A few years ago we returned to our New England roots to begin work on a true crime story centered in rural Maine. The headline which caught our eye read, Some in Town Support Man Accused of Shooting Mother. That was all we needed.
Today, Knee Deep is a feature-length documentary that has finished its successful festival run by winning four Best Documentary awards, including the presitigous Maysles Brothers Award.
It aired on the marquee PBS series Independent Lens, and was watched by almost a million viewers.
Knee Deep tells the story of Josh Osborne, a simple, hard- working farm boy plunged into crisis when his mother decides to sell the family’s third-generation dairy farm. Shot over a two-year period, the film reveals a side of Maine rarely seen--by tourists and natives alike--the real Maine.
Broadcast: PBS, November, 2008, 81 Minutes, Color, Documentary.
Produced by The Moenkopi Group, Inc. & Ingonish Films.
Knee Deep is a rural Rashomon. Everyone has a version of events, and like the masterful
movie it most resembles, 1992's Brother's Keeper, it is up to us to figure it all out...
A compelling cinematic experience...…Highly Recommended.
--Bill Gibron, DVD Talk
Funny and chilling, beautifully shot, cunningly edited, and eye-opening on every level.--Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
Knee Deep is a mystery, a comedy, a deft character study and, ultimately, a bracing
critique of how development is contributing to the disappearance of the family farm.--Jurors for The Maysles Brothers Award, Denver FF
Documentaries don’t get any more compelling than this hilarious whodunit clash over a depressed dairy farm. --Pop Matters The Top 10 Films of 2007
Forgotten Fires follows the events which led four members of the Ku Klux Klan to burn two African American churches in Manning , South Carolina. From prison, Timothy Welch, the youngest of those men, reflects upon his descent into racial violence and into the nightmare world that allowed him to destroy a church he had known since childhood.
Morris Dees, Chief Executive for the Southern Poverty Law Center, used excerpts from Forgotten Fires in his presentation to the jury in the civil trial of Macedonia Baptist vs. The Christian Knights. The jury, "deeply moved", returned a $36 million (reduced to $21 million) judgment against the South Carolina Klan, putting them out of business. Dees calls the film "a remarkable journey into a young racist mind."
Awards: Golden Spire, San Francisco; Juror's Choice; Charlotte; First Place, San Luis Obispo, New Haven, Flagstaff.
Broadcast: PBS, April, 1999, 57 Minutes, Color, Documentary. Produced in Association with The Independent Television Service
A stunning film, deeply felt, deeply moving, and worthy of repeated viewings. --Anthony Walton, author of Mississippi, An American journey
If we wanted a real dialogue about race in America, we'd start with this film. Its strong dose of reality begs for an honest response from a wide audience. --Bill Moyers.
Forgotten Fires learns a lot about how joblessness, poverty, and provocation contribute to race hatred. Filmmaker Michael Chandler seems genuinely more interested in understanding than in blaming. —John Leonard, New York Magazine
Chandler taps into some complex truths about the social circumstances that lead to racist emotions. In doing so, he offers a sense of optimism that these feelings of intolerance can be mitigated. --Jon Matsumoto, Los Angeles Times
Forgotten Fires takes its time to tell its story and fills the screen with one memorable image after another...This program is not sensational or simplistic. Its purpose is to uncover why a quiet town became a place of fiery hate, and it succeeds.—-James Breig. Catholic Week
Its tale of economic despair fueling racial rage is endemic to American Life—no wonder church burnings are horrors we would rather ignore. Yet Forgotten Fires, thankfully, refuses to let us forget. — Kinney Littlefield. Orange County Register
The film puts a disturbingly human face on racism, and makes the chilling observation that Christianity was the banner of torch and tinder alike."— John Filitreau, Presbyterians Today
A sensitive, probing look, full of striking images, the work portrays a culture many thought, or hoped, had passed into history. Perhaps the film's most arresting point is the banality and ordinariness of evil. --Lina-Marie Delloff, The Lutheran