Director Anthony Cohen and Research Producer Peter Coogan had contacted SCAD, for possible Production Assistants or interns. Somehow, my name was included, and I was contacted to attend an interest meeting.
Needless to say, I rarely turn down opportunities to work on productions. At the end of the meeting, Research Producer Peter Coogan was hurrying to leave, because he and the production crew were shooting in about an hour. Right at the conclusion of the meeting, I asked if he needed help that night on the shoot, hoping to get involved right away. It seemed as if they were not going to need PA's for that part of the shoot, but right as he was presumably going to say so, he was distracted by another persons question. When he was finished, I asked again. Either they could have used the extra hand, or maybe he was that much in a hurry, but he said if I could be on location in an hour, then yes.
From then on, I spent the next several days assisting the documentry Patrick & Me. The film is part of the Menare Foundation. According to PatrickandMe.com the synopsis is as follows:
Patrick & Me chronicles the journey of Anthony Cohen, a fourth generation descendant of runaway slaves, as he retraces the path of his ancestor Patrick Sneed who fled from bondage in 1849. Drawing from an 1855 interview with his forbearer, Cohen carefully uncovers the amazing life story of a Georgia slave captured twice under the Fugitive Slave Law who later went on to fight in the American Civil War
Meticulously reconstructing Sneed’s path to freedom, Cohen treks 3,000 miles, by foot, boat and rail, from Savannah Georgia to Canada in a dramatic and an unorthodox pursuit of historical truth. In detective style he falls upon the fugitive safehouses, underground tunnels, and slave auction blocks. He combs through diaries and artifacts of archives and museums and speaks to the descendants of masters and slaves who hold clues to his ancestor’s journey. Patrick & Me reveals the staggering impact of slavery on America’s psyche, as Cohen delves deeply into the souls of people, North and South, that he meets along the way. Seeking out black, white and Indian Americans, who bear the name of his multi-race ancestor, he attempts to discover the whereabouts of Sneed who mysteriously vanished after Emancipation.
The experience was worth the time and effort. It had been awhile since I had been involved with a documentary. On the job I got to visit the third oldest Jewish Temple in the Western Hemisphere, visit some of the oldest grave sites in Savannah GA, shoot from the roof of the tallest building in Savannah GA (Hilton DeSoto), and more.
Cohen and Coogan will be back in the fall with thier crew, but I will have left town for Los Angeles by then. I wish them luck, and can't wait to see the film in completion.