WHY ARE WE MAKING THIS FILM?
This story of survival, endurance, and triumph has much to say about race and social class in the American South. Lonnie Holley’s remarkable life and the improbability of his success are a true inspiration. Holley is particularly interested in encouraging the creativity of young people of color. Beyond the possibilities of TV and streaming video, to reach this audience, we intend to screen the film in community venues, with accompanying workshops with Holley.
After 21 years of filming Holley’s life, we have shot and acquired a unique record of an artist’s life and work. This archive of interviews, still photographs, scenes with Holley’s family, Holley collecting materials and making art and music will be made available to an institution where fans, students, and researchers can view and listen to unedited source materials.
And last, the feature length film, Thumbs Up for Mother Universe is really, the tip of the iceberg. We see the film as an introduction to a cornucopia of materials on the upcoming film’s website. Here viewers can go deeper, reviewing uncut interviews, photo galleries of Holley’s art, unreleased cuts of music recorded at Holley’s live performances, and short films created for the website of other important events and stories that we could not include in the film.