Meet The Filmmaker: Alice's Ordinary People

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Join us for a conversation with filmmaker Craig Dudnick about his most recent film, Alice's Ordinary People. The film tells the story of Chicago area activist Alice Tregay whose life and work reflects the story of the Civil Rights Movement and emphasizes the essential work of "ordinary people" towards change.

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Watch Alice's Ordinary People through Kanopy in advance. Kanopy is a streaming movie service that is free to Wayland Library cardholders. It is also available to anyone with a Boston Public Library ecard. You can find the film here or request a copy of the DVD.

About the film:

Alice Tregay's story of ordinary people effecting extraordinary change for human rights. Alice's life story reads like a history of the movement. Early on she fought the "Willis Wagons." The second class structures were built to relieve overcrowding in those Chicago schools which served the African American community. Their very existence perpetuated segregation.

In 1966, Dr. King came to Chicago. Alice and her husband James Tregay, marched with him, often at great personal risk. It was at this time that Dr. King joined the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and the Reverend James Bevel to form Operation Breadbasket. Breadbasket fought racism on many fronts, but its main task was jobs for African Americans, particularly from those businesses drawing profits from the African American community.

Under the leadership of Reverend Jackson, the months that Alice and her "ordinary people" spent picketing led to real change. But it was through her Political Education class, that Alice's had her most significant impact. Over a four year period, thousands were trained to work in independent political campaigns. This new force was integral to the re-election of Ralph Metcalf to Congress (this time as an independent democrat), to the election of Harold Washington, mayor, and to making Barack Obama, our first African American President.

Craig Dudnick is a 1980 graduate of Northwestern University. In 1982, he received a national award for his camerawork on the syndicated television program, PM Magazine. The following year, he founded Imagine Video Productions®, eventually gaining clients from Europe, Japan, and at ABC News. While an undergraduate at Northwestern, Craig grew close to Mrs. Viola Hillsman and her husband Tinsley. His lifelong friendship with the couple was the subject of the aired feature, ‘The Story with Dick Gordon.”

After Mrs. Hillsman passed away at age 100, a number of her friends shared personal accounts of their struggles against racism in Evanston, Illinois, which became the basis of Craig’s documentary, Evanston’s Living History. Fellow Evanstonian Alice Tregay liked the film and asked Craig to make a second documentary–this one about the Chicago Freedom Movement. The result was Alice’s Ordinary People.