Documentary Production

Taking compelling stories and translating them into a visual format connects contemporary viewers to the past, keeping the stories alive and giving the historical figures a living voice.

Likewise, taking important contemporary stories and translating them into a visual format informs the viewer and hopefully compels them into action.

At Pretzel Pictures, we have a track record of locating unusual and hard-to-find resources, honoring due diligence to preserve integrity, authenticity, and accuracy.


Released Films and Series



Perfect 36: When Women Won the Vote  

For Public Screenings – Please contact us      

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Of all the battles waged on Nashville’s doorstep, the final throes for the passage of the 19th Amendment were among the most heated, controversial, and colorful. In July of 1920, all eyes were on the Tennessee capital as Anti and Pro-suffragists each fought for their vision of a socially evolving United States. Foul play and coercion were all fair in this game of high stakes. One more state was needed to ratify the proposed amendment, and that duty rested solely on the shoulders of Tennessee. On a sweltering August 18, 1920, the House convened. After two consecutive 48-48 voting outcomes to table the resolution, it was put to vote. The votes were coming in neck and neck. At the last, a 24-year-old freshman legislator by the name of Harry Burn swung his vote, and changed history forever, making Tennessee the deciding 36th state to enable passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the Constitutional right to vote.

Began airing March 2017 on Public Television Stations Nationwide                                      

Distributed by American Public Television

www.perfect36doc.com

 

 

 

            

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Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Public Health Issue – Building Strong Brains Tennessee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Co-production with WCTE/PBS in association with Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth

6-Part Series Began airing February 2018

 

 

♦ John Seigenthaler Making Kids Count Media Award ♦


Let Me Walk This Path: The Faith and Martyrdom in Japan

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Tracing nearly 300 years of history, this 4-part mini-series documentary looks deeply into the heart of Japan from the arrival of the Jesuits in the 1600’s to the arrival of the Black Ships in the late 1800’s. What was the driving force behind the closing of the ports for some 200 years? Originally airing internationally  in 2010, Let Me Walk has continued to air seasonally on EWTN tv.

(DVD copies available at: EWTN tv Catalogue)

 

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 To the Point: A Perspective on Point Lookout

Point Lookout was a Union operated POW camp located at the confluence of the Potomac and the Chesapeake in Southern Maryland established in August 1863. Overpopulated, the conditions were harsh and the food scarce to non-existent. Over 50,000 men, women, and children, white and black alike, passed through its gates. Many of them never made it out.

 

Available on Ebay

 

 

 

 



New Films



Ain’t No Daisies: Women on the Plantation

Plantation life dates back to the very colonization of America. In its most simplified description, a plantation is a farm that produces a product for commerce.

But nothing about plantation life was simple, especially the roles of women. Power in all its variables, class struggles, vulnerabilities, betrayals, love, and sacrifice are all themes that played out on a daily basis.

Prison to many, each woman – especially the bond woman -had to find the means to rise above personal adversities to survive.

Add into the mix the prevalent misogyny woven into the law of the land, the breeding programs, and a unique situation in Louisiana reflected in Creole social structure, wherein women were recognized at business and property owners.

The kettle into which all of these variables was strewn created a social structure much akin to a boiling cauldron.

Ain’t No Daisies – Women on the Plantation examines how the women on the plantation worked with the die they were cast in this seemingly opulent environment that was really a gilded cage.

(In Production- Tentative release – APT (PBS) – February 2021)

Drop Stitch

In weaving, each stitch matters. It supports the whole of the fabric into which it is woven. So, too, is our relationship with the animal inhabitants of this planet.

Yoshie will lead you on her journey of discovery through the breathtaking landscapes of Thailand, as she communes with the locals, exploring the symbiotic tie between the people and animals of this country. It is a relationship that is not always positive and necessitates change.

The situation is complex and most of the humans involved are equally trapped by their need to survive financially. Many of the farmers are not comfortable using the monkeys, since they can be dangerously unpredictable. Aggressive behaviour arises because the monkeys are distressed, exhausted, and forced to live in undesirable conditions. A visit to the monkey training “schools” will make you re-think that next coconut smoothie.

We will consider the history of coconut farming in the region and the fragile relationship between the monkeys and their handlers. We will see former beasts of burden, once broken and now living in sanctuaries. We will see a celebration thrown for temple Macaques. But what is enough and where is the line?

Ever burdened for ways to keep food on the table, many Thai also use their Macaques or elephants in sideshows or circuses, which Westerners unwittingly patronize, thus continuing to fulfill the downward cycle for both the animals and their handlers.

However, there are ways to pick up the stitch and mend the holes, and this journey will also follow in the steps of those affecting positive change, enlightening others on responsible consumerism and tourism.

Drop Stitch is a story of multiple journeys that all are interpendent for survival.

 (Filming Fall 2020)

A Square Deal

~ African American Women and Their Uphill Battle for the Vote ~

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, granting all of the women of America the Constitutional right to vote.

A number of African American women were at the forefront of the women’s suffrage movement.

A Square Deal highlights their invaluable contributions, acknowledging the formidable challenges that they overcame.

Despite marginalization by the majority of their white cohorts in the suffrage movement, these amazing women continued to forge the way for not just their rights but for those of future generations.

Their work and fortitude, from before emancipation through the civil rights movement, is a shining example to all, and an outstanding model to younger generations.

The program outlines the work of first three generations of suffragists, leading up to the 1920 passage and the dynamics uniquely experienced by these women, i.e. white women faced sexism but not racism, black men faced racism but not sexism. Black women shouldered both challenges. Additionally, they had educational and class barriers that the generally elite socialites primarily engaged with white suffrage did not have.

But the fight for a “Square Deal” did not end at the signing of the 19th amendment for African American women, as it did for white women. The significant work and contributions of the next generations through the civil rights movement, including highlighting the march in Selma, will also be discussed.

(Tentative release via APT (PBS) – February 2021)

A Beautiful Mask

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In the early 1930’s, steps were being made toward the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. Around that same time, Michie Yamamoto was also taking her first steps. By the time she had her legs well under her, the Yamamoto family would have moved to the city of Harbin in the new puppet state of Manchukuo. Michie’s father, a successful businessman with a background in geology, had seized the industrial opportunity in the new state and was heavily involved in coal and the railroad. Called the “Paris of the Orient”, Harbin was also occupied by “White Russians” who had fled the terrors of communist Russia. Their elegant influence can still be seen throughout the region. While they brought their good taste, many of the former upper crust were reduced to working as domestics. Juxtaposed against the opulence and upscale lifestyle of the Yamamoto family and others like them, Chinese laborers heaved under the burdens of working in the Japanese-run open coal mines. There were also the factories of death – the human biological testing going on just miles away. At times, there were outbreaks in the community from viruses or carriers that had escaped the confines of the testing camps. In 1945, the tables turned. Japan was losing its grip in the Pacific arena, and Russia capitalized on the vulnerability in Manchuria. Michie’s family found themselves destitute and facing a cold Siberian winter before being exiled back to Japan. A Beautiful Mask  is a poignant personal reflection tracking the journey of growing up in Japanese-occupied Manchuria.

(In scripting)