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March 28, 2019 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
For four years, Jacqueline Olive had been filming and working on a documentary about historic lynchings in the U.S. Her focus was on how families of both perpetrators and victims “were confronting this form of racial terrorism in order to memorialize the victims, repair the damage, and move their communities towards healing,” she says.
Olive had wrapped up filming and thought she was finished with production. Then she heard about Lennon Lacy. This 17-year-old boy was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina. The year was 2014.
She couldn’t stop now. Olive reached out to the teen’s mother, Claudia. Although the death was ruled a suicide, she believes her son was lynched.
After talking with the grieving mother, Olive noticed “the sharper the parallels became between the horror that people in Bladenboro were facing and what others had been confronting in the communities where I’d already been filming,” she says.
She knew she had to include this recent story in her first feature documentary, “Always in Season,” with Claudia’s fight for justice framing the narrative.
“Regardless of whether Lennon was lynched, the community had a right for the case to be investigated thoroughly, given the racial divisions in Bladenboro and the history of lynching terrorism in the U.S.,” Olive explains.
Imagine hearing sad stories, interviewing angry subjects, and examining dozens of lynching photographs over-and-over again.
“While it was sometimes difficult, making the film has always been incredibly important to me,” Olive says. “What’s been inspiring for me is getting to know and film with people who are not ignoring generations of dehumanization and brutality, but are grappling with the connections between the past and the present in order to help repair the damage and move their communities towards reconciliation.”
After 10 years of working on an intensely emotional film, she has a final product to share with audiences.
“Processing the anger and pain that comes with directly tackling this history has ultimately been empowering for most of the people featured in ‘Always in Season,’ as well as for me,” Olive concludes. “I hope audiences of the film will feel the same.”
—Anne M. DiTeodoro
Photo: This is former journalist Jacqueline Olive's first feature documentary. “I eventually traded in 60-second news stories for creating in-depth narratives of my own,” she says. “I love every aspect of documentary filmmaking because it combines artistry with analysis and is a highly collaborative process that allows for nuanced storytelling.” Photo by Teo Olive.
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