A Producers’ Lab participant selected for the IFP’s 2011 Project Forum program… a documentary called Oscar’s Comeback, directed by Lisa Collins.
The synop: “An all-white town. Its black native son. Worlds collide. Witness the melodrama and hijinks fueling the annual Oscar Micheaux Film Festival in Gregory, South Dakota.
Intrigued? I am. I am. Read on…
Collins has this much longer description of the film on her website:
Witness the melodrama and culture collision behind-the-scenes of a unique, annual mom-and-pop film festival held in the struggling, all-white small-town of Gregory, South Dakota. From historical reenactments to heated debates to ‘corporate’ take-over, it’s an everything-goes five-day event dedicated to their most famous ‘native son’ — the largely forgotten, controversial, early 1900s black film pioneer, Oscar Micheaux (1884 – 1951); known to some as the “Godfather of Independent Cinema”. Shot over the span of 7 summers — and following the two fiery heads of the fest who take on an ambitious benefactor — Oscar’s Comeback charts the rise, fall and transformation of the teetering festival. Both serious and entertaining, the film takes a look at outsiderism, smalltown pride, race relations today, and what it means to be a true independent fighting against the odds — all through the prism of Oscar Micheaux, whose restless spirit has come back ‘home’ to inspire another button-pushing tale.
So, basically, a festival celebrating a black man in an all-white town, and the ups and downs experienced by the pair of organizers (who are both white) in putting the event together; I’m guessing there are some in this all-white town that aren’t too keen on this annual event celebrating this “notorious, complex Negro,” to borrow from Wendell B. Harris’ words in Chameleon Street.
And it was shot over 7 summers; that’s good! It should therefore give the viewer a thorough profile of the festival, the town and the people who live there.
I’m most certainly curious about this upcoming project from Lisa Collins…
There are 3 clips of the work-in-progress, but I can’t embed them. You can watch them on the filmmaker’s website HERE.