Making Sweet Tea + Q&A

Monday 30 May 2022

“The film project began in 2013 in collaboration with anthropologist and documentary filmmaker, John L. Jackson, Jr., who is a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania. Because of Jackson’s interest in using the medium of film as creative scholarship and social change, he approached Johnson about making a film about Sweet Tea that would showcase how to use art as a scholarly method to engage audiences beyond the academy.

 

Making Sweet Tea, the film, combines footage from the productions of the play with documentary moments from the lives of both Johnson’s interview subjects from the book and the author’s own life, depicting both his research process and the complexities of his relationships with the men in the study. One experimental component of the film is Johnson’s re-staging the performance of the interviewees’ narrative in their homes, in their churches, or on their jobs, sometimes with them directing him or with them in the scene.

“The film project began in 2013 in collaboration with anthropologist and documentary filmmaker, John L. Jackson, Jr., who is a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania. Because of Jackson’s interest in using the medium of film as creative scholarship and social change, he approached Johnson about making a film about Sweet Tea that would showcase how to use art as a scholarly method to engage audiences beyond the academy.

Making Sweet Tea, the film, combines footage from the productions of the play with documentary moments from the lives of both Johnson’s interview subjects from the book and the author’s own life, depicting both his research process and the complexities of his relationships with the men in the study. One experimental component of the film is Johnson’s re-staging the performance of the interviewees’ narrative in their homes, in their churches, or on their jobs, sometimes with them directing him or with them in the scene.

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