The Reconstruction of Asa Carter is a co-production of G.T.T. Gone To Texas LLC and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and additional funding provided by the Austin Film Society, Humanities Texas, New York State Council on the Arts, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Douglas Newman, Producer
A magna cum laude graduate of Brandeis University, Douglas Newman spent five years as a producer at ABC News Productions in New York where he worked on documentaries for the Discovery Channel, the A&E Network, the History Channel and The Learning Channel. Among his most recognized achievements were programs on the Human Genome Project, Alan Greenspan, and the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Since 2006, he’s been the Director of Creative Programming at Mouth Watering Media overseeing the development and production of non-fiction film projects, including The Reconstruction of Asa Carter, a recently completed documentary feature that received funding from the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Humanities Texas and will air on PBS in the spring of 2012, and Cai Guo-Qiang “Odyssey,” a short film that documented the creation of the acclaimed international artist’s large scale gunpowder drawing commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Current projects include collaborations with Laura Browder on an untitled feature film about her grandfather, Earl Browder, the former General Secretary of the American Communist Party from 1934-1945, Mothers at War, a documentary film and interactive website that explores the unique challenges of motherhood and the military, and a documentary feature tracing the intertwined histories of Rice University and the city of Houston.
Laura Browder, Executive Producer
Laura Browder, Ph.D., is the Tyler and Alice Haynes professor in American Studies at the University of Richmond. A highly respected author/filmmaker, her recent projects include the book and traveling museum exhibition, When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans; the book Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America, in which she traces the way the female soldier has been seen in American popular culture from Revolutionary War times to the present day; the oral history drama Sheep Hill Memories, Carver Dreams, a collaboration with residents of the working-class African American neighborhood in Richmond; and Rousing the Nation: Radical Culture in Depression America, which was named a Choice Outstanding Book of 1998. Browder served as executive producer on the ITVS and VFH-funded documentary film, The Reconstruction of Asa Carter, which was based on her book Slippery Characters: Ethnic Impersonators and American Identities and is slated to air on PBS in the spring of 2012. She and producer Douglas Newman are currently collaborating on a feature film about her grandfather, Earl Browder, the former General Secretary of the American Communist Party and Mothers at War, a documentary film and oral history project that explores the challenges of motherhood and the military.
Marco Ricci, Director
A graduate of Northwestern University, Marco received the Kodak Gold Award and the Sony Production Award for his thesis film Chicago Minutes. His short film, Pishadoo, was well received on the festival circuit and was purchased by Canal Plus Europe, Sundance Channel, Atom Films and United Airlines. The film earned production awards at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and the Williamsburg Film Festival. Marco’s last short film, Hyper, was chosen for the Centerpiece of the New York Film Festival, where it opened for P.T. Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love. It was honored as the Best Short Short at the prestigious Aspen Shortsfest and was screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, among others. Hyper is being distributed by Apollo Cinema and has been seen on Atom Films, RAI Television, and the Independent Film Channel. His first feature, The Wedding Bros. made it’s world premiere at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival. The film, a comedy about two adversarial brothers who set out to make it big with the King Of Long Island Wedding Videos, is being distributed by Universal Prictures/ScreenMedia. Marco recently directed a PBS documentary, The Reconstruction of Asa Carter. The film recounts the life story of Native-American writer Forrest Carter, author of The Outlaw Josey Wales, who was in actuality a prominent member of the KKK. It will make it’s world premiere at the 2011 Sidewalk Film Festival and it’s television premiere in the Spring of 2012. His hobbies include knitting and bow hunting.
Michael Fix, Co-Producer
Mr. Fix got his start in the fashion world. He has produced over 2,000 runway shoots at the presti- gious Fashion Week in New York City along with production work for a variety of networks including CBS, NBC, MTV, Bravo, WE, FUSE and VH1. His first experience n the film world was as best boy on Company K but he completed the film with the 1st assistant director credit. Other film credits include the Brazilian feature doc The Magnificent, SXSW favorite The Marconi Bros., and Sundance finalist Great World of Sound. Mr. Fix just completed principal photography on the feature film The Invisible Collection, which he produced. Shot on 35mm in Brazil the film will hit the festival tour next spring. Currently Mr. Fix is developing a slate of feature and documentary projects. Peter Olsen, Director of Photography After being selected as a regional finalist for a Student Academy Award for his first 16mm film Interstates, Peter was accepted into the graduate film program at NYU, where his work garnered several honors, including a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, a Warner Bros. Production Award, and a nomination for the American Society of Cinematographers Greg Toland Heritage Award. Peter was also awarded a $25,000 development grant from IFP/North and the Minnesota Indepen- dent Film Fund as co-writer of the feature film screenplay Ice Nine, now in development. Peter taught a four-week workshop on documentary filmmaking at the distinguished International Film & Television Workshops in Rockport, Maine, and a six-week course in cinematography at the Kochi University of Technology in Japan. He has served as director of photography on dozens of films includ- ing documentaries, television series, shorts, national spots, and more than ten features. His work has been featured on networks which include PBS, ABC, A&E, ESPN, HGTV, Showtime, The Sundance Channel, STARZ, and in theatrical distribution. Peter brings an invaluable distinction to the projects he shoots since he is also a writer, producer, and director. His debut feature, Kaaterskill Falls (co-directed with Josh Apter), on which he also served as director of photography, received the Critic’s Jury Prize for Best Feature at the IFP/West Los Angeles Film Festival, and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. It aired 18 months on The Sundance Channel and was released by Wellspring Media on DVD and video. He is currently developing and shooting a number of projects, documentary and narrative, for screens large and small, including The Singing Wilderness, a documentary feature about award-winning conservation activist and best-selling author Sigurd F. Olson.
