Road to Home (2015)

In the avalanche of homeless young people spreading across America, nearly half are LGBT, despite the fact that gay kids make up only 5-7% of the general population. In an era of increasing openness regarding LGBT issues, where marriage equality is making strides and anti-gay bullying is publicly shamed, kids are coming out to their parents younger and younger. But social trends don’t translate into all households equally, and LGBT kids are often getting kicked out into the streets long before they’ve developed the skills to survive on their own.

Addressing this problem involves more than providing beds. It also involves providing hope and healing. Our 90-minute documentary Road to Home will follow the development of 4-5 LGBT homeless young people of various genders, backgrounds, and origins as they’re provided beds as well as guidance by the staff of the Ali Forney Center, the organization dealing with LGBT homelessness most effectively in New York City. By showing several young people finding a place to lay their heads and a way to heal their hearts, our film will not only depict a dramatic emotional journey, but also stimulate the attention LGBT homeless kids deserve.

Length: 90min
Producer/Director Calvin Skaggs

The Lady with All the Answers (2015)
Ann Landers changed the world, one piece of advice at a time.

The Lady with All the Answers profiles the mastermind behind Ann Landers, known to friends and family as Eppie Lederer. This 1950s housewife transformed herself into one of the most powerful women in America, counselor to priests and Presidents, housewives and CEOs. As she tackled cutting edge topics from domestic abuse to bulimia to AIDS, her sense of morality traversed great distances. Yet the journey was so personal, so sincere, that she literally led millions along with her through her advice column syndicated in thousands of newspapers. The Lady with All the Answers is a portrait of an extraordinary woman who excelled by confronting a challenge all too typical for women in the second half of the 20th century: how to live a great life for oneself and to make a difference in the world.

Length: 60min
Outlet: PBS American Masters
Producer/Director Calvin Skaggs

The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith (2015)

For New York Public Radio, Lumiere Productions is producing "Gene Smith and the Jazz Loft," a feature documentary depicting a magic moment in American cultural history.

In 1957 the great American photographer W. Eugene Smith rented a run-down loft in New York City's flower district, set up his studio there, installed mics and tape recorders everywhere, and opened the place to jazz musicians to jam all night long. Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, and Paul Bley are a few of the dozens of jazz artists who came through the loft.

From 1957 to 1965, when the loft began to close down, Smith made roughly 40,000 photos there and recorded roughly 4,000 hours of stereo and mono audiotapes.

Length: 90mins
Directed by Sara Fishko
Producer Cal Skaggs
Associate Producer Jonathan J. Johnson

To Tell The Truth (2011)
The ultimate documentary—on documentaries

There are countless histories of fiction film, but the documentary —from late 19th-century “actualities” through the incredible array of recent films by Errol Morris, Michael Moore, Werner Herzog, and others—has never received its due. In 6 hour-long episodes, To Tell the Truth will chronicle the many adventures of documentary filmmakers who have braved dangers and journeyed to the ends of the earth to enlarge our understanding of the human experience. The series will place familiar historical events in a startling new perspective, and help viewers understand the choices behind—and consequences of—on-screen “reality."

Length: 6 x 60 min
A series by Ali Pomeroy, Calvin Skaggs, and David Van Taylor

Walking the Tightrope: Religious Freedom In Today's America (2015)

The passage of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was deemed by many across the political spectrum as a great victory that would protect the religious rights of all Americans. Groups like the ALCU and the Traditional Values Coalition, as well as politicians as different as Orrin Hatch and Chuck Schumer, came together to champion the law through Congress. A little over two decades later, however, RFRA and its state counterparts are at the center of fierce cultural and legal battles, with some viewing the law as a bastion of religious expression, and others calling it a dangerous Trojan Horse rife with the potential for discrimination.

Walking the Tightrope takes its audience right to the center of that debate. We'll see how both sides of the cultural and political divide view these issues, focusing on the work of a handful of lawyers, legislators, and organizations as they fight to bring to the forefront their definition of what religious freedom should look like in today’s America.

Length: 60 min
Producer/Director Calvin Skaggs

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