Ten Minute Film School E21: RaMell Ross on Hale County. This Morning. This Evening.

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As writer, director, cinematographer, and editor, RaMell Ross brings considerable creative firepower to bear in his immersive documentary, Hale County This Morning, This Evening. The film is an exploratory work about the South, which Ross feels “is the conceptual home of black identity and black image.” Paste sat down with Ross to discuss the origins of his interest in a documentary about this rural county in central Alabama and the genuine relationships he spent time developing which allowed him to “to look out from the black community as opposed to look at it.”  

From a technical standpoint, he purposely selected his gear: a Canon 5DMkIII with a camera mounted microphone for it’s simplicity and ease of use — night and day, it had to be with him everywhere. Ross’ camera was rolling at the birth of children and at an untimely funeral. It captured the passion of church service and the tension-easing, pregame horseplay of the locker room. All told, Ross shot over thirteen hundred hours of footage, which he skillfully wielded into an inclusionary piece that invites constructive conversation about the South and encourages understanding of the people who live there. 

Following his film’s premiere last week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Ross was presented the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Vision.

Check out “halecountyfilm.com":https://www.halecountyfilm.com to learn more about the film and access information about its release as those details become available. 

Gordon Hight is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and fly fishing guide living in Teton Valley, Idaho. You can follow him on Instagram or on his website.