OP MATTERS REVIEW | 11.01.2011
Cynthia Fuchs reviews The Reconstruction of Asa Carter in Pop Matter.
"As different as these public performances appear to be, they also all speak to some similar themes and, perhaps, desires. The film lets interview subjects make their own guesses as to such desires — whether he craved celebrity or political power."
~ Pop Matters
INTERVIEW WITH PRODUCER DOUGLAS NEWMAN IN CULTUREMAP HOUSTON | 10.12.2011
CultureMap contributor Joel Luks interviewed producer Douglas Newman about The Reconstruction of Asa Carter in advance of two area screenings at Houston Community College and Rice University.
"The film is much more than plain biography. It considers the subject of ethnic impersonations and their influence on the American zeitgeist and questions issues of ethnic identity."
~ CultureMap Houston
REVIEW AT WISCONSIN FILM FESTIVAL BY STERLING | 10.05.2011
The Reconstruction of Asa Carter is an interesting piece that everyone should look into.
"The film does a wonderful job of presenting the facts while raising some disturbing questions about the classic literary theme of appearance and reality."
SIDEWALK FILM FESTIVAL PANEL | 8.10.2011
The day before our screening at the Sidewalk Film Festival we'll be taking part in a panel on the ethical issues faced when trying to represent an individual's life on film.
~ Sidewalk Film Festival
RECONSTRUCTION TO SCREEN AT VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL | 10.05.2011
The Reconstruction of Asa Carter will be screening at the Virginia Film Festival on November 4th at 4PM in Nau Auditorium on the University of Virginia campus.
A discussion with Executive Producer Laura Browder will follow the screening.
~ Virginia Film Festival
SNEAK PEAK SCREENINGS | 8.09.2011
Looks like there will be a number of "sneak peek" screenings this fall before the PBS premiere. Boston, Houston, Ohio, Atlanta, Syracuse among others. Details to follow.
~ PBS Premiere
The Reconstruction of Asa Carter is an hour-long documentary exploring the life and legacy of the best-selling author of The Outlaw Josey Wales and The Education of Little Tree. Published in 1976, Little Tree, billed as a "true story," recounts the idyllic life of an orphaned Native American boy learning the Way of the Cherokee from his sage grandparents in the hills of Tennessee. The book was met with great critical acclaim and was lauded for its authentic portrayal of the American Indian experience. It was also credited with being the seminal work of Native American literature.
In October of 1991, The Education of Little Tree was number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Little Tree was a true word-of-mouth success. The director of marketing for University of New Mexico Press recalls purchasers buying a dozen copies at a time to distribute to friends.
Groups of school children had formed Little Tree fan clubs. Steven Spielberg and Robert Redford started a bidding war for the rights to bring Carter’s gentle, New Age-tinged message of multiculturalism and environmentalism to the big screen. For thousands of New York Times readers, then, October 4, 1991 must have brought an unpleasant surprise.
An op-ed piece announced the critically acclaimed Cherokee memoir as a fake. Forrest Carter was really Asa Carter, a professional racist who pounded out inflammatory speeches for George Wallace, including his infamous call-to-arms, "Segregation Now! Segregation Tomorrow! Segregation Forever!" He founded five chapters of the Ku Klux Klan, whose members brutally attacked black citizens throughout Alabama. In fact, Carter's racist beliefs were so extreme that in 1970 he split with his old boss, Wallace, accusing him of being a "sell out to the Negro." Even his new first name, readers learned, had been taken from Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate Cavalry General who founded the original Ku Klux Klan. Articles on Little Tree’s identity appeared in Newsweek, in Time, in Publishers Weekly. Fans of the book were shocked, as were friends of Forrest’s in his later Texas years, for whom he would, after a couple of drinks, perform Indian war dances and chant in what he said was the Cherokee language. For people across the country, the exposure of Forrest Carter was an occasion for soul-searching.