Friends & Donors, in revising our early cuts of Resurrecting Love, I had the good fortune to be introduced to two highly experienced film professionals, Paul Dixon and Lillian Benson. They have agreed to collaborate with me on “Resurrecting Love”.
In an extensive career as a film editor, Paul has received four Emmy nominations and the American Cinema Editors Eddie Award twice. His television credits include “Hill Street Blues”, “L.A. Law” and the Emmy-winning “Door To Door”. Some of his feature credits include "Angels in the Outfield" and "Mallrats."
Film editor, Lillian Benson has edited some of the most prestigious documentaries on television, including the acclaimed civil rights series “Eyes On the Prize II” for which she was nominated for an Emmy. She's contributed to films that have garnered four Peabody Awards, five Emmy nominations, and numerous other honors. Lillian is the first African-American female member of American Cinema Editors. Paul is directing the re-edit of the film with Lillian as editor.
Love could hardly be in better hands. Ben Galland, my initial director/cinematographer and co-writer, has gone on to focus on his own film career. Non-profit documentaries are hard on families and he has a wife and children. I'm grateful for the work he did to help get me this far. Sharing the vision of "Resurrecting Love" with my filmmaker son has been an extraordinary experience, but ultimately it's the story itself that calls the shots and the call was for change.
Paul Dixon and Lillian Benson are taking our footage to an exciting new level. Take a look! We've added music, narration, archival footage, and title cards -- all temporary -- while we finish the rest of this new cut. Ben and I got the film to 73 minutes, beginning, middle, and end, all the while knowing it had to be cut to 55 minutes. Finding the right people to work with is difficult. Paul and Lillian are both masters and the process of finding them has redeemed the challenge of making a non-profit, indy doc. I'm honored that they're willing to collaborate with me on Love.
This documentary tells a story of how one small community is working to heal our fractured racial history with one another through celebration, the arts, and education. Stories, shared first-hand experience, spirit, and song light a way to transform the difficulties of our 21st century. Most importantly, we've created a replicable model for working on transforming conflict by enlarging and building a larger sense of community.
Love Cemetery is consecrated ground, the home of our ancestors, black, red, chances are white too, and brown -- this part of Texas was also once Spain, France, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas, a foreign country in its own right. Today, surrounded by private corporations -- a wealthy timber corporation with its mono-crop pine "plantations" and a high-end private hunting preserve, Love remains part of the sacred landscape that calls us to find new ways to acknowledge, be guided by, and transformed by our history.
The racism that unravels communities throughout the U.S. can hardly be addressed until and unless we tell the truth about founding the "land of the free, with liberty and justice for all" on the backs of enslaved people on stolen First Nations land. Resurrecting Love gives us a replicable model of how we can respectfully join in healing our communities throughout the United States.
There are burial sites like Love Cemetery throughout the U.S., from Broadway in downtown Manhattan, running under Wall Street -- The African Burial Ground National Monument -- to 250 black cemeteries a Ph.D. candidate has found in Missouri, to New England, all up and down the Eastern seaboard, not only the South, burial grounds extend West, into New Mexico, California, even Oregon. Love Cemetery is NOT an isolated phenomena, only the perhaps the one that can show us the extraordinary educational and civic opportunities such a burial ground can afford the larger, surrounding community.
The wealth of this country is now known and documented to have come from stealing and enslaving Africans and dragging them here in chains. It's a history many of us would prefer to never learn, to keep buried, to build over, or to destroy like Hitler attempted in his ruthless destruction of Jewish cemeteries during World War II. Yet today even in Poland, non-Jewish Poles and Jews are working together to restore Jewish cemeteries and reclaim the history that Hitler ordered buried.
In our country, one of the most harmful unprosecuted crimes may be the theft of African American land, especially farmland, after Reconstruction from the 1870's &1880's up until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's. Unacknowledged "land-taking" continues to this day. Love Cemetery may be surrounded by land that belonged to Della Love's father, Wilson Love, a free black man, born to a white plantation-owning father and a woman he enslaved.