Who doesn’t enjoy a great love story?! In his new documentary, WHAT’S YOUR STORY: Community Film Workshop’s 50-Year Journey, filmmaker Derek Grace chronicles the life and love of Jim ‘JT’ Taylor, his wife, Margaret Caples Taylor, and their shared passion for creating a paradigm shift in the filmmaking industry.
“I’m thoroughly impressed by the organization headed by the late photographer and filmmaker, Jim ’JT’ Taylor. I was also impressed by the commitment and perseverance of Jim’s wife, Margaret. Jim’s love for filmmaking and Margaret’s love for Jim and the media arts field is the cornerstone of the documentary,” shared Grace, who is also a founding member of Reel Black Filmmakers.
Vera Davis, former artistic director for the Community Film Workshop, expressed,
“Derek Grace’s WHAT’S YOUR STORY: Community Film Workshop’s 50-Year Journey, answers the often-asked question: Why did Margaret stay at CFWC and continue to oversee its growth and longevity? LOVE. Love of JT and his vision. I was there for much of it. I saw it. I know it, and this film captures it.”
Grace added, “Their unwavering love and sheer determination catapulted the careers of numerous underrepresented filmmakers over the span of five decades.”
The mission of the CFWC is to provide access to media production that supports the development of independent media artists in underserved and underrepresented communities. CFWC’s programs in video and digital media are designed to increase access and equity in media, and to give people of color, youth and women the tools to create media and to transform their communities.
Grace acknowledged, “The Community Film Workshop of Chicago has an outstanding 50-year track record of providing film and media training for people of color that’s more than worthy of documenting. I chose to create a short documentary about CFWC’s 50-year journey to shine light on an organization, which provided so much to the film community here in Chicago, as well as nationwide.”
WHAT’S YOUR STORY: Community’s Film Workshop’s 50-Year Journey will premiere at this year’s Black Harvest Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., on Sunday, November 6 th at 2pm. This will be the only in-person screening of the 30-minute documentary. A virtual screening is scheduled on Monday, Nov. 21st .
As many arts-based organizations continue their economic fight for survival, Grace explained, “Ultimately, I want the film to inspire viewers to financially support small, arts-based organizations, like CFWC. It’s my hop
For tickets for the in-person screening of WHAT’S YOUR STORY: Community Film Workshop’s 50-Year Journey and the reception following the screening, go to: www.siskelfilmcenter.org/blackharvest/passes.
For more information on the Community Film Workshop of Chicago (CFWC): https://www.cfwchicago.org/.
About Derek Grace
As president of GRACE Media Group, Derek Grace has produced documentaries and promotional videos for the past 30 years. Before pursuing a career in video production, Derek spent 10 years as a computer programmer and systems engineer with IBM Corporation. He co-produced an award-winning documentary, “The Human Race,” about the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in Chicago. His involvement in social issues motivated him to produce and direct “On the Frontline: Taking Back Our Streets,” a documentary which addresses some of the causes, effects and solutions to the senseless gun violence that continues to plague the Chicago metropolitan area. This powerful film won the “Audience Award” at the Black Harvest Film Festival. Derek addresses another critical issue as the producer and director of “College Week,” a documentary about a tenacious group of teachers who battle stereotypes and statistics to instill a love of college in young students in a tough community in Chicago. “College Week” premiered at the Black Harvest Film Festival and won a “Black Excellence Award” for a feature length documentary from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago. The film aired nationally on the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) under the America ReFramed series. Derek has conducted hundreds of video production training workshops, including hands-on video courses that he has taught for several years. He has served on the board of directors of Chicago Access Television Network (CAN TV), and he is a Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Docs fellow. Derek is a founding member of Reel Black Filmmakers and continues to empower young students and adults through video technology.