Seen at NHFF: Shadows Fall North
The New Hampshire Film Festival was honored to show Shadows Fall North at the Portsmouth Music Hall on Thursday afternoon. Shadows Fall North is a documentary that discusses the history of slavery and segregation of African-Americans in New Hampshire.
The film was directed by Brian Vawter and produced by Nancy Vawter, who were in attendance as well as one of the shining stars from the film, consulting producer Valerie Cunningham. The three of them were available for a quick Q&A session that yielded insight about and promise for the film moving forward.
The film centers around Portsmouth, but the topic of the forgotten struggles of African-Americans encompasses all of New Hampshire. The film is excellent at reminding viewers that although slavery is thought of as a Southern tradition, it was very much taking place in our backyards in New Hampshire. The film does this not to dispirit the audience, but to remind viewers that history teaches vital lessons and that we can always move ahead as a community by drawing from our past.
During the Q&A session, Brian, Nancy and Valerie all expressed that the community of Portsmouth is one of positivity and that it made the film even more fun and rewarding to do. Keeping up with the idea of positivity, a member of the audience asked Brian and Nancy what the most positive part of the film was, to which Nancy answered, “Getting to know Valerie and JerriAnne (another consulting producer for the film) and getting the message across that slavery did exist in New Hampshire.”
Because the film takes place in Portsmouth, the audience was curious how they planned to get the film out to a wider audience, Nancy and Valerie discussed that, “film festivals, universities, and conferences such as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History that takes place in Richmond are integral because they are full of audiences that have interest in the subject matter.”