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Filmmaking team of Raymond Bell and Doug Harris conducting interview for the upcoming PBS documentary CALLED UP: The Emmett Ashford Story

All American PBS documentary premiere January 20th at UC Berkeley International House being hosted by Chancellor Carol Christ.

(BERKELEY, CA) Not many can claim the number of accomplishments as Berkeley's Walter Gordon, and especially considering the obstacles he faced as an African American man in the early 20th century during America's troublesome Jim Crow era.

ALL AMERICAN, is an upcoming PBS documentary examining Walter Gordon's complex life as UC Berkeley's very first All American football player (1918), and his achievements as an unknown early 20th century social justice and civil rights pioneer.  The film's premiere will be held at his alma mater, and hosted by Chancellor Carol Christ in her last semester as head of the university on Saturday, January 20, 2024 at 7pm.  

The documentary is slated for airing on PBS in February 2024 during Black History Month, and features a distinguished cast of individuals who provide insight and commentary on Walter Gordon's impact on society through college sports, law enforcement, and state & local government prior to the early civil rights movent in 1954.

"This was the single most challenging documentary I've ever produced in all my years, and the amount of research it took to tell this compelling story was incredible," states filmmaker Doug Harris. "My hope is that viewers will agree that Walter Gordon was truly a great All American in every sense of the word both on and off the field."

Click on photo or link to view trailer

History Channel podcast tells the story of Emmett Ashford, Major League Baseball's first Black umpire to break the color barrier

The journey for professional baseball players to climb up the ranks to the major leagues is an extremely tough task, and road is even tougher for an umpire especially if they are Black.  Emmett Ashford's journey as Major League Baseball's first Black umpire was recently explored through a colorful podcast on the History Channel which featured exerpts from the recently completed PBS documentary CALLED UP: The Emmett Ashford Story.

The podcast includes an assortment of sound bytes of interviews from the film, along with commentary from the filmmaking team of Raymond Bell (executive producer) and Doug Harris (producer/director) who share their insight into the life of one of baseball's forgotten pioneers.  The CALLED UP documentary is slated for airing this summer on PBS during the baseball season.

Click on photo or link to hear podcast

University of Southern Maine exhibits unique exercise in community building through storytelling and collage portraiture

(PORTLAND, ME) While participating in a recent week-long scholar in residence program at the University of Southern Maine (USM), filmmaker Doug Harris conducted a series of guest lecture presentations, a documentary film screening, and took the opportunity to co-facilitate one of the university's more unique academic activities.  

Along with Dr. Paula Gerstenblatt, Professor of Social Work, and USM Historian Libby Bischof, Harris presented his short film Macdonald Avenue, then teamed up to document the activities of the university's collage portraiture workshop that included participation from faculty, staff and students representing 19 departments.

"This was a very special experience for me, because I was able to capture the very essence of this innovative way of community building within an educational institution," comments Doug Harris.  "This interdisciplinary workshop demonstrates that art can help bridge gaps within academic communities."

Click on photo or link to view USM collage portraiture workshop

Commonwealth Club's Climate One hosts panel discussion on arts activism, environmental justice, and issues of displacement in Bay Area

(SAN FRANCISCO) LaDonna Williams of environmental justice nonprofit All Positives Possible, Christine Fogarty of  San Francisco State University's Museum Studies Program, and documentary filmmaker Doug Harris joined Climate One host Greg Dalton to share their experiences in creating the Global Museum's "Clearly Polluted" exhibit.

The three guests met up at the Commonwealth Club's monthly Climate One televised program to share stories on the intersection of art, activism and environmental justice, with a particular focus on in the ongoing issues of racism and displacement.  LaDonna Williams and Doug Harris (photo) each brought interesting perspectives to the discussion on ways they have both have shed light on Bay Area communities most affected by pollution and homelessness.

