The Film Team for Resurrecting Love
Sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society
Ben Galland, Director, is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose help I asked for early on the Resurrecting Love story. He is also my son. We’re from Texas with roots that go back to 1903. Our www.resurrectinglovemovie.org website has more about Ben and myself, China Galland, Producer/Writer (www.chinagalland.com).
The www.resurrectinglovemovie.org website also tells you more about Nate Parker, our Executive Director, an actor and youth activist who co-starred with Denzel Washington and Forest Whittaker in the Hollywood feature, The Great Debaters, based on the true story of Wiley College’s 1935 champion debaters. Nate is in the film and got New York educator, Brian Favors, involved with helping us produce also.
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Love Cemetery is a 1.6 acre burial ground off a private sandy-dirt road in the rural countryside of East Texas near the Louisiana border. Deeded to the Love Colored Burial Association in 1904, when we found it again in 2003, it had been taken over by wild grapevine and wisteria. Descendants, like Doris Vittatoe’s mother were locked out during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and were unable to go back in and tend their ancestors’ graves. Doris found her great-grandfather’s headstone, Ohio Taylor, in the center of the cemetary.
Ben Galland and Brian Favors
The newest member of our film team is Associate Producer Danielle Drake Burnette, someone Ben and I have known for 10 years. Danielle’s family is also from Texas, only they were enslaved, in Ft. Worth. See the “Note From Danielle Burnette” about her passion for Resurrecting Love and why she’s working with us to get this story completed and out into the world now!
Danielle teaches at CIIS where she earned her Masters degree and is also working on a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She’s a spoken word performer and former Oakland poetry slam champion.
Doris Vittatoe & China Galland, 3-2-13, Love Cemetery
Danielle travelled to Love with me in March, 2013 and also took part in the informal meetings I started with Wiley and East Texas Baptist University faculty. We’re strengthening the cross-institutional collaboration that’s emerged from the students working together to reclaim Love. During our March clean up and poetry slam, a Wiley student remarked, “Look how much life there is in this cemetery!”
In the film, you see the passion and intelligence of the young people of historically black Wiley College, in nearby Marshall, Texas. You hear the Wiley debate team argue on behalf of the larger issue involved – access to history, you meet the African American faculty member at Wiley College, Lisa Taylor, who reached out and asked China to help her find “a way to teach about the history of slavery in this country…. nobody knows how to talk about it."
Debate at Wiley College was infused with new vitality by the receipt of a million-dollar endowment from Denzel Washington after making the movie, The Great Debators. Ailey Pope, featured in our 8.5 video clip, is the result. Nate Parker stayed involved with the college too, helped raised funds for them, and created the Nate Parker Scholars. Wiley’s “Deep Soldiers” student organization and the Nate Parker scholars have spearheaded the ongoing Wiley student participation at Love. When Nate found out about our film, he called and asked what he could do to help and became our executive producer. He’s also in the documentary, having flown out to be with us at Love Cemetary.
By the film’s end, we see the students of predominantly white East Texas Baptist University in nearby Marshall, Texas, join in helping the Wiley students and the Love Burial Association reclaim Love Cemetery. Nate brought in a consultant from the Sankofa project in Brooklyn, Brian Favors, an outstanding educator who told us the work at Love Cemetery is critical.
“The black community is in crisis -- our kids they don’t know who they are, they don’t know where they come from,” he said, “What you’re doing at Love Cemetery is foundational!
Thank you for your support,
China Galland, Producer & Writer, Ben Galland, Director, & Danielle Burnette,
“Trees without roots can bear no fruit” is an African proverb. Love Cemetery is place where we’re identifying our roots, whatever they are, nurturing them, and replanting them,” Nate Parker.