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Independent film series comes to Clarksville

Forty-five years later, the events of that summer afternoon in Augustine, Fla., still have the power to shock. While a group of young civil rights activists demonstrated in a local swimming pool, a white hotel owner poured acid into the water.

The incident, along with the graphic photographs, made headlines across the globe and helped push the Civil Rights Act into law. What happened that summer day in 1964 has been somewhat forgotten over the years, but a new documentary, Dare Not Walk Alone, sheds light on this important moment in history.
Forty-five years later, the events of that summer afternoon in Augustine, Fla., still have the power to shock. While a group of young civil rights activists demonstrated in a local swimming pool, a white hotel owner poured acid into the water.

The incident, along with the graphic photographs, made headlines across the globe and helped push the Civil Rights Act into law. What happened that summer day in 1964 has been somewhat forgotten over the years, but a new documentary, “Dare Not Walk Alone,” sheds light on this important moment in history.

It's an independent film, which means for many Clarksville residents, the only way they'll ever see it is if they happen to hear about it and put it in their Netflix queue. But that's changing this fall. Jeremy Dean, director of “Dare Not Walk Alone,” is one of six independent filmmakers who will be visiting the city throughout the next year, giving area residents the chance to see groundbreaking new movies.

They're coming as part of Southern Circuit: Tour of Independent Filmmakers, which is being sponsored by the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and the Customs House Museum.

“Not only do we think independent films are just wonderful to have, but it gives us some variety to standard movie fare,” Chris Burawa, CECA director, said. “This is the type of filmmaking that's very popular in this country right now. There are so many young filmmakers coming out, but there are also young people deciding ‘I'm going to be a filmmaker,' and doing it, making their films on their own.”

The Customs House Museum and the CECA received a grant earlier this year from the Southern Arts Federation, which provides money from the National Endowment of the Arts to bring in the films and filmmakers.

“This film series will give movie lovers as well as aspiring filmmakers a unique opportunity to interact with these directors,” Alan Robison, executive director of the Customs House Museum, said. “Not only will these directors be available to discuss their craft, these films touch on important issues that affect our society.”

The films range from narrative works to documentary features. The first three films will be shown at the Customs House Museum Theatre this fall. The latter three will play at the APSU Clement Auditorium during the spring.

The films coming to Clarksville include:
• Oct. 3 — “Pants on Fire,” a comedy by director Colin Campbell that tells the story of an out-of-luck actor who lies about being friends with the actor who played Pedro in the movie “Napoleon Dynamite.” 2 p.m. in the Customs House Museum Theatre.
• Nov. 7 — “Milking the Rhino,” a documentary by director David E. Simpson that tells a nuanced story of human-wildlife coexistence in postcolonial Africa. 2 p.m. in the Customs House Museum Theatre.
• Feb. 6 — “Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman,” director Eric Bricker's documentary, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, that explores the career of the late architectural photographer Julius Shulman. 2 p.m. in the APSU Clement Auditorium.
• March 6 — “The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court,” director Paco de Onis' feature-length documentary filmed at ICC headquarters in The Hague for three years with unprecedented access to the inner workings of the court. 2 p.m. in the APSU Clement Auditorium.
• April 3 — “Bleacher Boys,” a touching documentary by director Karen Hunter relating the stories of five men who shared a common dream as boys of playing Major League Baseball, only to have those dreams dashed at an early age due to blindness.

Information about the film series is available online at www.southarts.org. For additional information, contact the CECA at 931-221-7876. -- Charles Booth