Looking Back to 2011 – Moving Forward in 2012

With the dawn of a new year it seems appropriate to take stock of the past and plan for the future. 2011 was an exciting year in many ways and 2012 brings challenging new opportunities.

Over the past 20 years I have produced a variety of documentaries. I am extremely grateful to my employer, the University of Alabama Center for Public TV & Radio for the opportunity to do so, and I have often commented about how fortunate I felt to work in my dream job. The funding for new documentaries has dwindled over the last couple of years, but some of my past documentaries continued to reach new audiences in 2011.

As 2011 began, “Songs Inside the Box” was presented at the Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia. It was awarded First Place Documentary by the Prometheus Film Festival in August and was screened in Paris, France in October. Selected scenes from the documentary were part of a special exhibit on cigar box guitars at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California for several months in 2011.

I was honored to present “Richard Johnston: Hill Country Troubadour” to an enthusiastic audience in Huntsville, Alabama in June 2011. I wish I could have been there when it was screened in Paris, France in October and Rome, Italy in November but I received good feedback from both events.

I was also honored to serve as a juror for the High School Film category for the 2011 On Location Memphis Film Festival and the 2011 Mississippi High School Film Competition. The latter event, held in Tupelo, offered me the wonderful opportunity to meet with the students in the competition. Some of them said they planned to attend the University of Alabama because of the excellent communications programs offered here. Being a part of those programs is a source of great pride for me. I taught “Intro to Media Production” classes in both the Spring and Fall semesters of 2011.

2011 also brought opportunities to collaborate with my colleagues at Alabama Public Television (APT) and Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB). The UA Center for Public Television & Radio joined with APT to produce “Alabama Stars in Education” in May and I have been working with MPB as director of “Sucarnochee Revue,” a music series which airs on both Alabama and Mississippi public TV stations each week.

I also had the privilege of collaborating with my colleagues at Alabama Public Radio for part of 2011 as the editor of weekly commentaries by Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Midway through 2011, I began working with the development of new content for the University of Alabama’s TV stations WVUA and WUOA. I am producing short documentaries for the stations and I look forward to what the future holds in 2012.