Jamie Quam and Jonathon Leslie-Quam’s documentary on Madison’s racial disparities nears completion
Back in the summer of 2015, Jamie Quam and Jonathon Leslie-Quam first announced Forward: Anger Into Action, a documentary that promised to dissect Madison’s social divisions and lesser seen attitudes towards racial issues. Quam and Leslie-Quam raised a little over $1,000 via crowdfunding and were awarded grant funding, but short of a feedback screening at a “Steepin’ It Real” session last Feb, the project’s status has been a bit of an unknown as of late. LakeFrontRow reached out to the siblings for an update.
In an email, Quam and Leslie-Quam said they spent summer months in 2015 and 2016 shooting the majority of the film. From the way it sounds, Forward will resemble an observational portrait of Madison as told through various activist movements and crystallized via the community’s most prominent voices. Subjects include Rev. Alex Gee, Sina Davis of Mothers of the Neighborhood, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. “We worked hard to find a range of subjects to focus on highlighting the efforts at all levels within the city,” the pair wrote.
Forward will also look directly to groups like Madison’s Justified Anger coalition and Young, Gifted and Black and adopt a framework influenced by the city’s “Race to Equity” project, which disputes Madison’s idealized city rankings with the harsher realities for citizens of color — in part through a prominent 2013 report. Quite simply, the idea is to humanize a conversation that’s too often reduced to numbers. “Each [group] works to educate the community about the true impact of racial injustice, putting faces to cold statistics showing the human cost that a lack of progress creates,” the siblings wrote. “They are creating hope as they successfully work to create change and break down the barriers of the ‘us vs. them’ mentality.”
Now, the siblings are circling the last year of their three-year schedule., which means making time to edit hours and hours of footage. Audiences will also have a chance to participate via a handful of screening sessions. Quam and Leslie-Quam will hold four or five feedback screenings in several of the Madison neighborhoods featured in the film including Allied Drive, Darbo-Worthington, and Meadowood. The pair also plan to screen a rough cut of Forward: Anger Into Action at the Warner Park Community Center and Fountain of Life Covenant Church. “These screenings are intended to enhance the ownership the neighborhoods feel towards the story of this film,” they wrote. “[This is] a chance for people to examine the representation the film puts forth and provide critical feedback.”