Hale County This Morning: RaMell Ross Oscar-Nominated Documentary

Director RaMell Ross premiered Hale County This Morning, a sharp look at the everyday lives of the black residents of Hale County, Alabama, at the 2018 Sundance Film Fest, where it won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Vision.

The film then won the docu prize at the 2018 Gotham Awards, in November, ahead of its Oscar nomination, in January 2019.

The director showed at the 2019 Sundance Fest (in January) his docu short, “Easter Snap,” about telling new stories of the South.

Campaigning for Awards

The weirdest part is that no one talks about it being weird. It’s literally a campaign, and I think every playing field isn’t level. It’s really truly strange.

Marketing Himself

For me the saving grace is when it comes to me talking about myself in the film. I love it because I legitimately feel like I’m teaching people about black visuality and having a conversation they would not have otherwise. I get to tell some people that the way in which you see black people is based on the way in which you’ve seen black people.

You’ve never seen a black person before because blackness doesn’t exist, and now it has to, and now we have to double down on it.  I think that’s why I don’t get tired of it. It’s just basically extending the classroom conversation out into the public.

Inspiration for Docu

My dad is from the South, from North Carolina. I spend a bunch of time there, so it wasn’t a culture shock. Me being in Alabama and being like, “Why hasn’t anyone seen this? Why haven’t I? Why is it that any time someone talks about the South, it’s either through the narrow but necessary lens of slavery or through the sort of white conservative thing?”