RAG RADIO / Thorne Dreyer : Anne Lewis’ Documentary About Anne Braden Is ‘Gem of a Film’

Filmmaker Anne Lewis on Rag Radio in the studios of KOOP-FM in Austin, Texas, Friday, February 22, 2012. Photo by William Michael Hanks / The Rag Blog.

Rag Radio Podcast:
Documentary filmmaker Anne Lewis,
co-director of Anne Braden: Southern Patriot

By Rag Radio | The Rag Blog | February 27, 2013

Documentary filmmaker and University of Texas senior lecturer Anne Lewis, whose most recent work, Anne Braden: Southern Patriot, was called a “gem of a film” by folksinger and civil rights activist Joan Baez, was Thorne Dreyer’s guest on Rag Radio, Friday, February 22, 2013.

On the show, Lewis discussed her impressive body of work as an independent filmmaker and, in particular, her acclaimed film about the remarkable Southern civil rights fighter Anne Braden.

She also addressed recent developments at the University of Texas at Austin, where university president Bill Powers has made radical proposals to “increase efficiency” at the the school, in part by privatizing much of the university staff. Powers’ plans have drawn reaction from faculty, students, and union activists on the UT-Austin campus, and Lewis wrote about the issue in The Rag Blog.

Rag Radio is a syndicated radio program produced at the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, Texas. This episode was produced during KOOP’s Spring 2013 Membership Drive and includes fundraising pitches for the cooperatively-run all volunteer public radio station.

Listen to or download our interview with Anne Lewis, here:

Anne Lewis is an independent filmmaker, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Radio-Television-Film, and an active member of the Texas State Employees Union (TSEU-CWA Local 6186) and NABET-CWA. She has been making documentary films since 1970. Most of her filmmaking depicts working class people — often women — fighting for social change. She is associated with Appalshop, an arts and education center located in the heart of Appalachia.

Anne Lewis was associate director of Harlan County, U.S.A, and the producer/director of Fast Food Women, To Save the Land and People, Morristown: in the air and sun, and a number of other social issue and cultural documentaries. She was associate director/assistant camera for Harlan County, USA, the Academy Award-winning documentary, which focused on the Brookside, Kentucky, strike of 1975. After the strike, Lewis moved to the coalfields where she lived for 25 years.

Lewis was co-director with Mimi Pickering of the 2012 film, Anne Braden: Southern Patriot, a first-person documentary about the extraordinary life of the American civil rights leader. The film was first screened by the Austin Film Society on July 18, 2012.

Filmmaker Anne Lewis.

Writing at The Rag Blog, William Michael Hanks called the film “a wellspring of intellectual reason, a blueprint for action [that] includes some of the most iconic footage from the civil-rights movement ever seen.” The Rag Blog‘s Hanks, himself a former documentary filmmaker, joined us in the interview, discussing with Lewis her unique use of first person narrative in constructing the film.

According to The Texas Observer‘s Susan Smith Richardson, Anne Braden, a middle-class white woman from Alabama who “rejected her racial privilege in the Jim Crow South and devoted her life to fighting racism,” was considered a “traitor to her race” by many who opposed her. Braden and her husband Carl, who together published the crusading Southern Patriot newspaper, were targets of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch hunts. Braden, who was an inspirational figure among movement activists, was called “eloquent and prophetic” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Joan Baez called Anne Braden: Southern Patriot, “a gem of a film, accented with freedom fighters who speak firsthand about carving a path through a traumatized, violent, racist South, to make way for one of the largest and most effective nonviolent movements for social change the world has ever seen.”

To learn more about Anne Lewis’ work, visit her website, AnneLewis.org.

Rag Radio has aired since September 2009 on KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas. Hosted and produced by Rag Blog editor and long-time alternative journalist Thorne Dreyer, a pioneer of the Sixties underground press movement, Rag Radio is broadcast every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CST) on KOOP, and is rebroadcast on Sundays at 10 a.m. (EST) on WFTE, 90.3-FM in Mt. Cobb, PA, and 105.7-FM in Scranton, PA.

The show is streamed live on the web by both stations and, after broadcast, all Rag Radio shows are posted as podcasts at the Internet Archive.

Rag Radio is produced in association with The Rag Blog, a progressive internet newsmagazine, and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Tracey Schulz is the show’s engineer and co-producer.

Rag Radio can be contacted at ragradio@koop.org.

Coming up on Rag Radio:
THIS FRIDAY, March 1, 2013:
Louis Black, co-founder and editor of the Austin Chronicle and co-founder of the South by Southwest Music, Interactive, and Film Festival (SXSW).
Friday, March 8: Novelist David McCabe, author of Without Sin, based on a true story of a sex trafficking ring exploiting young, undocumented women.
Friday, March 15: Legendary producer Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records, and filmmakers Maureen Gosling & Chris Simon, This Ain’t No Mouse Music!

The Rag Blog

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