Tag Archives: the KKK

Oscar Buzz At Airlift Productions – 20th Century Style

Academy Award Winning Documentary Film Maker Charles Guggenheim (1924-2002)  Making Tracks At Airlift Productions ~ on Iberville Street in ’93

Throw-back Thursday today throws the spotlight on Airlift Productions in the Fall of 1993 –  a most remarkable day, because when legends meet and connect, magic is created and sparks fly!

I mean, it’s one thing to meet powerful and important people, it’s another to get a quickie photo op with powerful and important people … and yet another thing altogether to spend an entire day with powerful and important people –  work with,  document and record the whole affair.

Academy Award Winning Documentary Film Maker Charles Guggenheim showed up at the Airlift studios that Fall morning in a rent-a-car from Baton Rouge.  After confessing he was a bit hungry, we took the elevator up into the commissary and I made him some toast – no butter, no jelly – just toast.  It’s what he asked for.

Not long after, Avery C. Alexander, along with his driver, arrived. Reverend Alexander is the closest thing New Orleans and Louisiana has ever seen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.  A longtime civil rights activist, ordained minister & LA state representative – ‘the Rev’s’ name is carved above the entrance to our N.O. Charity Hospital!

Avery Caesar Alexander (1910-1999) being restrained by the NOPD during a scuffle at the controversial Liberty Monument re-dedication ceremony in March of 1993

Charles Guggenheim had contracted Airlift Productions & me to record his 60-Minutes-Style interview with Avery Alexander for sound bites to be used in his latest documentary project ‘The Shadow of Hate’.  

Wow! Some of the things that were said that day ….

~ Avery Alexander talks of prejudice, mistreatment, abuse, lynchings & murder at the Airlift microphones ~

Amazingly, with the historic impact that Avery Alexander made here in Louisiana during his life & civil rights mission – there is no audio record of him anywhere on the internet through a google or bing search.

There is now.

~ Avery Alexander talks of David Duke, the KKK, anti-Catholic/Jew bias … and the ‘dignity of man’ ~

Charles and Avery went at it for nearly two hours.  Guggenheim had me adjust the microphone for only Reverend Alexander – while he paced and questioned him persistently … drawing-out intimate and personal reflections.  Some session, I’ll tell you that.

The program that contained the recordings made that day in the Fall of ’93 at the Airlift Studios on Iberville Street – Guggenheim’s ‘The Shadow of Hate’ – was nominated for the Academy Award in 1995 … and opened more than one or two eyes and ears.  Yours? 


Charles Guggenheim accepting the Academy Award for Documentary Film in 1994

In 2014, the beat goes on …

And even though both of these extremely fine gentlemen now belong to the ages, sad to say,  the problems they attempted to address and remedy that day are still very much with us.

From the locker rooms of the NFL to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri … and from the playgrounds of YourTown to the Main Street of AnyTown, USA.

But as the planet continues to grow smaller and smaller as each day goes by, perhaps ONE day we can all learn to live by the mantra – and it’s pretty simple, four words – ‘ONE Father, ALL Brothers’.

increasethepeace ~ Micheal Z

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans … since 1984