Anne Lewis is an independent award-winning social documentary filmmaker and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches documentary and film editing. She is associated with Appalshop Films, a media arts and cultural center located in Whitesburg, Kentucky, in the heart of the Central Appalachian Coalfields. Her work reveals working-class people fighting for social change. Anne was associate director/assistant camera for HARLAN COUNTY, U.S.A., the Academy Award-winning documentary about the Brookside strike. After the strike, she moved to the eastern Kentucky coalfields where she lived for 25 years.
Documentaries she produced, directed, and edited include ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT co-directed with Mimi Pickering (2013 Kentucky History Award) about the extraordinary life of a civil rights leader; MORRISTOWN: IN THE AIR AND SUN (Austin Film Festival), a working-class critique of globalization; TO SAVE THE LAND AND PEOPLE (SXSW, Texas Documentary Tour) a history of a militant grassroots environmental movement; JUSTICE IN THE COALFIELDS, about the community impact of the Pittston strike; ON OUR OWN LAND (duPont-Columbia award for independent broadcast journalism) about the citizens’ movement to stop broad form deed strip mining; and CHEMICAL VALLEY co-directed with Mimi Pickering (P.O.V.) about environmental racism; and SHELTER, which tells the stories of five West Virginia women as they try to find freedom, justice and safety.
Her documentary, FAST FOOD WOMEN, about women struggling to raise families in minimum wage jobs with no benefits, received national airing on P.O.V. and was part of a Learning Channel series of films about women by women.
Other recognized work includes EVELYN WILLIAMS, African American activist, coal miner’s wife, and mother of nine (Juror’s Choice, Black Maria Film Festival, Margaret Mead Festival); BELINDA, the AIDS activist who spoke of the need for a collective response not crippled by homophobia, racism, fear, or ignorance (CINE Golden Eagle); MINNIE BLACK’S GOURD BAND (Museum of Modern Art screening, Retirement Research Foundation Silver Owl Award); and MABEL PARKER HARDISON SMITH, about an African-American teacher and gospel musician (Atlanta Film and Video Festival, Anthros ’87/the Barbara Myerhoff Film Festival, Women in the Director’s Chair).
She recently completed A STRIKE AND AN UPRISING (IN TEXAS) (Cine Las Americas Hecho en Tejas audience award, DC Labor Fest, “Hidden Histories,” San Antonio). In addition, she directed two shorts for young people that reference that longer piece. These include interactive websites and have played in festivals as well.
She also recently completed ASYLUM, TERROR, AND THE FUTURE, based on case stories with Jennifer Harbury, human rights attorney and activist. It was released as a series of six webcasts with text and video from the U.S./Mexico border, and published as an e-book. Other recent credits include WILLIE NELSON ON SAVING THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE, a two-minute spot for the convention of the United Postal Workers of America and web release.
Films in progress include UN TRIP, a jazz documentary based on the poem by raúlrsalinas “Un Trip through the Mind Jail,” written in Leavenworth prison; ON DYING OF DEMENTIA IN A CAPITALIST SYSTEM, a short animation documentary; and TENDER PROMISE: EDUCATION STORY, an intimate look at public education.
She has presented work and served on panels at the Library of Congress, the National Jobs with Justice, the U.S. Social Forum, and universities in the U.S. and Mexico.
Anne currently lives in Austin, Texas.
- Social Activism in Media (Online)