Special Alert

Thumbs Up For Mother Universe: The Lonnie Holley Story (Fresh Docs Free Work-In-Progress Screening)


The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund are pleased to present a free screening of director George King’s Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: The Lonnie Holley Story (working title), which explores the life of Alabama artist Lonnie Holley as he overcomes insurmountable odds to emerge as a critically-acclaimed musician and visual artist. The film is presented as part of the Fresh Docs series featuring documentary works-in-progress; following the screenings, a moderated conversation with the filmmaker(s) will be held, during which the audience provides valuable feedback.

Note: Fresh Docs screenings are free, but attendees must RESERVE A TICKET via Eventbrite.

Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: The Lonnie Holley Story (working title) is a feature-length documentary is an effort to reveal how race, social class, and culture interplay in the American South through the story of 66-year-old African American artist and musician, Lonnie Holley. Holley has been described as an outsider, a poet, a con man, a prophet, a hustler, a visionary artist, a junkman and a shaman. Born the seventh of 27 children, Holley’s childhood is the stuff of novels. He was sold for a pint of whiskey, raised in a juke joint, and at age 11, imprisoned in a notorious ‘slave camp’ for black children. The film traces Holley’s dramatic life from the basest poverty and a fourth grade education to his emergence as a revered visual artist and musician. The film will also reveal his creative process—his insights into recycling, ecology and the environment, and his sources of inspiration, deeply rooted in Southern life and African American history and culture.

George King is a writer, producer, and director of nonfiction film, television, and radio projects. His work has consistently captured national and international interest and won awards including Peabody, Cine Golden Eagles, Golden Reels, and more. Projects range in approach from the journalistic: Aging, the Myths; parody and satire: Ten Thousand Points of Light, Bananaland; to historical: Goin’ to Chicago, Will the Circle be Unbroken?; biography: Who’s That Stranger?; and experimental: Word of Mouth.

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