All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert is director Vivian Ducat’s first feature-length documentary. A native New Yorker, Ducat has directed, produced and written more than 20 long-format documentaries for broadcast. She spent the first part of her career in London, working for the BBC, directing films for series including The Story of English, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, Assignment (“Mr. Murakami Goes to Washington” and “Uncle Sam’s Last Stand”) and Locomotion. After returning to New York, Ducat produced programs for the WGBH series The Aids Quarterly with Peter Jennings, MacNeil-Lehrer Productions, the ABC News series The Century, and for the WGBH series, The American Experience (“Hawaii’s Last Queen,” narrated by Anna Deveare Smith) among other broadcast venues.
Ducat will screen All Me in the Best Video Performance Space on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 2 PM. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with director Ducat and the artist Winfred Rembert. The DVD of All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert is also available for purchase at Best Video for $17.98.
Winfred Rembert, a 66 year-old African American, grew up in Cuthbert, a town in the Southwestern corner of Georgia. Rembert was given away at birth to a great aunt. He spent much of his childhood as a field worker beside his great aunt in the cotton and peanut fields. When he could attend school, he loved drawing but not much else.
Attendance at a civil rights demonstration got him thrown in jail without charges or a trial. An escape over a year later resulted in a prison sentence, but only after Rembert had survived an attempted lynching.
He fell in love with his future wife, and with leather as an art medium, while serving seven years on Georgia chain gangs. Life and eight children intervened after prison; it was not until 1995 that Rembert began to carve, tool and then dye pictures on leather, in his studio in the front room of his home in New Haven, Connecticut.
Most of his colorful art depicts scenes and themes from African American life in segregated Cuthbert, GA and from the time he spent on those chain gangs. His work was exhibited at the Yale University Art Gallery in 2000 and a triptych about a lynching was acquired by Yale for their permanent collection. Rembert subsequently exhibited at various other venues.
His first major catalogued one-man exhibition was presented in New York in 2010 by Adelson Galleries in association with Peter Tillou Works of Art. Rembert and his family still live in New Haven’s inner city. In 2012, a traveling exhibition, a retrospective of Rembert’s art, was curated by the Hudson River Museum, where it showed from February to May. It is currently on exhibition at the Greenville Art Museum in Greenville, South Carolina, where it will be through August 2012.
For me information on All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, check out this April, 2012 story by New Haven Register Arts Editor Donna Doherty.
Watch the trailer for All Me: