Artspan Hero of the Day: Bill Jersey

Artspan member Bill Jersey is a painter and filmmaker. He paints beautiful landscapes in oil. He made the movie Eames: The Architect and The Painter, a moving, generous portrait of husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames. And in 1967, he made A Time For Burning, which was nominated for an academy award, and has since been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Still from A Time For Burning

Still from A Time For Burning

A Time For Burning is probably the quietest civil rights film I’ve seen. The whole film shows people talking; quietly, earnestly, discussing issues. And yet it’s an amazingly compelling 56 minutes of film. The film was shot in Omaha, Nebraska in 1966, and as one of the characters explains, it’s about Lutherans talking to Lutherans. Seemingly such a small thing, a tiny step. But it turns out to be an insurmountable step to many. The film “explores the attempts of the minister of Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, to persuade his all-white congregation to reach out to ‘negro’ Lutherans in the city’s north side.”

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