Macky Alston, documentary film maker and director of Auburn Media

Website: www.riverfilms.net; www.auburnsem.org/multifaith/media

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His Biography

Macky Alston is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, an educator on issues of media and religion, an organizer within the worlds of philanthropy and media-making, and a regular writer and reviewer on film and religion. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary (M. Div.), he comes from a long line of ministers in the American South and grew up exposed to the power of the media and the pulpit, as charismatic leaders on the Left and the Right shaped social and political relations for generations to come.

Alston is currently completing The Killer Within a documentary feature for Discovery Docs on a Columbine-type crime that took place fifty years ago and recently returned to front page news. He is also producing The Hard Road Home, a feature documentary about a formerly incarcerated gang-leader who rose to national fame for founding Exodus Transitional Community, an exemplary program in East Harlem that helps the formerly incarcerated successfully reenter society.

Alston's most recent completed documentary feature, Questioning Faith, explores what happens to people's spiritual convictions when crisis strikes. It aired nationally on HBO and Cinemax in June 2002 and met with critical acclaim. His previous film, Family Name, explored the legacy of slavery in America today. It aired nationally on PBS in 1998, winning the Freedom of Expression Award at the Sundance Film Festival, the IFP Gotham Open Palm Award, and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Historical Programming. (Siskel & Ebert gave Family Name "two thumbs up, way up.")Alston has been featured in press all over the world, including The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show and The New York Times.

Since 1998, Alston has been a partner at River Films, a documentary film company in New York City. He has received grants for his productions from the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, HBO and PBS. Through firms such as Applied Research & Consulting and the Michael Cohen Group, he has consulted with a range of media companies on their organizational communications and marketing strategies.

At Auburn Media, a division of the Center for Multifaith Education at Auburn Theological Seminary, Alston has developed and directs a program that offers religious expertise to the world of the media and media expertise to the world of religion. Auburn Media promotes responsible, engaging religious voices and programs to create multifaith understanding.

Alston is on the board of the Hartley Film Foundation, a public charity that supports documentaries on world religions, spirituality, ethics and well-being.  He sits on the steering committee of the Docuclub, the New York organization committed exclusively to supporting the work of documentary filmmakers, and has served on a host of boards and juries, including those of the New York State Council of the Arts, the Student Academy Awards, the Faith Project, and the USA Film Festival. He has taught courses on documentary film at Union and Auburn Theological Seminaries.

A very special testimonial:

"Karen Humphries Sallick is the best interviewer I've had the pleasure of working with over the past 20 years. Her preparation is impeccable, and her enthusiasm contagious. 'Embracing the Journey' is a fabulous program, so much needed at this time in history."
- Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of
"Inner Peace for Busy People" and "Saying YES to Change"

 

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