Film director Andrea Kalin for a screening of her new documentary Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story on Wednesday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Soul of a People tells the story of the Federal Writers’ Project, one of just four arts programs under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The project gave much to unemployed writers – including Richard Wright, Saul Bellow and John Cheever – to fan out across America, interview its citizens, and produce a portrait of the USA from the ground up in a series of state travel guides. The resulting American Guide series captured a unique portrait of 1930s Americana. But what began as a program to create guidebooks for every state ended up igniting a storm of controversy when writers sought out not only the triumphs of America, but also its tragedies.
The Soul of a People documentary debuted on the Smithsonian Channel HD (smithsonianchannel.com) over Labor Day weekend.
Kalin will lead a Q&A session following the screening.
An internationally recognized documentary filmmaker, Kalin is founder of Spark Media, a production company based in Washington, D.C. that specializes in creating programs on social change. Spark has won over 50 major awards including a Primetime Emmy and the Erik Barnouw Award for Best History Documentary. Her films include Partners of the Heart, The Pact, and Prince Among Slaves.
Admission is free. Call 816.701.3407 to RSVP.
The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) helped define America and American literature by supporting literary talent during the Great Depression. In association with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, the Kansas City Public Library commemorates the 75th anniversary of this New Deal program with a series of free events  throughout September and October 2009, including a screening of the documentary Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story.
Soul of a People programs at the Kansas City Public Library are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.