American Village is a documentary project that seeks to candidly illustrate and hopefully chip away at the lingering racial divisions and inequalities in Baltimore by exploring the circumstances surrounding the 1972 murder of Henry Selhorst and it’s lasting impact on surviving family members:
In 1972, on his way to a community meeting, Henry Selhorst, the father of thirteen children, was murdered blocks from where he lived in Edmondson Village. In 2009, his granddaughter Emily, born and raised in Baltimore, now a filmmaker, set out to understand what happened. In her search, she meets and talks to many people involved with the crime— from the patrol officer, to the nurse at Lutheran Hospital, to the late Governor, to an intimidated witness, to the parish priest, and finally to the accused men themselves, now men in their fifties. As honest and often contradictory memories are placed side by side, a raw, candid oral history of Edmondson Village at a time of racial change emerges – one achingly speciﬁc to Baltimore and recognizable anywhere in America.
You can a short sample of the film on the website: http://heavyindustryfilms.wordpress.com/trailer/
Emily and Mary have shot 180 hours of footage over the past three years. The film is in its second month of editing with Maya Hawke, whose last film was “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” for Werner Herzog. Emily Topper and Mary Posatko (co-directors) have been working together on documentary films since 2007. Their last film was “Ain’t in It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm” which played at SXSW Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival and is scheduled to be released theatrically in Spring 2012. In 2010, “American Village” was selected for IFP’s Spotlight on Documentaries. At that market, Emily and Mary met the Programmer from PBS’s independent strand called POV and have since been working with her for a hopeful POV slot in Spring 2012. In September 2011, “American Village” was invited to participate in the Good Pitch, a highly selective event sponsored by Channel 4/Britdoc UK and Sundance.