Robert Clem is a native of Alabama, a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, Harvard Law and NYU graduate film school, and has been a fellow at the Sundance Institute Writer/Director’s lab. His films adapt and document the history, literature and culture of the South and in particular his home state. After founding Radio Action Theater and the Foundation for New Media in 1990 he produced and directed dramatic radio programs aired on NPR based on the expedition of Hernando de Soto and the short stories of William Faulkner, Charles Chesnutt and William Gillmore Simms. In 1996 he produced and directed the award-winning film Big Jim Folsom: The Two Faces of Populism, about Alabama’s racially diverse, populist revolt in the 1940s and how George Wallace betrayed that cause. In 2004 he directed the dramatic feature Company K, which he adapted from the World War I novel by decorated U.S. Marine William Campbell March, a native of Mobile. His continued interest in Alabama history led to his films In the Wake of the Assassins, based on a 1954 political assassination in Phenix City and how it affected the state’s violent racial history; and the 2022 Civil War film Sink the Alabama. His recent award-winning How They Got Over and the Emmy-nominated Alabama Black Belt Blues are part of the filmmaker’s personal journey to cross the boundaries that separated whites from African Americans when he was growing up in Alabama.
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