A film by Mat Hames for Independent Lens/ PBS. In the early 20th century, a tiny East Texas community was a "safe haven" for African Americans, with rich musical traditions. This short documentary sheds light on Center Point, Texas and explores the role of faith in these close knit communities. Commissioned by Independent Lens; originally appeared as a bonus feature from the When I Rise DVD and as a web extra.
Never Conquered: A Shoshone in the Vietnam War
A film by Mat Hames commissioned by Independent Lens, “Never Conquered” was originally published as an Editor’s Pick in The Atlantic. The story of the life of respected Eastern Shoshone tribal elder Philbert McLeod, who passed away shorty after this filming. Philbert had an incredible breadth of knowledge about his tribe’s history, and fought for America in Vietnam, for which he received the Purple Heart. He believed an old beaded charm passed down by an elder helped protect him when he was in combat. McLeod, who died in 2016, remembers first hearing English as a child listening to a transistor radio and recalls what it was like in the mid-fifties to go to school on the reservation. “If a student was caught speaking Shoshone, the teacher would tell him, ‘Go to the blackboards,’” he reminisces. “[And he’d write] ‘I will not speak Shoshone ever again,’ 500 times.”
The Integration of Barton Springs: Joan Khabele (Austin Revealed, Civil Rights Stories)
Commissioned by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, directed by Mat Hames. Denied a class trip to Barton Springs, Joan Khabele protested the exclusion of African Americans. She describes the measures she and others took to desegregate the iconic Austin landmark.
A Century Of Change: A Short Documentary About John McKetta
Short, Premiered at SXSW Film 2017 Community Screenings: Faces of Austin. A film by Mat Hames, commissioned by the University of Texas at Austin. Chronicles the life of 100 year old scientist Dr. John McKetta, who looks back at a century beginning in the coal mines of Pennsylvania and ending up with a Chemical Engineering Department named after him at the University of Texas at Austin.
Civil Rights Stories: Austin Revealed (PBS/KLRU)
26 minute short. The unknown history of the 1960’s civil rights movement in Austin, Texas. Originally broadcast on KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, and screened at the SXSW Film Festival's Community Screening, Faces of Austin.