Click on photo or link to view Climate One panel discussion

Walter Gordon tribute at the University of California, Berkeley honors early social justice and civil rights pioneer

(BERKELEY) Very seldom do opportunities arise to celebrate 100th anniversaries, and the filmmaking team of Doug Harris and Brian Spencer stepped away from their documentary All American: The Walter Gordon Story to honor the subject of their film about one of the University of California, Berkeley's greatest legends. The tribute event at UC Berkeley's International House commemorated Walter Gordon's 1922 anniversary of being the university's first Black law school graduate, the founder of the campus' Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity chapter, and an assistant football coach for the school's 9-0 national championship team all in the same year.  

The tribute included presentations from UC System President Dr. Michael Drake, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton, and former Cal Alumni Association President and Berkeley Law graduate Cloey Hewlett.  The event then featured a conversation between Moderator Noah Griffin and filmmaker Doug Harris, as they presented a 10-minute preview of the documentary for the captive audience.

The evening concluded with Griffin and Harris leading a panel discussion with cast members of the documentary (Ed Gordon and Jeffrey Warren) along with Ahmad Anderson, Cal Athletic Hall of Fame member, and Dr. Ty-Ron Douglas, Cal's Associate Athletic Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. (see video)

Short documentary explores history of Richmond's Macdonald Avenue, as the city seeks to revitalize its main street corridor

(RICHMOND) Way back in 1899, A.S. Macdonald had a vision that would to ultimately led to the Bay Area city of Richmond becoming a major hub for transportation and industry on the West Coast.  Intrigued by this captivating story, filmmaker Doug Harris has produced a short documentary that explores the history of Richmond, California's main street corridor (Macdonald Avenue).  

"During my time working for the City of Richmond, I had heard so many stories about the vibrancy of the old downtown Richmond along Macdonald Avenue, and I felt this would be an interesting subject for a historical documentary.  This story is a big part of American history, because what happened to Macdonald Avenue has happened to main streets all around the country," says Doug Harris.

The short 10-minute documentary was funded through the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission's Neighborhood Public Art grant, and Harris is looking to extend the short film into a full PBS documentary.

College & Career video series provides young students with roadmap for life after high school success

(RICHMOND) Exploring options and preparing for life after high school is not always an easy task for young students, and can be even more difficult for parents.  With this in mind, the Richmond Library's Teen Program and the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund teamed up with to produce the video series to help guide students through the process of developing a solid game plan.  
The video series is comprised of six (6) short presentations that cover options and resources for admissions to four-year and community college, and the construction and building trades.

CALLED UP documentary screening at UCLA's Athletic Hall of Fame
celebrates the university's Beloved Community Initiative

(LOS ANGELES) The filmmaking team of Raymond Bell and Doug Harris recently screened their PBS documentary CALLED UP: The Emmett Ashford Story at UCLA to an intimate crowd on campus as part of the university's "Beloved Community Initiative" weeklong series of events in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson.

Emmy award winning sports producer Raymond Bell, executive producer of CALLED UP and UCLA alumnus arranged the screening in conjunction with the school's Community Programs Office to present the film to Emmett Ashford's hometown in Los Angeles before the PBS broadcasts later this summer during the 2022 baseball season.

"The post screening panel discussion was just as long as the fim, and it created an exciting dialogue from the audience," says filmmaker Doug Harris. "Presenting our film on the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball was very special for our production team."

North Richmond Documentary Photo & Video Exhibit

The online exhibit was produced through the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission's Neighborhood Public Art grant, and presented a collection of archival photo images and documentary stories about the unincorporated community of North Richmond.

Originally slated for exhibition at the Richmond Museum of History & Culture, the exhibit was switched to an online exhibit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The blend of archival photos and video clips were assembled from the award winning four-part An Exploration of Our History documentary film series produced by teen participants of the North Richmond Digital Technology Academy media arts training program, facilitated by Producer/Director Doug Harris.

Doug Harris, Filmmaker

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