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Sam Pollard Developing Documentary Features On John Coltrane and The Rise & Fall Of ACORN

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 18, 2012 at 11:32AM

Long-time Spike Lee editor (as well as director and producer in his own right) Sam Pollard, has been a busy filmmaker lately. His feature documentary for PBS, Slavery By Another Name, made its debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, in the documentary competition section; and most recently we reported on his teaming with Melissa Haizlip to produce the feature documentary Mr. SOUL!: Ellis Haizlip and the Birth of Black Power TV.
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John Coltrane

Long-time Spike Lee editor (as well as director and producer in his own right) Sam Pollard, has been a busy filmmaker lately. His feature documentary for PBS, Slavery By Another Name, made its debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, in the documentary competition section; and most recently we reported on his teaming with Melissa Haizlip to produce the feature documentary Mr. SOUL!: Ellis Haizlip and the Birth of Black Power TV.

What we haven't yet reported on, and thus I'm guessing a lot of you aren't aware of, are feature documentary projects on John Coltrane, and the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or more commonly known as ACORN. (remember them, and the controversy surrounding the organization during the 2008 election season?)

Taking them one at a time, first, Pollard has been working on a John Coltrane doc currently titled A Love Supreme: A Portrait of John Coltrane in 4 Parts, which is said to be based on the critically acclaimed book A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album by music journalist Ashley Kahn.

My research revealed that A Love Supreme: A Portrait of John Coltrane in 4 Parts will be structured in the same way as Coltrane's influential 1964 album of the same name. The album is divided into four parts: Acknowledgement, Resolution, Pursuance, and Psalm. It will feature interviews with Coltrane's bandmates and friends, as well as historians and music journalists, artists and people of faith who were inspired by the album.

Also, and interestingly, Pollard says he plans to use animation to help tell Coltrane's story.

Consider me sold! There certainly have been other docs on Coltraner, like the hour-long 1990 documentary The World According To John Coltrane, which was made in cooperation with his then widow Alice Coltrane. But Pollard's sounds wholly original in its style and structure, and I'm intrigued.

No word on when it can be expected.

And secondly, the ACORN project, which Pollard is co-directing with Reuben Atlas, is titled Rise and Fall of ACORN. It's a project that's received strong financial support by way of grants, from several notable institutions like the IDA Documentary Fund, and most recently, it was 1 of 25 feature-length documentary films selected to receive a total of $550,000 in grants from the Sundance Institute's Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP).

Here's how it's described:

In 2009 a national community-organizing group was destroyed. The complex story of ACORN involves a journalist posing as a pimp, embezzlement, a right wing conspiracy plot, and voter fraud.

It was once titled Rise and Fall of ACORN: America's Most Controversial Anti-poverty Organization; but no word on whether the finished film will include the subtitle or not.

Sam Pollard is also producing the film, which will look at ACORN during the height of its power, an organization devoted to fighting poverty in the United States, through its eventual destruction, in a story "stranger than fiction" that examines how our nation's war against poverty is really fought.

I'm not sure if a definitive film about ACORN has been made (although I could be wrong), so consider me sold on this one as well!

No ETA on when we can expect it, however. 

Stay tuned for updates on both projects.

This article is related to: Samuel D. Pollard


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