PN 40: “True South” – Jon Else on Henry Hampton & “Eyes on the Prize”

“Eyes on the Prize” is a landmark documentary series chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. Debuting on public television in 1987, it remains just as riveting 30 years later. Now the making of the series is covered in a new book called “True South” by the filmmaker-turned-author Jon Else. He gives a vivid portrait of the pioneering black filmmaker Henry Hampton and the Boston-based company Blackside that created “Eyes.”

Else has deep roots in this story. As a student in the sixties, he worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer voter registration drive. Else went on to direct the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Day After Trinity” about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the atomic bomb in 1980. Later, he joined the Blackside team to be a cameraman and series producer for “Eyes on the Prize.” Else has made other documentaries while teaching at the University of California in Berkeley.

On this episode, Else talks to Thom Powers about the making of “Eyes on the Prize” and capturing the experience in “True South.”

“True South” is published by Viking

“Eyes on the Prize” is available on DVD and on iTunes
On Twitter: @thompowers @PureNonfiction

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

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