Film Screening & Director’s Talk:
The Contradictions of Fair Hope
When: March 12, 7 pm
Where: International House Philadelphia (3701 Chestnut Street)
a film by S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf
USA, 2012, 67 min
Cost: $10, $8 students/seniors, $5 Scribe and IHP members
S. Epatha Merkerson in person
Presented in partnership with International House Philadelphia and Reelblack
July 1865. Over 4 million slaves have been freed. Forced to roam the antebellum countryside, many of them are ill prepared and unable to cope with the realities of their new found freedom. This documentary examines a little known aspect of American history, when newly freed slaves throughout the South formed “benevolent societies” to respond to abject hunger, illness and the fear of a pauper’s grave.
The Contradictions of Fair Hope sets the stage in rural Alabama, prior to Emancipation, and traces the development, struggles, contributions and gradual loss of tradition of one of the last remaining African American benevolent societies, known as “The Fair Hope Benevolent Society” in Uniontown, Alabama.
Through gripping human stories of some of the last surviving society members and interviews with historians and local residents, the film provides an unprecedented look at the complex and morally ambiguous world of Fair Hope juxtaposed against the worldly pleasures of what has become known as the annual “Foot Wash” celebration.
S. Epatha Merkerson (Executive Producer, Co-Director) is best known for her portrayal of Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC’s Law and Order (2006/2010/2011 Image Award). She received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, Gracie Allen and Image Award for her performance in the HBO movie Lackawanna Blues and can be seen in the upcoming film We The Peebles.
In theatre Ms. Merkerson has received one Helen Hayes Award, two Obie Awards two Lucille Lortel Award nominations and two Tony Award nominations. She has appeared in numerous television movies, made guest appearances in a variety of television series as well as appearing as a regular on PEEWEE’S PLAYHOUSE. She will be the host of TV One’s Find Our Missing. Ms. Merkerson earned a BFA degree from Wayne State University where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2009. The Contradictions of Fair Hope is Ms. Merkerson’s first feature film project.
Rockell Metcalf (Executive Producer, Co-Director, Writer) is Vice President and Chief Counsel at Amerprise Financial, Inc., where he concentrates on brokerdealer, marketing and banking law, Mr. Metcalf received his LL.M from Columbia Law School and his J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law, where he was Executive Editor of the Law Review. Mr. Metcalf served as federal clerk to Chief Judge U.W. Clemon in the Northern District of Alabama. He received his B.A., with distinction, from Talladega College. He is co-author of the Practical Guide to Broker-Dealer Regulation, and he obtained a 2008 U.S. Patent for a “System and Method for Dividing a Remittance and Distributing a Portion of the Funds to Multiple Investment Products.” Mr. Metcalf serves on the boards of Bird, Bonnette & Stauderman Worldwide, Inc. and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. The Contradictions of Fair Hope is Mr. Metcalf’s first feature film project.
Producers’ Forums are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts