CJC Alum Receives 2019 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency
The documentary centers on the case of Lennon Lacy, an African American teen who was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, on August 29, 2014. Despite inconsistencies in the case, local officials quickly ruled Lennon’s death a suicide, but his mother believes Lennon was lynched. The documentary tells the story of the mother’s fight for justice and how it intersects with stories from other communities.
To shine a light on the circumstances and choices that brought tens of thousands of white men, women and children out to watch the lynching of nearly 5,000 African-Americans, Olive produced a virtual reality (VR) project that immerses viewers in the experience of a lynch mob.
The founder of Tell It Media first used VR in 2010, when she helped develop a prototype that allowed users to pick an avatar and role play as the victim, perpetrator or spectator in a mob-violence scenario. That person would also have to play the reverse role to get a full understanding of the actions of all involved.
The VR experience brings people to the scene of a lynching and was designed to extend the themes of “Always in Season.” She wants people to understand why half a town would show up to cheer at a lynching, while the victim cried and screamed. The goal is for users to learn how their real-world behavior can contribute to racial profiling and violence.
Olive graduated from CJC with a master’s from the former Documentary Institute. She is developing another VR project using 360-degree video and computer-generated imagery to show what it’s like for women of color to move through racialized public spaces where they are not expected to be or are unwelcome, like beaches, campgrounds and lynching sites.