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Columbia film producer wins documentary grant

Staff Report //May 13, 2020//

Columbia film producer wins documentary grant

Staff Report //May 13, 2020//

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S.C.-based film producer Sherard Duvall has won a research and development grant from the Southern Documentary Fund for his exploration of Gullah Geechee culture.

Saltwata Vibes: Sankofa Seeds from Geechee Roots follows siblings Sara Makeba Daise and Simeon Daise, children of former television personalities Ron and Natalie Daise, as they try to define their cultural identity. Ron and Natalie Daise hosted the 1990s-era Nickelodeon show Gullah Gullah Island.

Co-executive producers Sherard Duvall (left to right), Sara Makeba Daise and Simeon Daise of award-winning documentary Saltwata Vibes: Sankofa Seeds from Geechee Roots.The film, one of 20 selected documentary projects which will receive cash awards totaling $150,000, also explores how music can influence culture.

Duvall, founder of OTR Media Group, is a Columbia native and an adjunct professor at Columbia College who has produced projects for VH1, The Discovery Channel, BET and ESPN.

“This is the first of several feature length documentary projects that we have currently under development right now,” Duvall said in a news release. “We started this company with a laser vision on bringing untold stories to the world that reflected the African Diaspora, particularly in South Carolina. As a S.C. native, I personally wanted to use my resources to push stories like this into the national and international spotlight, which is why I am so grateful to SDF for giving us the first push to do just that.”

Saltwata is slated for a spring 2022 release.

The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. Their culture is evident in their distinctive arts, crafts, food, music, and language.

“Gullah culture has been the inspiration and foundation behind so much cultural evolution and progress,” Simeon Daise said. “Our culture is seemingly a goldmine that everyone has cashed in on, except for us.”