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“J. Fred Woell: An American Vision” is a new documentary film by Richard Kane with Robert Shetterly about the history and significance of this metalsmith, jeweler and political artist.
After our US Premiere at the prestigious Camden International Film Festival last September, we have now embarked on an outreach campaign that will bring the film to communities across the country with the goal of raising awareness about Fred´s life, work and legacy. The campaign includes the development of a website and social media presence, a screening tour at locations nationwide such as museums, libraries, universities, art guilds, community groups, conferences and theatres, and wide distribution of the film through DVD and VOD platforms.
As an artist, Fred revolutionized the world of metal arts; as a teacher he touched hundreds of lives and influenced generations of metal smiths. Through the power of film we hope to spark exciting conversations and encourage discussions around his art and activism, as well as his sense of social and political responsibility.
The film follows Woell for six years through his teaching at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, ME, and its mentorship programs, and places him in a rightfully significant place as one of the first craft artists who opened the door to using found objects to comment on the times. Through interviews with historic and contemporary curators, artists and writers we learn about Woell’s underlying convictions: to protect the environment, to fight against fascism, to respect all, particularly native peoples. His work is a politically progressive story, seen within the context of the history of American crafts, that speaks of his deeply held beliefs and his impact as an artist, a teacher and a mentor.