PBS Documentary Issues Call for Additional Temple Interviews & Resources

Since January 2005, I have been working with Stanley Nelson and Firelight Media on the PBS documentary film about Peoples Temple. Over the past nine months, we traveled to Indianapolis, the Bay Area and Southern California to interview over 35 people; collected and catalogued more than 3,500 photographs, brochures, pamphlets and newspaper articles; and viewed hundreds of hours of film footage. The scope and intensity of this material has fashioned a very challenging yet rewarding assignment for us as filmmakers. We are proud to have this opportunity to tell the story of Peoples Temple.

Early this fall, Firelight Media expanded their operations to include a second office in the Fantasy Studios building in Berkeley, California. The crew moved to Berkeley in October and will be completing the project on the West Coast. Since our move, the film’s editors, Lewis Erskine and Aljernon Tunsil, have been working feverishly and anticipate completing the project by early 2006. It is slated to air nationwide as part of the 2006/2007 season of the PBS history series, American Experience.

Stanley’s 2003 film, “The Murder of Emmett Till,” was also broadcast on American Experience and went on to win the Primetime Emmy for Best Directing, nonfiction; the Special Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; a coveted award from the International Documentary Association; and the highest honor in broadcast journalism, the George Foster Peabody award, among many others. Firelight Media is thrilled to have been invited to make another film for American Experience and knows it will be the perfect home for this project.

Filmmaking is a collaborative process, so we would specifically like to extend warm thanks to all of those who have lent us their time, energy and knowledge along the way. Your insights and stories are the backbone of this film, your contributions integral to the telling of this story.

And it is not too late to share with us. If you have photographs or films, or know where to locate such archival material, please contact us at Firelight Media. In the coming months, we promise to keep you updated on our progress, but please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We look forward to sharing our work with you.

(Kristin Lesko can be reached at kristin@firelightmedia.org.)