Experiencing Interruptions?

Whitman, Alabama

Journalist and filmmaker Jennifer Crandall--born in Africa and raised in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Haiti--has spent the past two years traveling across Alabama, filming people from all corners of the state reading from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself," an epic poem about American identity. The result is Whitman, Alabama, a 52-part documentary series that reveals the threads that tie us together—as individuals, as states, as a nation, inside of a shared universe. This series is still in development. There are 17 videos produced and published so far. There will be 52 videos in total.

  • Jennifer Crandall
  • Walt Whitman
  • Michelle Holmes - Alabama Media Group
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Whitman, Alabama
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Web / New Media, Other
  • Runtime:
    40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    300,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Images and Voices of Hope
    Peace Village
    June 22, 2017
Director Biography - Jennifer Crandall

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Haiti, part Chinese and part white, Jennifer is asked more often than not, “what are you?” Not finding the answer to that question simple, or easy, Jennifer became a journalist and filmmaker so she could explore themes of identity and connection. She worked at The Washington Post where she created the Emmy nominated video series onBeing. With "Whitman, Alabama," Jennifer returns to that question, "what are you?" while hoping to raise the volume on voices from the American South. Her previous work has received a Knight-Batten Special Distinction Award for Innovation, an Online News Association Award for Innovation, awards from the White House News Photographers Association and recognition from the American Film Institute.

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Director Statement

I believe in listening and I believe in creating spaces intimate enough for voices to be heard. I believe in Alabama and her people. So I wanted to try to amplify her voices. To do this, a patchwork team of us set out and began to make a 52-part documentary film.

We crisscrossed the state, made acquaintances with strangers and asked: "Might we pull out our cameras to capture a few tiny moments from your life?"

And people said yes! (This still surprises me every time.)

And then we said: "There's a catch. Can we do it while you read some poetry?"

I have to say, you Alabamians stepped up to the plate. You said, "Yes, I believe that’d still be all right."

Thank you. We appreciate you working with us to create a space where your voices and the voices of others can be heard. We enjoy listening and learning from you. And we expect others will too.