"ANCESTRAL WISDOM": AFRICAN AMERICAN FOLKTALES FOR CONTEMPORARY FILM
Fall 2018, Morgan State University
In this storytelling and filmmaking workshop, student fellows will explore a selection of African American folktales, using them as inspiration for their own, original, filmed narratives. The tales, which have both African and European sources, have evolved through generations of New World storytellers, shared orally and assuming written form in the work of Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and others. The stories feature tricksters and dupes, magical instruments, talking animals, and humans who can fly. They celebrate the subversive, the creative, the defiant, the sacred. They run the gamut from comic to tragic to philosophical. Fellows will consider what our storyteller-ancestors can tell us about our lives and ourselves; about storytelling as individual identity and shared culture; about surviving through art. And they’ll add their own voices to the rich weave of a living tradition. They’ll identify characters and stories that feel relevant and reimagine them, devising contemporary narratives for three short, collaborative films. They’ll experiment with both live action and animation, and explore visual styles from gritty to whimsical. All fellows will take part in writing, storyboarding, shooting, and editing. Their films will be shared at a public screening and on the program website. Limited to 12 student fellows.
Ancestral Wisdom is a co-production of Baltimore Youth Film Arts and Morgan State University.
Keith Mehlinger is Director of the Digital Media Center and Coordinator of the Screenwriting and Animation program (SWAN) at Morgan State University. A producer/writer/director, he produced episodes of the syndicated series, Story of a People, and recently completed a short documentary about parents of sons lost to street violence for the Morgan multimedia project, Mother's Lament.
David Lee Roberts Jr., an award-winning television producer and documentary filmmaker, is Adjunct Professor in the Screenwriting and Animation (SWAN) program at Morgan State University. Television credits include Metro Focus, and film credits include the upcoming features Covenant of Peace, about the Washington, D.C. juvenile justice system, and Charm City, about Baltimore community reform and engagement.
Kyle Yearwood is an assistant in Morgan State University’s Screenwriting and Animation program, with proficiency in cinematography, editing, photography, special effects, and animation. He has worked as a videographer for the Baltimore MTA, interned for HBO’s Show Me a Hero, and currently freelances in visual production.