SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR MORAL URGENCY - Sundance Film Festival | 2020 NOTABLE VIDEOS FOR ADULTS - American Library Association | RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews OnlineAfrican American Studies • Sociology • American Studies • Film Studies • U.S. History • Ethnic Studies • Criminal Justice Reform • Journalism
ALWAYS IN SEASON explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today. The film centers on the case of Lennon Lacy, an African American teen who was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, on August 29, 2014. Despite inconsistencies in the case, local officials quickly ruled Lennon’s death a suicide, but his mother, Claudia, believes Lennon was lynched. Determined to find answers about what happened to her son, Claudia moves from paralyzing grief to leading the fight for justice.
As the film unfolds, Lennon’s case, and the suspicions surrounding it, intersect with stories of other communities seeking justice and reconciliation. A few hundred miles away in Monroe, Georgia, a diverse group of reenactors, including the adult daughter of a former Ku Klux Klan leader, annually dramatize a 1946 quadruple lynching to ensure the victims are never forgotten and encourage the community to come forward with information that might bring the perpetrators to justice. As the terrorism of the past bleeds into the present, the film asks: what will it take for Americans to begin building a national movement for racial justice and reconciliation?
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Reviewed by Monique Threatt, Indiana University, Herman B Wells Library
"This engaging albeit tragic documentary delves into America’s ugly history of criminal lawlessness, and the uncivilized twisted psyche exhibited in lynching people of color. [...] I recommend this documentary to adults interested in, or studying American and African American History, Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Sociology."
"A soulful, blistering look into the shameful heart of America’s legacy of public lynchings of African Americans by white citizens ... Though tough to watch, Season is important viewing that promises, as one of the reenactors says while wiping tears from her face, to keep the issue 'in the light.'"
"Thought-provoking film that opens the door for discussions on racial issues, the criminal justice system, and African American history"
The New York Times
"The documentary Always in Season makes a powerful case that the history of lynching in the American South is not just history — that murders still haunt the present-day sites where they occurred, and that such killings can and do happen today."
"Combining observational footage with first-person testimonies and expert insights, Jacqueline Olive’s Always in Season is the first feature documentary to spotlight recent grassroots efforts to acknowledge the victims of lynching, repair the damage, and reconcile. The film explores the lingering impact of the lynchings of African Americans from over a century, and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today."
"Archival materials offer details of the gruesome past, and interviews and present-day reporting are nicely counterbalanced by moments of visual poetry that capture the lyrical aspects of rural Southern life — even as we suss out its less-than-sweet side."
"Jacqueline Olive’s unwavering debut film puts Lacy’s pursuit for justice into a wider historical context, inspiring a powerful discussion about lynching across racial lines … Olive’s film honors and acknowledges the injustices that have been inflicted, while emphasizing that only through the uncomfortable conversations and acceptance of our nation’s history will we begin to heal together."
"The entire experience is haunting, difficult and necessary, a depiction of an America that we think of as relegated to the past but that continues to encroach on the present."
"With a background in journalism, Olive is factual and to the point. As a filmmaker, she is passionate and unwavering. While Ms. Olive’s debut feels like an instant success, it is a labor of love that took nearly ten years to make. The film is tough but necessary."
The Hollywood Reporter
"Infuriating and eye-opening"
"An artful, deeply felt documentary"
"A nuanced, layered reminder of how far we still have to go to correct the injustices of this country’s past and present."
"An exceptional documentary in every respect"
Human Rights Award | River Run International Film Festival
Jury Award for Best Documentary | Dallas International Film Festival
Jury Award for Best Documentary | Omaha Film Festival
Jury Award for Best Documentary | Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
Top Grit Award | Indie Grits
Sun Valley Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Salem Film Festival
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Atlanta Film Festival
Women + Film Festival
Athens International Film + Video Festival
Freep Film Festival
Crossroads Film Festival
Florida Film Festival
Sarasota Film Festival
Kansas City FilmFest International
San Francisco International Film Festival
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Bentonville Film Festival
Mendocino Film Festival
Provincetown International Film Festival
American Black Film Festival
Indiana Black Expo Film Festival
FestivalSouth Film Expo
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH JACQUELINE OLIVE
Director of ALWAYS IN SEASON
Jacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker and immersive media producer with more than fifteen years of experience in journalism and film. Her debut feature documentary, ALWAYS IN SEASON, premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency. ALWAYS IN SEASON has received nominations for Best Writing from IDA Documentary Awards 2019 and the Spotlight Award from Cinema Eye Honors 2019, and the film will broadcast on the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series, Independent Lens in February 2020. Jackie also co-directed and co-produced the award-winning hour-long thesis film, Black to Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS WORLD in 2009. Jackie has received artist grants and industry funding from Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Independent Television Service (ITVS), Ford Foundation, Firelight Media, Chicken & Egg Pictures, International Documentary Association, Kendeda Fund, Catapult Film Fund, Southern Documentary Fund, Alternate ROOTS, and more. She was recently awarded the Emerging Filmmakers of Color Award from International Documentary Association (IDA) and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and profiled one of Variety's "10 Filmmakers To Watch."
Jackie has gained experience with immersive media production as a fellow with the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) Institute for New Media Technologies and Mediamaker Fellows, the Black Public Media New Media Institute, and most recently, the Open Immersion VR Lab sponsored by the Ford Foundation, National Film Board of Canada, and the Canadian Film Centre. In 2010, Jacqueline created the prototype for a virtual reality, role-playing environment that offers viewers an immersive look at the choices and circumstances that can lead to lynch mob violence. The VR project is called Always in Season Island and is featured in the MIT Open Documentary Lab Docubase. Jackie is currently producing an accompanying VR project that uses 360° video and computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation to explore the film’s themes of dehumanization and violence, offering users strategies for moving confidently through the racialized public spaces that black women navigate daily.