Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 1997
Country: 89

At the Alston family reunion in North Carolina, one participant proudly displays a family tree that traces Alstons all the way back to Adam and Eve, no joke. But in the vicinity is another gathering of Alstons, none of whom appear in the lineage. One set of Alstons is white, the other is black - descendants of slaves owned by their neighbors' ancestors. Fascinated by this paradox and the guilty evasions accompanying it, white Macky Alston embarks on a first-person genealogical detective story, a hunt through former plantations, forgotten graveyards, census forms, newspaper archives, art-appreciation films, and the memories of nursing-home residents, finding Alstons on both sides of the color barrier and encountering new friends and old hostilities. Many slaves customarily took their owners' surnames, but Macky wants to prove a blood link between the separate sets of Alstons, a connection to surmount the shame and silence surrounding America's slave heritage and perhaps heal part of US history. FAMILY NAME is a sprawling, personal quest for kinship and reconciliation, with a conclusion that will shake you to the roots. - Charles Cassady.

Narrative written by Macky Alston, Kay Gayner

Macky Alston

Selina Lewis; Executive Producer Nicholas Gottlieb; Co-Executive Producer Mimi Fountain

Eliot Rockett

Sandra Marie Christie, Christopher White

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