JEAN DONOHUE

FILMS

Donohue’s work has been seen on BBC 2 and BBC World Service, WNET-NY, Learning/Discovery Channels and public television throughout the U.S.  Her films are about land, culture and what it means to be human in relation to the natural world. Much of her work is about people whose lives, situations, and thinking illuminate a path through the challenges of living in the 21st C.

Her environmental and earth-centered filmmaking began with her work with an anti-nuclear power coalition to producing documentaries featuring the key whistle-blower, people and organizations who stopped the Zimmer Nuclear Plant before it was brought on line. Her early environmental work broke ground in the region with a series of advocacy documentaries about landfill pollution, recycling, household hazardous waste.  She started working on themes of earth-centered consciousness in the 1990s with Sipiwi, Leave No Footprints, and The Trail of Hope: The Building of a Ceremonial Earthwork. 

 

Recently completed ~

THE LAST GOSPEL OF THE PAGAN BABIES, producer/director (2016)  In the 1960s the Old World gay scene was changing. In Lexington, Kentucky, a group of gender-bending artists, drag queens, belles and sexual outlaws formed a loose group called The Pagan Babies. Drawing from a lineage of sexual outlaws dating back to the Civil War, The Pagan Babies changed life in a small Kentucky town forever.

   THE SECRET OF THE BLACK VIRGIN (In Progress) 

NATIVE DAUGHTER (work-in-progress)  This is the story of farmer, poet, and environmental activist CD Collins and her titanic clash with family, local authority and corporate power to protect her farm, while learning to bring the land back into balance.

COMING TO GROUND, Co-producer/co-director, about a region and its farmers and the emergence of a new kind of agriculture. Coming to Ground is a global quest to create a new, sustainable food system. 

THE GENDER CHIP PROJECT (2006, documentary) Executive Producer and Civic Engagement Director, funded by the National Science Foundation (2004 & 2006)

COAL BLACK VOICES (2001, documentary) Co-Producer, co-director.  Featuring Nikky Finney, National Book Award for Poetry 2011; Frank X Walker, a Lannan Foundation Fellow for Poetry,  2014 recipient of the NAACP Image Award and former Kentucky State Poet Laureate; Crystal Wilkinson, Kelly Norman Ellis, Ricardo Nazario-Colon, and others.  This ensemble of writers challenge simple notions of an all-white Appalachian region and Southern literary culture while drawing on traditions of the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement. Featured at the Santa Fe African Diaspora Film Festival, Atlanta, Athens and Louisville International Film Festivals, broadcast on Kentucky Educational Television.

JACK IN THE CITY (1999, documentary) Producer/director, an urban Appalachia, with the help of the traditional mountain stories of Jack and Mutsmag re-discover what it means to be Appalachian.

QUALITY JOBS FOR QUALITY COMMUNITIES, (1998, documentary trigger program). A twelve-minute documentary produced for the Quality Jobs Advisory Committee, University of Iowa Rural Sociology Extension and the Northwest Area Foundation. The work portrayed the results of recent research and was used to convene community and group discussions for the purposes of addressing the exporting of jobs and wealth from Iowa.

THE TRAIL OF HOPE: THE BUILDING OF A CEREMONIAL EARTHWORK (1997, documentary) Producer, director. A documentary chronicling Lakota-Bantu medicine woman, Kaylynn TwoTrees’ ceremonial creation of a sacred space in southwest Ohio. It portrays the earth-based, spiritual underpinning of this work with images and language of ceremony by TwoTrees, Shawnee Temple Women, and spiritual elders from the African American, Appalachian and Native American communities. It also features Gurney Norman Appalachian cultural bearer and Liu Shueng, Chinese storyteller from New Zealand.

LEAVE NO FOOTPRINTS (1994, documentary poem) Producer/director.  Written and performed by Lakota medicine woman Kaylynn TwoTrees.  This visual poem is a teaching and earth-centered meditation and ritual wake-up call to what it means to be human living with the Great Mother Earth. It is a call for change in human consciousness and healing. 

