Director Sam Pollard Discusses ‘Slavery By Another Name’

Spike Lee collaborator explores the parallels between slavery and the industrial prison complex in new documentary

'Slavery By Another Name' airs February 13, 2012 on PBS

 

One of the most captivating parts of the film is the commentary from family members who are descendants of slaves or White slave owners. Why was it important to include their perspectives?

I have to tip my hat to Doug Blackmon. When Sheila Bernard, who wrote the script, and I were shaping the story and Doug mentioned the idea of including descendants, I kind of poo-poo’d it. I was like, “Why are we going to have them? What are they going to know or what are they going to say? They don’t have any real historical reference. They’re not going to be able to give us facts like historians.” But Doug and [executive producer] Catherine Allan kept fighting for it. And in retrospect, the descendants didn’t have to have historical knowledge, what they brought to it was personal responses. These people brought their own humanity as descendants who could understand on a personal level the impact of this history, which for a documentary gives it another level of power, another level of emotional resonance.

Aren’t you from the South as well?

No, I was born and raised in New York City but like a lot of African-Americans, my family is from the South. My father is from Mississippi. My mother is from Georgia. I spent a tremendous amount of time in the south in my early 20s. I’m impressed about how my uncles and my father and my aunt and my mother grappled and struggled and made it out of there at a young age without losing their lives. Ever since I’ve been involved in the film business, I’ve been down there lots of times shooting documentaries. I feel that complicated relationship with the South—part of me loves being down there, and part of me always feels the remnants of Jim Crow.

How would you compare Slavery By Another Name with your past work?

This film is as important as when I did Eyes on the Prize or 4 Little Girls. To me it’s got the same relevance as When the Levees Broke, too. It’s an opportunity to give the viewing public a look into another aspect into American history that doesn’t give you the same old pablum that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and he was a great man. Or that Black people during Reconstruction didn’t know what they were doing and that’s why White people had to retake the South. This film gives you a whole other look at how history should be investigated. In some ways, it’s more than a film. It’s an invaluable history lesson. That everyone should partake of.

You’ve worked with Spike Lee many movies. What’d learn from him about filmmaking and what would he say about you?

We’ve worked on and off for 25 years. He knows I always bring a level of professionalism and honesty to the work because I respect what he does so much. One thing I like about Spike—he is fearless. Fearless in terms of saying, I have a story that’s important. It’s about our people. And I’m going to fight tooth and nail to make sure it gets out there. If there’s anything that I learned from Spike, it’s that—to be tenacious in terms of telling our stories.

Click here to see exclusive images from Slavery By Another Name.

Pages: 1 2
ACROSS THE WEB
  • http://www.swankymaison.com/gifts jobs at wilkinsons stores

    I simply wished to thank you so much once more. I am not sure the things that I might have done in the absence of these tactics revealed by you relating to this industry. It had become a real fearsome problem in my opinion, nevertheless being able to view the specialized fashion you handled the issue made me to leap over delight. Extremely happy for the advice and then hope that you are aware of a powerful job you are doing training other individuals through the use of a blog. I know that you have never encountered any of us.

  • http://www.naughtyescorts.com.au/ escorts

    Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  • http://everything-about-musics.blogspot.com Isabella

    very nice article, I have been trying to look for this. Thanks! please visit mine too at http://famous-tv.blogspot.com

  • http://www.website-force.com/ John Smith

    Really enjoyed this article.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  • body lotion

    I was using some vitamin C serums which didn’t provide any noticeable results, they were full of things I wasn’t too happy to put on my face + their price was daylight robbery.

  • Joann Netz

    great blog

  • NFA Trust Texas

    Whenever I sit back and give thought to this article it begins to make more sense. Thank you for informing me with a lot more specifics on this topic.

  • Simon Wilby fraud

    I am a very talkative person by nature and I love to chitchat on my mobile the whole day. Due to this habit, I was lately receiving quite of nudging from my parents but all my worries were solved when I downloaded this magical app called Smart Mouth Mobile App.

  • Pingback: Documentary explores ‘slavery by another name’ | The Grio

  • refrigerator repair fairfax va

    Thanks , I have just been searching for information approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the best I’ve found out till now. But, what concerning the bottom line? Are you sure in regards to the source?|What i don’t realize is in truth how you are no longer actually a lot more neatly-appreciated than you may be right now. You are so intelligent.

  • human deformities

    Some really quality posts on this internet site ,

    • human deformities

      We include resources pertaining to health, food, culture, tradition, celebrities death and other weird random news and information. http://www.nerdygaga.com/

  • posicionamiento alicante

    Hello very nice web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally?I’m satisfied to find a lot of helpful info right here in the put up, we’d like work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  • seo company for small business

    Hello, i believe that i saw you visited my web site thus i came to return the want?.I am trying to find things to enhance my site!I guess its ok to make use of some of your ideas!!

  • posicionamiento alicante

    Fantastic points altogether, you simply won a logo new reader. What may you recommend about your put up that you made some days in the past? Any sure?

  • Pingback: White supremacy and mass incarceration - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum