A profile of Houston's Folklore Films:
Across the United States (and probably around the world), there’s a shift taking place. Moving away from the celebrity gossip that prevails in our own culture and others, projects are popping up in different cities to draw attention to the people who make local communities what they are. From Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” to Natalie Champa Jennings’s “A Face Project” in the Twin Cities, these projects work to draw people’s attention to the amazing folk right in their own backyard. This idea is something that Houston has needed for a long time. Responding to that need is Folklore Films.
Aggravated by the way people in and out of the city perceive Houston, Folklore Films, co-founded by Danielle Fanfair and Marlon Hall, seeks out individuals in the Houston community who work to improve our city in a variety of different ways. “We love our city, and Houston tragically tells the worst stories to itself about itself,” said Hall and Fanfair in a joint email interview with Free Press Houston. Funneling their irritation with the city’s low self-esteem into something more positive, Hall and Fanfair used money from a Houston Arts Alliance grant to film a series of visual poems that give our community something to feel good about, something to be proud of. Although all the money from that grant was eaten up by their first film, Hall and Fanfair have continued the project out of pure love for their city driven by the belief that these stories must be told and that people must learn from and be inspired by them. “The goal of the films are not to highlight someone else’s celebrity, but to authenticate what is folkloric about all of humanity.” This shift away from the adoration of celebrities on a national or international scale allows the visual poems to equip viewers with the tools to uncover what truly makes everyday humanity folkloric.