SIPIWI (1995, documentary poem, Co-producer/co-director/co-editor. Kentucky Educational Television provided an Independent Fund commission for this experimental documentary on land, culture and living in the imagination of a landscape.

AUGUSTA WRITER’S ROUNDTABLE (1992, documentary) Producer/director/editor ~ A weekend where poets, novelists, literary researchers from Kentucky, Ohio,Indiana and Tennessee gathered to read, write and enjoy each others company. Featuring Ed McClanahan, Nikky Finney, John Egerton, Richard Hague, and more. Commissioned by, and broadcast on Kentucky Educational Television.

FROM THE SHADOWS OF POWER (1991, documentary) Producer, director. Aa powerful story set in the coalfields of Wales, England and Appalachia that depicts the struggles of front line communities and labor groups at the pivotal moment in the 1980s when the corporate assault on working class and union power came to full expression in the anti-labor policies and market fundamentalism of the Reagan and Thatcher governments. Distributed through WNET-New York,  Ohio and Kentucky Educational Television, Independent Focus, and screened at Flaherty International Documentary Seminar.

HYBRID CITY  (1991, documentary) Segment director, editor. Commissioned by the British Broadcast Company and shown on BBC 2 and BBC World Service. Produced by Fred Johnson, this film is about how public space is being diminished by corporate interests in the new urban landscape.

DILUTION IS NOT THE SOLUTION (1990, documentary) Producer, director, editor, a primer on how to dispose of household hazardous waste.

THE BURDEN OF PROOF (1989, documentary) Producer, director, editor, a white working class and African American neighborhood join up to ask an epidemiologist for help in determining air toxicity from nearby and adjoining landfills.

WE CAN’T KEEP DOING THIS, (1988, documentary) Producer/director/editor, a neighborhood argues for the Cincinnati of Cincinnati to adopt a recycling program

EIGHTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF WOMEN MINERS  (1987, documentary) Producer/ Director/Editor. Women from the mining fields of the U.S., South America, China  England and Wales to discuss sexual discrimination, harassment in the mines, and the looming specter of globalization.

A SECOND CHANCE FOR SUCCESS (1985, documentary) Director/Editor. From the rural moonlight schools, night school to long distance education, adults, young to old have improved their lives by getting their G.E.D. high school diploma. Commissioned by and broadcast on Kentucky Educational Television

ON THE RIVER WITH JOHN ED PEARCE, RIVERFEST, DIRT TRACK, OCTOBERFEST, THE FIVE-WAY AND THE BARBEQUE DREAM, SUSPENSION BRIDGE, KENTUCKY RIVER, TIME ON THE RIVER  (1984-1987, eight documentaries) Associate Producer and, Sound Recordist for Morgan Productions commissioned by Kentucky Educational Television.

AFTER THE ACT: THE CABLE POLICY ACT OF 1984  (1985, documentary) Editor/Art Design.  Broadcast on The Learning and Discovery Channels.

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER NUMBER (1984, documentary) Director/ Editor. Broadcast on the Learning and Discovery Channels.

WITNESS FOR CHANGE (1982, documentary) Producer/director/editor.  A pipe fitter working on the Zimmer Nuclear Plant becomes concerned and is the first whistle-blower that resulted in the plant’s conversion to coal.

A DIVINE SYNTHESIS OF HIGH ART AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY: THE PERFECT VIDEOTAPE (video art) A satircal take on the film vs. video wars of the early 1980s.

BOYGIRL (1982, experimental, music video) Producer, director, editor. Worked with songwriter and performer Lydian Tone (aka Bobby Plunkett) on this early music video.

THE HEATHEN and DYING (1981, live performance) Producer, director, editor.  These two punk ballets were written and performed by Lydian Tone (aka Bobby Plunkett), costumes were designed by Bradley Picklesimer.