This film has been the most meaningful project of our career so far. When a neighbour of Taylor’s from her childhood in Massachusetts, Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker, asked us to help document a memorial service she had planned for the 4,000+ African Americans lynched since the beginning of the Jim Crow era, we eagerly agreed. Little did we know that this would begin a journey that would change our lives forever.
Through Shirley, we came to know Winfred Rembert - a leather worker and survivor of an attempted lynching who spoke through his art as a means to heal and to share his experience. Winfred quickly became a dear friend, and we devoted ourselves to his vision for nationwide learning and understanding our shared history.
As these two stories evolved and merged, the film took on the character of an homage to how Shirley and Winfred use art to address racial injustices in America. Ashes to Ashes screened at over 70 festivals, played at 5 Oscar qualifying festivals, and won 25 awards including Best Short at River Run - which qualified us for an Academy Award. The film was acquired by The New Yorker for their documentary video series, and was accompanied by the short article Life After Lynching.