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East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story airs at 8 p.m. March 24 on PBS
On a summer morning in 1967, Lorenzo “Lo” Jelks walked into the WSB-TV studios for his first day of work. That wouldn’t have been noteworthy, except that Jelks, an American descendant of enslaved Africans, would be the first black on-air reporter at what was then (and now) one of the largest television stations in the Southeast.
In their documentary, Atlanta filmmakers Shonda Harper and Alahna Lark trace the history of Auburn Avenue as a nexus of black culture and commerce, a springboard of the civil rights movement, and a community irreparably cleaved in two by the construction of the Downtown Connector.
Any Atlanta garden enthusiast worth their weight in soil knows about Ryan Gainey. Gainey died in a house fire on his farm in Lexington in 2016, not long after filmmakers Steve Bransford and Cooper Sanchez completed shooting a documentary about his life. The film, The Well-Placed Weed: The Bountiful Life of Ryan Gainey, premieres May 17 at the Plaza Theatre.
Atlanta hosts the world’s only transgender bodybuilding competition. A new documentary shines a light on it.
When writer T Cooper moved to Atlanta in 2014, he was surprised to learn about TransFitCon. "Wait, the only transgender bodybuilding competition in the world takes place in Atlanta?" he laughs. "It was just so random." He spent the next three years crafting the feature-length documentary, Man Made, which closes out the Atlanta Film Festival this Sunday.
Robert Shaw: Man of Many Voices premieres at ASO on April 24. Producer Kiki Wilson discusses Shaw's legacy and the making of the documentary.
Finally completed thanks in part to funds from a 2015 Kickstarter campaign, the documentary Hotel Clermont makes its Atlanta premiere this month at the 40th annual Atlanta Film Festival.
"I only knew her from chit-chatting at family weddings," White says laughing. "I didn't know her that well. I knew I really liked talking to her but my aunt and her girlfriends all came out of that same Liverpool music scene and they now work as secretaries or teachers or in a shop. Everyone was somehow connected to the Beatles back then but they don't really discuss it. I just always thought Freda was this legal secretary. I never knew the backstory."