual skipjack race on the Chesapeake Bay, and on skipjack captain Art Daniels. Over the next three years, she and her co-director, Romas Slezas, filmed Daniels, his family and his colleagues oystering and crabbing and living on the Chesapeake.
. 2008. (Color, 57 minutes)
The late 1960's and the 1970's were watershed years for the American public folklore, during which several of the main national and international institutions in the field came into being and developed their signature programs. The Watershed Years unveils the stories of Alan Jabbour, Richard Kurin, Archie Green, Bess Lomax Hawes, and Dan Sheehy as they recount some of their experiences as active participants during this time of American folklore history.
Joy Lusco Kecken,
Scott Kecken. 2004. (Color, 01 hours, 21 minutes)
We Are Arabbers follows the horse-and-wagon produce vendors along the streets of Baltimore, Maryland as they struggle to make a living and maintain their unique culture.
Charles Thompson. 2007. (Color, 46 minutes)
During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was supposed to give sharecroppers a chance at land ownership. But for Black farmers in Tillery, North Carolina, government intervention only added to their long struggle for economic and social justice.
Ann Rynearson. 2003. (Color, 30 minutes)
A portrait of a Lao refugee woman Mone Saenphimmachak who seeks to overcome loss through the weaving for which her people are famous. Mone Saenphimmachak is a National Heritage Award winner.
Kier Cline. 1978. (Color, 17 minutes)
In 1979 Keir Cline shot footage at the Tenth Annual National Hollerin’ Contest in Spivey’s Corner, a small crossroads community in southeastern North Carolina. The festival had been established to raise funds for the local volunteer fire department and to pay whimsical tribute to a kind of loud vocalizing that people on isolated farms used to communicate across distances in the years before they had telephones. “Welcome to Spivey’s Corner” features interviews with one of the early winners, Coharie Indian Leonard Emanuel, and performances by others who learned hollering as children.
Hazen Robert Walker. 1987. (Color, 28 minutes)
Well Known Stranger: Howard Finster's Workout takes an intimate look at artist Howard Finster as he conducts a workshop or a "workout" as he calls it, at Mountain Lake, Virginia. Finster talks at length about his many and varied methods of art making. He also sings and picks a mean banjo
Tom Davenport. 2000. (Color, 38 minutes)
The gifted African American storyteller Louise Anderson (1921-1994) tells her family stories and folk tales, and recites poetry in this film taped in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in the last years of her life. Her sisters Evelyn Anderson and Dorothy McLeod join Louise in recalling their experiences growing up in the South, working in restaurants and as domestics in white households, and struggling for civil rights in the early 1960s.
Tom Davenport. 2013. (Color, 42 minutes)
As a teenager, growing up in the mountains of rural northern Virginia, Jerry Payne asked "Animals are dying all the time. Where to they all go?"
Taki Telonidis. 2002. (Color, 58 minutes)
The cowboy's job has always been dangerous, lonely, dusty, gory and low-paying. So why do cowboys make music, and why do they need to tell their story? Why the Cowboy Sings is a journey across the open West to explore this unique genre of folk art.
Matthew Barr. 2006. (Color, 01 hours, 29 minutes)
WILD CAUGHT chronicles the lives of fisherman carrying out small scale, sustainable commercial fishing in the town of Snead's Ferry, North Carolina, and their struggles to keep afloat amidst a rising tide of cheap imports, stifling regulations, and coastal real estate development interests.
Stuart MacLelland. 1987. (Color, 20 minutes)
This film documents the activities of the Bear Creek Ice Company in northeastern Pennsylvania through interviews with former employees, who describe working conditions and the process of "harvesting" the ice from a string of five lakes.
Matthew Barr. 2009. (Color, 01 hours, 18 minutes)
In March 2007, unable to compete with cheaper offshore production, Hooker Furniture Company closed its plant in Martinsville, Virginia, after 83 years in operation. “With These Hands” follows the last load of kiln-dried wood down the assembly line as it is cut, honed, and assembled into fine furniture. Along the way, employees at the factory share their perspectives on work, community, and survival in a country devastated by deindustrialization and outsourcing.
Holly Hobbs. 2003. (Black and White, 54 minutes)
Women of Old-time Music: Tradition and Change in the Missouri Ozarks takes on the commonly-held folk music scholarship assertion that women did not widely participate in old-time music in the Ozarks.Through performances and interviews with senior generations of women musicians in southern Missouri, the film illustrates the central role women played, and continue to play, in the development of old-time music, culture, and community identity.
David Weiss. 1989. (Color, 28 minutes)
Men and women who worked for the Machias Lumber Company before 1930 share their recollections of the logging industry in Maine when they cut trees by hand, hauled logs to the river with horses, and floated them down to the mill. Remarkable documentary footage from the 1930's illustrate this dangerous and exhausting work.
David Marker. 2009. (Color, 01 hours, 20 minutes)
Follow a young Italian-American's cultural odyessy though the depths of Italy's most remote and traditional regions, told through the story of Italian folk music.
Nicholas Spitzer. 1986. (Color, 55 minutes)
Nick Spitzer film on African American dance-hall music in French-speaking southwest Louisiana, with Dolon Carriere, Armand Ardoin, and Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin.