Miss Lil's Camp - Academic/Institutional

Miss Lil's Camp - Academic/Institutional

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Miss Lil's Camp - Academic/Institutional
 

'Miss Lil's Camp' is an award winning documentary about the director of an exclusive summer camp for girls from upper middle class Southern homes. Miss Lil, as Lillian Smith was known, taught Laurel Falls' campers that segregation was wrong. She expressed her thoughts and radical ideas at a time when Southern leadership was committed to a racially segregated society and Jim Crow laws permeated every aspect of social life. Some young campers were repulsed by her ideas while others embraced them. In short, Lillian Smith was no ordinary woman and Laurel Falls no ordinary camp.

Radical as the camp was, nothing prepared the parents of campers, or indeed the rest of the South, for Lillian Smith's first novel, Strange Fruit (1944). The story of a white Southern man's love for a black girl, the book was banned in Boston and distributed secretly in the South. Public reaction was swift and harsh. Some campers were forbidden to return to camp; others returned despite opposition from home.

In the film, we meet three former campers and a former camp employee who return to Laurel Falls Camp. Weaving narratives of former campers and rare archival footage of Lillian Smith, the film brings Miss Lil and Laurel Falls Camp back to life.



Televised Broadcasts:
PBS National

Reviews:
Baltimore Sun by Chris Kaltenbach - Miss Lil's Camp proved one of the day's highlights...

Cinema Atlanta by Charles Judson -There Are No Small Films, Only Small Ideas - The doc's at this year's Atlanta Film Festival have been strong. Miss Lil's Camp does more in 26 minutes than most documentary features do in 90 minutes. And, the film never devolves into a "look, she's a lesbian, see a lesbian in the 40's" kind of flick. Directors Niedland and Pasha keep the focus on creating a complete picture of Lillian Smith. Out of the 26 minutes, less than 5 minutes are spent discussing Smith's love life. The rest of the time is spent on Laurel Falls Camp and Smith's respect for the intellectual and natural curiosity of the girls she taught. And what she taught them was powerful stuff for the time. She never hid the ugliness of the world from them, speaking honestly on segregation and lynching. Knowing that most of her girls couldn't and wouldn't find answers at home, she answered their questions about sex. Miss Lil, who had taught in China and would later co-found and edit literary magazines with her partner, wanted to create thinkers and doers. And she more than succeeded. She created a legacy that continues to influence and inspire. This small film succeeds where big budget fare, such as the heavy handed Mona Lisa Smiles fail. Miss Lil's Camp is an honest and emotionally engaging love song to the strength and fierce intelligence of women.

By Associated Press LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Miss Lil's Camp ...won a competition to be screened along with award winning films about former President Clinton and the issues he faced. The Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute, one of the select screeners for Oscar-nominated documentaries each year, selected "Miss Lil's Camp."

Awards:
CINE Golden Eagle; Best Short Documentary - Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival; Best Short Documentary - Hearts and Minds Film Festival; Award - Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival; Winner of International Competition - Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival; Award - Detroit Docs; Award - Angelus Film Festival

Film Festivals:
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival; Palm Beach International FilmFestival; Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival; Atlanta Film Festival; Sidewalk Moving Pictures Film Festival; Artivist Film Festival; UNIFEM Women's International Film Festival; Ashland Independent Film Festival; SunScreen Film Festival; East Lansing Film Festival; Hearts and Minds Film Festival, Angelus Film Festival

Title #256079
Format: DVD-R

Streaming video trailer