Redemptive COVID-19 Doc The Panola Project Comes to Sundance on Heels of Awards for Film and Subject Dorothy Oliver

THE PANOLA PROJECT highlights the heroic efforts of Dorothy Oliver to keep her small town of Panola, Alabama safe from COVID-19. Dorothy runs a makeshift vaccine coordination center from the convenience store she runs out of a mobile home. Today, nearly 99% of adults in her town have received the shot in a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. THE PANOLA PROJECT illuminates how an often-overlooked rural Black community comes together in creative ways to survive.

The film was released with The New Yorker, featured on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and Morning Joe and written about in numerous publications, including PeopleUSA TodayThe Los Angeles Times, and Business Insider. THE PANOLA PROJECT received Audience Awards at GlobeDocs and Sidewalk Film Festival, where Dorothy received the Spirit of Sidewalk Award.WHO:As a Black woman with a complex family history related to race, Rachael DeCruz’s work centers on how race impacts people’s ability to navigate systems. She’s currently working on her debut feature, NINE, which was an official selection of the 2021 Big Sky Pitch and received a development grant from the Ford Foundation. DeCruz is the Associate Director of Advocacy at the Center for Antiracist Research, founded by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Her work as a writer and opinionist has been published in outlets like the Huffington Post and The Seattle Times. Prior to joining the Center, DeCruz served as Chief of Staff at Race Forward and on the Executive Committee of Seattle’s King County NAACP for over five years.Jeremy S. Levine is an award-winning filmmaker and assistant professor at Suffolk University (previously at the University of Alabama). His films explore race, class, and trauma, and seek to unearth buried tragedies in a society in active denial of its own past. An Emmy award-winning filmmaker and two-time Sundance Institute fellow, his work has screened at over one hundred film festivals around the world, including the Berlinale, Tribeca, and Sundance, streamed on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sundance Now, and Hulu, broadcasted nationally in nine countries, and received over a dozen festival awards. His last feature, FOR AHKEEM, named in Top 10 lists by both Entertainment Weekly and People, is a love story set against the backdrop of the Ferguson uprising and the school-to-prison pipeline. Levine launched the production company Transient Pictures with Landon Von Soest and co-founded the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective (BFC) in 2006.WHEN:On-demand from 8:00AM MST, Thursday, January 20th to 10:59PM MST Saturday, January 30th, 2022.WHERE:Online
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Rachael DeCruz and Jeremy S. Levine’s Documentary THE PANOLA PROJECT Wins Two Festival Audience Awards Ahead of Screening at Sundance; “Spirit of Sidewalk Award” for Star Dorothy Oliver After Vaccinating Nearly 99% of Panola, Alabama Against COVID-19  

Dorothy Oliver was the recipient of the Humankind Award for her work. None other than Dr. Anthony Fauci presented the commendation to her. Watch here!With the Omicron variant sweeping the nation, Sundance announced it is canceling the in-person portion of the festival and returning to virtual programming only. Oliver’s story of hope is more relevant now than ever, as case numbers surge across the country, but hospitalizations and deaths remain heavily skewed towards unvaccinated patients. As governmental and societal barriers to vaccine access remain a problem in the United States, especially in underserved neighborhoods, THE PANOLA PROJECT highlights the power of community organizing and genuine, respectful outreach to combat systemic inequalities.THE PANOLA PROJECT
Genre: Documentary Short
Running Time: 16:39
Rating: NR
Language: English Directors: Rachael DeCruz and Jeremy S. Levine
Writers: Rachael DeCruz and Jeremy S. Levine
Producers: Rachael DeCruz and Jeremy S. Levine
Executive ProducerThe New Yorker: Soo-Jeong Kang
Supervising ProducerThe New Yorker: Yara Bishara
ProducerThe New Yorker: Melissa Fajardo
Cinematographer: Jeremy S. Levine
Editor: Jeremy S. Levine
Composer: Jermaine “Maineframe” Fletcher
Re-Recording Mixers: Dominic Bartolini and Eric MasunagaFeaturing:
Dorothy Oliver
Drucilla Russ-Jackson
LaDenzel Colvin

Dr. Fauci Presents PANOLA PROJECT’s Dorothy Oliver with Humankind Award
Web and Social

Rachael DeCruz Instagram: @heyreggie
Jeremy S. Levine Instagram: @jeremyslevine
Rachael DeCruz Facebook: @rachael.decruz
Jeremy S. Levine Facebook: @jeremyscottlevine
Rachael DeCruz Twitter: @HeyReggie_D
Jeremy S. Levine Twitter: @jeremyslevine
#PanolaProject #DorothyOliver
We would like to thank Henry Eshelman/Saeli Eshelman– PMG for the artist profile and press release.