The award-winning documentary series, America ReFramed will return for its Season 8 premiere tonight, May 8th on Link TV

America ReFramed is a co-production with WORLD Channel and American Documentary Inc. that features independent documentaries about different cultures and perspectives around the world. Most of these topics are issues that are usually ignored by the mainstream media. Now, starting tonight, the Season 8 documentaries will air weekly and online. 

“Where The Pavement Ends”

The season opener of America ReFramed, “Where the Pavement Ends” was originally aired on WORLD Channel this past Tuesday. Now airing tonight on Link TV, viewers will see the neighboring Missouri cities, Ferguson and Kinloch, and learn about the deep racial history in the region. The film showcases the downfall of Kinloch and the segregation that was spread within the two cities, where mere blocks divided the road to Ferguson. Director Jane Gillooly provides archival audio recordings, photographs, and conversations with individuals who experienced the segregation of Kinloch/Ferguson. With all of these sources, she spent the first few years doing a ton of research on the location and collecting ideas. She didn’t start filming until right around 2014, around the time Michael Brown was murdered. This made her take an original pause. 

“Think about it – you’re making a film about these two communities and those roads, and then suddenly a much more famous street in Ferguson appears, which was Canfield Drive,” Jane said. “Taking a step back made me think about, “How do I talk about the things that happened in the 60s without folding in Mike Brown’s story?’ So coming up with the idea of the road as a metaphor made the ability to sort of move freely in the community. When you’re researching something, one piece of research leads you somewhere else.”

Jane started in all the main places, first with a historian named John Wright, who had written books about Kinloch.

Kinloch/AmericaReframed
Kinloch Police Department circa the 1940s/Courtesy of AmericaReframed

“His material was the easiest to locate while he also introduced me to some people,” Jane said. “I eventually met the granddaughter of Sylvester Smith who had family archives. Within that family archive was the eight-millimeter footage and the audiotape of the girl singing, as well as the Gettysburg Address. Being an educator, I was introduced to other teachers and they told me about the civil rights hearing that happened in the 70s. I realized how long they’ve been activists and what their voices had been like as young activists in the 60s and reflecting on the things that once were before the 2000s.”

Narrowing The Story Down

When you watch “Where The Pavement Ends”, you will first see an introduction where a plethora of sources overlap each other. These include important names, audio recordings, and other historical archives. Because of this, when Jane was working on the film, she said it was difficult to narrow the story down. 

“We had so many great subjects who have so much information about the scrutiny of times of where they lived in, including people of all different generations,” Jane said. “It seemed like it was going to be sort of overwhelming if we were trying to identify every single voice, which almost demanded a little bit more of an introduction that included that person. The more I realized that everybody had a different memory of what was happening, the more I knew that so many of their memories collectively were the things that built the story for us. When we were trying to get the voice of the community, we talked about a chorus of voices. As we started editing more, we’d be talking about a certain theme and we would just pull out different phrases and thoughts and responses that many different people have and you can imagine it. We had very few people actually talking directly to the camera. So trying to ID voices without people directed towards the camera was going to be difficult. But we also wanted to set it up from the very beginning of the film.”

She also says that viewers are going to hear a lot of people, as there are many sources in this story. 

“We also wanted to include archival sources right up front, as well as make it into a sound collage that the viewer can get a little bit familiar with when it comes to the aesthetic of the film,” Jane said. “It’s full and rich and there’s a lot here. We certainly want you to know who those people were. So in the end collage, we were able to identify those voices and try to pull out the memorable things that different people had said. In the grand scheme of things at the closed road, that was a relatively minor protest when you think about all the protest marches that were happening in the 1960s. What we wanted to elevate was the importance of this community.”

Where The Pavement Ends/AmericaReframed
Collage of abandoned road in Kinloch merging with Suburban Avenue in Ferguson/Photo Credit: Kamau Bilal / John Wright Sr.

More America ReFramed Titles

More documentaries plan to air every week on America ReFramed. On May 12th, “Jaddoland” will give viewers a fresh look at immigration in America, followed by “Tutwiler” on May 19th, where viewers will look into the lives of incarcerated pregnant women. Season 8 expects to showcase a special collection of stories that share unique culture and movement. 

Watch America ReFramed on these streaming channels below:

WORLD Channel

American Documentary

PBS