Remember Fort Pillow

Remember Fort Pillow

$15 (*Film Block)

Documentary Short

27 Minutes

Dance River Productions

In the spring of 1864, rumors about a massacre at Fort Pillow reached Memphis, Tennessee. A Union outpost on the Mississippi, Fort Pillow had been quiet in the months preceding, though citizen militias occasionally skirmished back and forth across the river. But now the fort was overrun by rebels, and the news was grim. It was said that when federals laid down their arms in defeat, enraged rebels shot, beat, and bayoneted them, with black soldiers bearing the worst of it. Rebel sympathizers insisted it was a clean victory and that newspapers exaggerated the carnage. But Union surgeons found powder burns on the faces and bodies of the dead Union troops, suggesting they had been shot at close range. What really happened at Fort Pillow? Why was this incident unheard of for nearly 100 years? This film explores the controversy, bringing to life the stories of survivors on both sides of the conflict.

Dee Garceau – Director

Dee Garceau is an historian-turned-filmmaker who teaches at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. Her checkered past includes growing up in Massachusetts, college in Maine, research in Montana, and work in Tennessee, so she names all of those places as home. She loves to dance and the way people tell stories with their bodies.

Garceau was introduced to stepping at the University of Montana when she served as faculty advisor to the Black Student Association during the early 1990s. During her first sabbatical in 2001-02, Garceau went to The Documentary Center at George Washington University to learn about filmmaking. During her second sabbatical, she hatched plans and wrote grants for a documentary film about stepping. In the spring of 2010, this became a course at Rhodes College in which students formed the production team to research, interview, and write “Stepping: Beyond the Line” under her direction.

In April 2010, Garceau and crew filmed the “Kings of Memphis Step Show” at the University of Memphis, hosted by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Step practices were also filmed with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at University of Memphis, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at Christian Brothers University. Individual interviews were filmed with members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity as well.   Garceau’s first film was a 12-minute short made in film school, on “Go Go,” a musical genre indigenous to Washington, D.C.’s black neighborhoods. “Stepping: Beyond the Line” is her first feature-length documentary, produced with Joann Self-Selvidge, Editor, and Eric Brice Swartz, Director of Photography.

Currently, she is working on a documentary film about powwow dancing with the Blackfeet and the Bitterroot/Pend D’Oreille Salish in western Montana, as well as one urban, intertribal drum in Idaho Falls.

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