Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sean Paul Murphy, Writer
Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Sacred Ground: The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery" to Premiere!

Good news.  My feature-length documentary "Sacred Ground:  The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery" will premiere at the 2012 Macon Film Festival in Macon, Georgia.  The festival takes place between February 16th and February 19th.  Hope to see you there!

Additionally, the Cleveland International Film Festival, which we hadn't even entered yet, emailed director David Butler and requested a screener based on some internet buzz.  This is no guarantee that the film will ultimately be accepted the festival, but it was the first time that a festival contacted us rather than vice-versa.  It's a good sign.  Things seems to be boding well for our film.  Here's a synopsis:

A human bone with fabric from clothing still attached.
"Sacred Ground:  The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery" is a feature-length documentary about community activists and family members battling a Methodist church for control of historic Mount Auburn Cemetery.  For years, Mount Auburn Cemetery was the only place in Baltimore, Maryland, where African-Americans could be buried.  It is the final resting place lightweight boxing champion Joe Gans, the first African-American world champion in any sport, and numerous leaders in the early civil rights movement.  It is a registered historic landmark that has fallen into such horrifying condition that bones litter the ground and weeds cover all but the highest monuments.  It is a tale of grave robbing, grave recycling and every other terrible thing that could possibly happen in a cemetery.

The film follows Lu Moorman, president of Preservation Alliance, an independent group of activists and family members, and her attempt to wrest control of the cemetery from its stewards, Sharp Street Memorial Church.  Dating back to 1787, Sharp Street Memorial Church is one of the first African-American Methodist congregations.  It was once the most influential African-American church in Baltimore, but its numbers have dwindled over the years and its financial resources have waned.  The current pastor, Rev. Dell Hinton, appointed her father, Rev. Douglas Sands, head of the cemetery.  They, too, have a plan to restore the cemetery with the help of Morgan State University, but who can be trusted to speak for the generations buried beneath its soil?

In 2009, conditions at Burr Oak Cemetery, the historic African-American cemetery in Chicago, aroused nationwide outrage.  This film should engender similar outrage upon its release.

Here's the trailer:

BTW, upon hearing the good news, my lovely wife and myself went to Mount Auburn to notify its inhabitants.  No one answered us, but we did find more exposed human remains.  Conditions at the cemetery haven't changed much since we started the film!

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