Southern Storytellers (working title) will take us deep into the American South, and into the communities of the region’s top writers – novelists, poets, writers of nonfiction, playwrights, songwriters, screenwriters, and television series creators. Writers know the heart of the South intimately, and through their writing, are able to make sense of the remarkable times we are living in today. In the pain of the past and the chaos of the present moment, they see hope and progress. Pulitzer Prize winning poet Natasha Tretheway sees a turning point in her home state of Mississippi now that the confederate flag has finally come down. “When symbols emblematic of white supremacy come down it means that the power to erect and maintain such symbols is shifting.” Author David Joy, whose novel The Line That Held Us won the Southern Book Prize in 2019, examines the rural South and the threatened extinction of the Appalachian Mountain culture that he is driven to write about in order to help preserve it. Brothers Matt and Ross Duffer bring Southern instincts and a Spielbergian vision to their series Stranger Things, filming in their native region. New York Times best selling YA author Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give) was writing about police killings and protests well before George Floyd, and today is inspiring and giving voice to youth in her community.
Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Craig Renaud teams with Arkansas PBS to present a gritty, vibrant, and authentic storyscape of the South. Over three one-hour episodes, the national broadcast series will enter the worlds of nine of the most influential writers of our time. In addition to the PBS broadcast series, Southern Storytellers will offer a universe of unique content in multiple formats and on different platforms: ranging from digital series to podcast and digital print and photo essays in production and engagement partnerships with public media stations throughout the region, and aligned with a robust national social media and broadcast media campaign.
About the Filmmaker
Craig Renaud is known for character drive, cinema verité filmmaking. His work has aired on PBS, HBO, NBC, The Discovery Channel, The New York Times, ESPN, and VICE. Renaud has won a Peabody Award, two Columbia DuPont Awards, two Overseas Press Club Awards, an IDA Award, a Webby, an Edward R Murrow Award, an Emmy Award, a DGA nomination, and multiple Emmy nominations.