Look Away, Look Away

After an avowed racist murders nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, battle lines are drawn in Mississippi to determine the fate of the state flag with the most powerful, and divisive, symbol of the Confederacy.

On the surface, this is the story of the fierce 5-year fight over the state flag of Mississippi, which was the last of the original Confederate states to still have the Rebel flag in its design – a fact that warmed the hearts of many white Mississippians, and pissed off most of our African-American and progressive white neighbors.

But LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY is about more than a flag – it’s about Southern culture in crisis, and how race, heritage, and long-simmering grievances over the Civil War lead to a reckoning over the meaning of Confederate symbols.

  • Patrick O'Connor
    The Invisible Patients
  • Patrick O'Connor
    The Invisible Patients
  • Margaret McMullan
    How I Found the Strong (novel), Sources of Light (novel), Aftermath Lounge (stories), Where the Angels Lived (memoir)
  • Matt Lauterbach
    American Arab, Unbroken Glass, There Are Jews Here, Saving Mes Aynak
  • Clay Hardwick
  • Dathon Seely
    Welcome to the Village
  • Patrick O'Connor
    The Invisible Patients
  • Nathan Willis
    Cowgirl Up, Rap Squad
  • Misty Talley
    Post-Production Supervisor
    Ozark Sharks, Zombie Sharks, The Tiger and the Oak
  • Eric Phillips
    Chehalis: A Watershed Moment, Um Laoy Sewing Shop
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 28 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 26, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Oxford Film Festival
    Oxford, Mississippi
    United States
    March 27, 2021
    North American Premiere
    Audience Choice Awards for Best Documentary, Best Film and Best Mississippi Film
Director Biography - Patrick O'Connor

Patrick is an award-winning writer/director whose most recent documentary film, THE INVISIBLE PATIENTS, had its broadcast premiere on America ReFramed, a national PBS documentary series, in 2018. The film screened at the Heartland, Cucalorus, Chicago International Social Change and Indy FilmFestivals, as well as at Kartemquin Films’ Lab Series, universities and national conferences on bio-ethics and healthcare.

In addition to LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY, Patrick is in the 3rd year of production on a documentary about a family dealing with their young daughter's diagnosis with an ultra-rare, fatal genetic disease.

He lives and works in Pass Christian, Mississippi with his wife, the writer Margaret McMullan.

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Director Statement

I began working on this film after watching grassroots activists organize rallies and protests to frame their arguments for keeping or removing the Mississippi state flag. I felt that trying to capture this important story with participation from activists on both sides (without choosing a side or judging anyone) would make the film more interesting, and also potentially lead to an opportunity for conversation and deeper understanding of why people have diametrically opposed perceptions of the same symbol.