A film about John Roemer, dynamic teacher and social activist, and the historic circumstances that led him to live outside the law. Roemer’s story involves near death experiences and adventures, both as director of the Maryland ACLU and while playing a pivotal role in the fight to integrate Maryland. He has been described as a ‘gun toting pacifist’, a cowboy, and a ‘crazy left winger.’ Set in Baltimore, a city with a turbulent history of charged race relations, the film not only shows Roemer’s distinctive and unconventional style of teaching, but uses it as a framework within which to explore his past. The film is a character study of a loved and respected rebel, as well as an exploration of the philosophy behind civil disobedience.
Sophie Hamacher: Cinematographer/DP, Director is an artist and filmmaker working primarily with collage, reconfiguring media images by using documents and reclaiming them from their mere informative quality. She has written extensively on the relationship between art and document, and the unconscious or conscious witnessing of historical events through photography and film. Her films have been shown in international video art festivals and symposia in Cairo, London, Berlin and New York.
Johanna Schiller: Co-Producer, Publicist spent the last 12 years working as a DVD producer for the Criterion Collection. She supervised over 65 DVD releases of classic and contemporary films, including the work of Ingmar Bergman, Jean Renoir, Roberto Rossellini and Barbara Kopple, conducting interviews and producing documentary bonus features, recording and editing audio commentary tracks and overseeing all aspects of production.
On April 23, 1951, as senior class president of Robert Russo Moton High School in Prince Edward County, Farmville Virginia, John A Stokes helped organize a walkout by over 400 fellow African American students to protest segregated school conditions. This strike led to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court desegregation decision Brown v. Board and the resulting response of the five year closing of Prince Edward public schools under massive resistance. As the only case in Brown v. Board initiated by students, the film portrays civic engagement in a personal context and Mr. Stokes’ life’s work for equality.
Director Sam Hampton is a CINE award-winning documentary filmmaker and partner at Hampton Films. Sam is a former director for Docs in Progress, educating the public about documentary storytelling. Producer Kirsten Hampton is a partner at Hampton Films and a published poet. She is the 2012 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Creative Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.