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Docs In Progress at Utopia Film Festival

Docs In Progress is happy to present a diverse program at this year's Utopia Film Festival.

The program starts out with a finished film by Docs In Progress teaching artist and Peer Pitch and WIP screening alum Sam Hampton who will be presenting

Mr. Stokes' Mission
On April 23, 1951, John Stokes, then president of his senior class at the Robert Russo Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, helped organize and lead a walkout by students to protest inferior conditions for his fellow African-American students. His efforts contributed to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling three years later, which banned segregation in public education. (Q&A afterward with filmmaker)

Following this screening and Q&A, Docs In Progress will welcome two new short works-in-progress. After watching each of these films, a facilitator from Docs In Progress will moderate a feedback session with the audience. This honest and constructive feedback is aimed at helping the filmmakers get to the next stage of completing and distributing the film.


LIVING COAL (9 minutes) by Lauren Schneiderman
Coal means everything to John Jarrell. He worked underground for three years following in his father’s footsteps. Everyday he would descend 900 feet down and come up with a face covered in ash. Coal mining paid the bills, sustained his hobbies and supported his family. John longs to go back underground, but those days are over. John and his family struggle for autonomy while living in a mono-economy of coal.

MR. BESLEY’S FOREST (11 minutes) by Cheryle Franceschi
Fred Besley was a pioneer in American forestry, helping the state of Maryland to become the third in the nation to establish a system of state forests, parks, and protected natural-resource areas. How does his story help children of today connect with nature?

These films are being presented as part of the Utopia Film Festival.  The festival charges $3 cash per ticket to this program.

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  • Erica
    Executive Director, Co-Organizer,
    Event Host
  • A former member
  • A former member

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