When Talamieka Brice, a native of Kilmichael, decided to do a documentary on parts of her life and parts of the history of Montgomery County, she never thought that the impact would be this big.
Brice’s documentary “Five, A Mother’s Journey,” documents her own healing journey as she delves into her fears for her son as he grows into a man – a Black man – in America.
The title of the documentary is her realization that her son was about to turn five, while looking at the events of the world and seeing that it isn’t a safe place for a Black man. In order for her to heal and grow, she wanted to delve into her own youth, going back to Duck Hill and Kilmichael and reliving her own stories.
One in particular is the story her grandmother who told Brice of the last lynching that happened in Duck Hill. Brice said that her grandmother said they could hear a man screaming in the woods. As a young girl, she never understood why her grandmother or anyone couldn’t help him. It wasn’t until she was in college that she learned the reason why.
“I remember wondering why no one could save him. When I got to college at Jackson State University and I was doing some research, I came across the image. It was in “Life Magazine,” and it was used by the Nazis and propaganda against the United States,” she said.
That image was the catalyst for an anti-lynching law, one that still has not been passed.
“When we were standing on the site, it was when the George Floyd murder was going viral,” she said.
For her, it was a surreal full circle moment and not a good one at that. But, it’s how she made peace and began her own healing journey.
Her documentary also touches on the story of Fannie Lou Hamer and her experience in Winona.
“I have a clip in my documentary of Fannie Lou Hamer talking about what happened to her,” Brice said.
She also delved into her own struggles growing up between Duck Hill and Kilmichael.
“It’s surreal,” she said. “It’s a part of me, but I’ve made peace with it. It’s now a chapter -- it’s not the whole book. I’ve been able to make amends and find peace. I think I touch on Duck Hill, Winona, and Kilmichael.”
Brice said her film has won awards in California, Tokyo, India, France and several other festivals.
Brice’s documentary has won 10 awards out of the 14 festivals in which it’s been submitted. Recently, she won the Award of Recognition, a prestigious award, from The Accolade Global Film Competition. The award has been won by Malcolm Clarke and his Oscar winning film “The Lady in Number Six,” Dave Bossert of Disney for his short documentary, “The Tunes behind the Toons,” Ron Howard for “When You Find Me,” and Highwire Films Australia for their popular ABC TV series “twentysomething.”
“It is an amazing honor to be recognized in such a diverse field of professionals from all over the world.” Brice said.
She also won Best Documentary, Women in Film, African American Stories, and First Time Film Maker. For her, to see so many honor her work in so many different countries is humbling.
“I’m still trying to figure that one out. It’s surreal,” she said.
Brice, who’s in media and now lives in Jackson, gets to glimpse into someone else’s world and take photos and tell their story. This time, she is telling her own story.
“To know that you have that type of impact on people, lets you know that it’s universal. Sometimes you never think that you’re making a difference, but you are. And you matter, too,” Brice said.
She said her son hasn’t seen the documentary yet because she wants to wait until he’s older.
“When we made the documentary, he was four, just about to turn five,” she said. “We had custom music made for him, and he heard it. I told him ‘Mommy made this just for you. Mommy loves you.’”
She said she is kind of nervous to see how the people who really know her will react to her documentary.
“It’s one thing when people don’t know you, but it’s another when they personally know you. My mom has seen it, my brothers haven’t. My husband worked with me on it. He was a photojournalist for the Army, so he’s done a lot of filming. And I’m happy with the finished product,” she said.
She said if it’s one thing she wants people to take away is that you can reclaim power in your story and healing in it.
“This project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.”