Music Maker Relief Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of the Blues gain recognition and meet their day-to-day needs. Our blog is dedicated to keeping the conversation about these artists alive & thriving.
For the past five months, Music Maker has partnered with Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies for a class in Multimedia Documentary. We mentioned the class in a previous blog post, but now we’re happy to start sharing some of the students’ work!
The students worked in groups of three or four to produce videos and ancillary materials about several local Music Maker artists – the pieces we saw focused on Ironing Board Sam, Ben Payton and Captain Luke. In addition to producing four videos, there is a series of ancillary material including stories of washboards, social clubs and family.
Students were eager to talk about their experiences working with the artists and learning the ins and outs of documenting such dynamic people. The group that worked with Ben Payton became big fans – so much so that they decided to treat him to a steak because of a story he had shared with them about knowing he’d made it when he could sit down with a fancy steak. Check out their final video above and let us know what you think!
Hannah Nemer is a junior Peace, War, and Defense and American Studies double major at the University of North Carolina. Hannah loves working with film, and can often be seen with camera in hand. After graduation she hopes to study visual and material anthropology so that she can better explore how the use of narrative filmmaking in conveying the stories of distinct communities.
Dillon Patel is a freshman at Duke University. A member of Trinity College, he is a double major in Economics and Visual & Media Studies. Born and raised in Miami, FL, Dillon has been very passionate about the various multimedia and marketing aspects of the entertainment industry. He spent his last two summers working with Mod Media Pubic Relations to host a week of fashion shows, celebrity-gifting suites, and after parties during mid-July in South Beach. He used his skills in graphic design and video editing to create promotional material and maintain a strong social media presence. During his time at Gulliver Preparatory School, he served as editor-in-chief of the school’s award winning yearbook and co-founded The Homeless Vote Project, an initiative to secure voting rights for Miami’s homeless population. On campus, he has been very involved with Duke Student Broadcasting, primarily as host of the prank show, Little Devils. He also serves as Creative Director for the Chronicle’s monthly Towerview magazine.
I’m a Duke senior from Northwest Indiana, just outside of Chicago. I’ll be graduating with a major in Biology and a Global Health certificate. During my time at Duke, I’ve most enjoyed learning about global mental health, the complexities of poverty, environmental science, and storytelling. Multimedia Documentary is my second documentary studies class; in my first, I experimented with black-and-white film photography. I’ll be attending medical school next fall and am excited to possibly weave together my interests in health equity and film while there. And of course, I’ll be keeping up with the blues while studying. - Stephani Zakutansky