In a small Texas Panhandle town, which over the decades has lived through oil booms and busts, devastating wildfires, and a diminishing population, a few things have remained constant – cowboys, high school football, conservative voters, and the family-owned weekly The Canadian Record. Despite its liberal editorials in the second-most conservative county in the country, The Record is loved and relied on by the community. But now, editor and publisher Laurie Brown is inching toward 70, and a recent oil bust coupled with advertisers’ preference for social media is making it hard to keep the paper alive. For The Record is a mostly verite documentary that follows one year in the life of the small-town newspaper The Canadian (Texas) Record, in what might be its last year..
About the Filmmaker
Heather Courtney is an Emmy-winning filmmaker, and a Guggenheim, Sundance, and Fulbright fellow. Her film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM, which was broadcast nationally on the PBS series POV, won an Emmy, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award. It made several Top 10 films lists, including Salon’s Best Non-fiction, and was supported by many grants and fellowships, including from the Sundance Documentary Fund, the United States Artists Fellowship, and ITVS. She has directed and produced several other documentary films including award-winners LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, and LOS TRABAJADORES, both broadcast nationally on PBS. They were supported by a Fulbright and an International Documentary Association Award.
She was commissioned by PBS and The Center for New American Media to direct a short documentary on the urban/rural divide as part of the Postcards from the Great Divide documentary series, which streamed on pbs.org and the Washington Post online.
Most recently she co-directed and produced a Ford- and MacArthur-funded feature documentary about undocumented immigrant students in Georgia, called THE UNAFRAID. It won the Human Rights Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and was broadcast in Fall 2019 on the national PBS series America ReFramed/World Channel.
When not directing/producing her own projects, she has worked as a field/story producer for several documentary series, including for Director Lee Hirsch (Bully) on a doc series on high schools, as well as works as a producer/shooter for verite doc projects, and as a director-for-hire for branded content.
Prior to receiving her MFA in Film Production, Heather spent eight years writing and photographing for the United Nations and several refugee and immigrant rights organizations, including in the Rwandan refugee camps after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.