Directed by Sam Pollard
From Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Sam Pollard. Narrated and Executive Produced by Common, featuring music by Gary Clark Jr. and score by Christopher North.
In June of 1964 hundreds of college students eager to join the civil rights movement traveled to Mississippi, starting what would be known as Freedom Summer. That same month, two groups of young men — made up of musicians, college students and record collectors — also traveled to Mississippi. Though neither group was aware of the other, each had come on the same errand: to find an old blues singer and coax him out of retirement.
Thirty years before, Son House and Skip James had recorded some of the most memorable music of their era, but by the 1960’s the music and musicians had seemed lost to time. Finding them would not be easy. There were few clues to their whereabouts and it was not even known for certain if they were still alive.
Mississippi, that summer, was a tense and violent place. With hundreds on their way to teach in freedom schools and work on voter registration, the Ku Klux Klan and police force of many towns vowed that Freedom Summer would not succeed. Churches were bombed, shotguns blasted into cars and homes. It was easy to mistake the young men looking for Son House and Skip James as activists. Finally, on June 21, 1964, these two campaigns collided in memorable and tragic fashion. TWO TRAINS RUNNIN not only pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians, but it cuts to the heart of our present moment, offering a crucial vantage from which to view the evolving dynamics of race in America.
Festival Selections: Full Frame Documentary Film Festival/ Asbury Park Music in Film Fest/ Sheffield DocFest/ March on Washington Film Festival/ Traverse City Film Festival/ Vancouver International Film Festival/ New York Film Festival*