HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
In 2018, I contributed music to the Academy Award-nominated and Criterion Collection-selected documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening for which I received the award Best Music Score from the International Documentary Association. The film was written and directed by RaMell Ross.
Quoting the Peabody awards page, "If John Coltrane's Alabama stands as one of the most iconic artistic expressions capturing the mournful horrors and tragedies of Civil Rights-era Alabama, RaMell Ross's Hale County This Morning, This Evening stands as an equally brilliant articulation of place marked by the intimately beautiful yet quotidian dimensions of black Alabamians' daily lives. A photographer by training, Ross's rich artistry is on display in every frame as he harkens back to the aesthetics of early documentary form. Ever patient and gentle with his shots and subjects, Ross continually juxtaposes the quiet and raucous, the painful and joyful, and the gorgeous and haunting landscapes of the Alabama Black Belt. We experience humans vitally alive in churches and locker rooms, solo musicians sharing their souls at morning and night, and even a glorious two-minutes-and-45-seconds of a young child running back-and-forth that is pure joy to behold. We see the extraordinariness of a solar eclipse, but also the mundane sunrises and sunsets and thunderstorms and butterflies that dominate this rural landscape. Hale County is a film about nothing yet everything. For a glorious rumination on and a welcome window into the lives and spirit of African Americans far too rarely represented in film and media, Hale County This Morning, This Evening receives a Peabody."