GEORGE C. STONEY, the late documentary filmmaker, lifelong media activist and professor of film at New York University, is subject of a biographical documentary in progress directed by Mike Hazard. The film is dubbed A HAPPY COLLABORATOR.
Watch a scene from the work in progress, called POINT OF VIEW.
Here's another, on propaganda.
Legendary in the field of nonfiction film, Stoney was perhaps most famous as the "father of public access to cable television," a title he characteristically declined. Still, his advocacy for a citizen's right to use the new media for public expression helped create the federal legislation which now enables public access.
His students are everywhere: Paul Barnes (chief editor for Ken Burns), Cheryl Furjanic (SYNC OR SWIM), Jim Brown (THE POWER OF SONG: PETE SEEGER), John Whitehead (MAKE 'EM DANCE), Judith Helfand (THE UPRISING) and Mike Hazard (I'M SORRY I WAS RIGHT) to name only a few.
Honored with Emeritus status at NYU, the nonagenarian Stoney taught that "films should do, not just be."
Stoney made the documentary Uprising of '34 (1995) with Judith Helfand and Susanne Rostock. It documents the textile strikes in the South in 1934. The texture of the piece is like a textile.
Stoney was working with David Bagnall and Dave Olive on a major portrait of the late Brazilian educator and agitator, Paulo Freire. Freire taught culture is everything humans make, from a shoe to a song.
You can also see two early films of Stoney's on line. Booked for Safekeeping (1960) was made to train police officers in the assistance and management of mentally ill and confused persons.
Palmour Street (1949) was Stoney's first film. One reviewer called it "a curious hybrid of soap opera, history lesson, race relation film, melodrama and Coronet instructional film about a poor family growing up in the South".
Stoney's papers and films have been donated to his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Click to read the finding aid.
Watch Stoney reflect on why he made documentaries.
The sad headline is George died peacefully at home on July 12, 2012. Read an obituary in the New York Times.
The Stoney Project is directed by Mike Hazard, who has been awarded a Bush Foundation Fellowship and a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to support this piece. Donations are tax-deductible. Hazard also serves as the late George Stoney's archivist. Stay tuned.