Two Trains Runnin'


Two Trains Runnin’

IN-PERSON: Director, Sam Pollard, Editor Dava Whisenant, and Writer/Producer Benjamin Hedin  

“A Conversation With” Mr. Pollard, Ms. Whisenant, and Mr. Hedin after the screening, will be hosted by film critic at large, Lisa Kennedy.

Director: Sam Pollard
Country: USA
Run Time: 85 mins
When: Saturday May 14 at 7:15pm
Where: Sie FilmCenter

DocuWest is also proud to present the Charles Schwartz Foundation, One Octave Higher Award for Best Musical documentary to the filmmakers.


From the film’s official site:

Two Trains Runnin’ is a feature-length documentary directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sam Pollard and featuring the music of Gary Clark Jr. The film pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians and cuts to the heart of our present moment, offering a crucial vantage from which to view the evolving dynamics of race in America.
In June of 1964 hundreds of college students, eager to join the civil rights movement, traveled to Mississippi, starting what would be known as Freedom Summer. That same month, two groups of young men–made up of musicians, college students and record collectors–also traveled to Mississippi. Though neither group was aware of the other, each had come on the same errand: to find an old blues singer and coax him out of retirement. Thirty years before, Son House and Skip James had recorded some of the most memorable music of their era, but now they seemed lost to time.

Finding them would not be easy. There were few clues to their whereabouts. It was not even known for certain if they were still alive. And Mississippi, that summer, was a tense and violent place. With hundreds on their way to teach in freedom schools and work on voter registration, the Ku Klux Klan and police force of many towns vowed that Freedom Summer would not succeed. Churches were bombed, shotguns blasted into cars and homes. It was easy to mistake the young men looking for Son House and Skip James as activists. Finally, on June 21, 1964, these two campaigns collided in memorable and tragic fashion.

In telling this remarkable story, Two Trains Runnin’ revisits an important moment when America’s cultural and political institutions were dramatically transformed. The movie is all the more pointed and relevant today, in an era of renewed attention on police brutality and voting rights.

The film and award is presented by the generous support of the The Charles Schwartz Foundation.

About the Director:

Sam Pollard is one of the most respected names in the world of documentary cinema, the recipient of an Oscar nomination and multiple Emmy awards. He produced the HBO documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, and If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise. Pollard directed the acclaimed documentary Slavery by Another Name, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently aired on PBS. He also directed four episodes of PBS’s American Masters–including, most recently, August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand–and two installments of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize.

Pollard edited the documentaries Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, Joe Papp in 5 Acts, By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, and Feel Like Going Home, part of The Blues series presented by Martin Scorsese. Since 1994 Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.