Lumiere
A Road to Home (2015)


A Road to Home tracks the interwoven stories of 6 LGBT homeless youth over 18 months, as they wander the streets and shelters of New York City, seeking a sense of home.

Like the 200,000 homeless LGBT youth now wandering America’s streets each night, the 6 young people at the heart of A Road to Home have suffered family rejection, hunger, cold, dangers of all kinds, and the utter loneliness of being young and homeless. Determined not to let their current traumas define them for the rest of their lives, some of them find a sense of hope and healing through the work of a New York organization dedicated to helping LGBT youth.



Length: 90min
Producer/Director Calvin Skaggs



A Tale of Two Schools (2009)
Race and Education on Long Island

Owen and David are young African-Americans, both navigating senior year in Long Island public high schools. They have a lot in common—including high GPA's, strong single moms, and after-school jobs at Carvel. But they go to very different schools. A TALE OF TWO SCHOOLS makes visible the structural and institutional forces that still keep the races largely separate and unequal in our nation's schools—and points toward a solution.

Length: 30 min
Directed and Produced By David Van Taylor
A Lumiere Production for ERASE Racism



Advise & Dissent (2009)
where the Supreme Court and politics collide

With unique access to senators and advocates, Advise & Dissent chronicles the recent Supreme Court confirmation battles. From Roberts to Miers to Alito, this sweeping and sobering tale examines the future of the Supreme Court. At the same time, the film reveals the little-known activists who are re-shaping American politics.

"A fascinating, balanced insider's look at the stakes and strategies of the confirmation wars."
Tom Goldstein, publisher of SCOTUSblog

"Brilliant!"
Howard Fineman, Newsweek Chief Political Correspondent

Winner, Founders Award, 2010 "Politics on Film" Festival

Length: 90min
Produced and Directed by David Van Taylor
Executive Producers: Cal Skaggs and Marc Weiss



André's Lives (1998)
The Jewish Schindler confronts his hidden past

When "the Jewish Schindler" returns to the Czech Republic for the first time in 50 years, his heroic past becomes the object of an intense emotional struggle with his two grown sons. This hour-long film weaves verité scenes and archival footage together to explore the ambiguities of heroism, and the intergenerational struggle over Holocaust memories. Screened at film festivals across America.

Length: 60min
Distributor: First Run/Icarus
Producer/Director: Brad Lichtenstein
Producer: Ali Pomeroy

"Engrossing, powerful ... a deeply moving knockout." Atlanta Journal and Constitution

'A wonderful film not only for looking at the Holocaust, but also for examining dysfunctional family relationships." MC: The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship



Caught in the Crossfire (2002)
Arab-Americans in wartime

This documentary shines a spotlight on three Arab-Americans caught in the crossfire of the "War on Terrorism." A New York City police officer, a high-level diplomatic correspondent for an Arab newspaper, and a Lutheran minister in Brooklyn are, like many immigrants, torn between their adopted country and their homeland, between modern culture and ancient traditions. The film follows all three in the months after 9/11, capturing the intimate moments and the public dilemmas as they wrestle with their place in a changed America.

Length: 60min
Outlet: PBS
Distributor: First Run/Icarus
Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS)
Directed and Produced by David Van Taylor & Brad Lichtenstein

"In its acute eye and ear for quotidian detail, and in its compassion for innocents, the film proves undeniably affecting." New York Times

"It's a rare glimpse into a previously invisible—and often in question—community." Newsweek



Death Row in Our Town (2000)
Huntsville, TX, is home to America's busiest death chamber

To outsiders Huntsville, Texas, is just the death penalty capital of the world—a small town responsible for one third of America's capital executions. But to its 35,000 residents, Huntsville is home. Death Row in Our Town takes viewers behind the sensationalized media coverage into the heart of this uniquely American town, as residents—both inside and outside prison walls—wrestle with the everyday reality of executions in their lives.

Length: 60min
Outlet: Discovery
Distributor: Tapestry International
Produced in association with Tapestry International
Directed and Produced by Ali Pomeroy
Associate Producer: Beth Landau
Executive Producer: Calvin Skaggs

"Thought-provoking" Herald Sun, Australia



Democracy on Deadline (2006)
International journalists struggle for a free press

Around the world, journalists who struggle for independence from government and corporate censorship are at risk. In democracies, they may lose their jobs, in dictatorships, their lives.

Length: 120min
Outlet: PBS/Independent Lens
Directed by Calvin Skaggs
Produced by Jed Rothstein and Calvin Skaggs

"...an impressive cadre of reporters...maintain a passionate belief in the sanctity of their mission that humbles us." Boston Globe

"...a bracing reminder of why journalism matters..." Editor and Publisher



Diamonds! (2000)
Around the globe, making and selling precious stones

Following a pair of colorful New York diamond dealers, the film tracks the voyage of a typical diamond: from deep in a South African mine, to the marketplaces of London and Antwerp, through the skilled workshops of 47th Street in New York, to the world's finest ateliers above the Place Vendome in Paris. Fascinating, funny, and, finally, dazzling.

Length: 60min
Outlet: Discovery
Distributor: Tapestry International
Produced in association with Tapestry International
Directed and Produced by Calvin Skaggs



Dream Girls (2000)
Behind the scenes of a children's beauty pageant

Behind the scenes of a three-day "Dream Girls Extravaganza," where seven-year-olds compete to win the Little Miss title—and to realize their version of the American dream. The film follows the determined daughters and motivated moms from dawn till dusk, as they work with trainers, groomers and other home-style entrepreneurs in this hyper-competitive world of self-presentation.

Length: 60min
Outlet: Discovery
Distributor: Tapestry International
Produced in association with Tapestry International
Directed and Produced by Jerret Engle
Executive Producer: Calvin Skaggs



The Fig Tree (1987)
Based on Katherine Anne Porter's short story

This adaptation of a Katherine Anne Porter story depicts a young girl in 1903 Texas whose fear of death is haunting her imagination. Starring Karron Graves as the child Miranda, with memorable turns by Olivia Cole (nanny), Doris Roberts (great aunt), and Teresa Wright (grandmother).

Length: 60min
Outlet: PBS/Wonderworks
Directed by Calvin Skaggs
Producer: Terry Benes
Teleplay: Stephanie Keys

"A memorable little gem." New York Times



Fly By Night (1993)
The movie the music has been waiting for.

One of the first features set in the world of rap music, this film traces the rise and fall of the fictional hip-hop duo "The King and Eye." Reveals the fierce beauty and violent competition of the early club scene. Starring Jeffery Sams, Maura Tierney, Ron Brice, MC Lyte, and Daryl "Chill" Mitchell, with music supervised by KRS-One. Winner of the Filmmaker's Trophy for best Dramatic Film at the Sundance Festival.

Length: 93min
Outlet: Theatrical
Distributor: Columbia Tri Star Home Video
Produced by Calvin Skaggs
Director: Steve Gomer
Screenplay: Todd Graff



Formula One: Racing with the Benetton Team (2000)
The title says it all

Preparations for the 1999 Monaco Grand Prix begin at the Benetton team's factory in Oxford, England, where we see the cars being built, and continue through test drives at the track in Barcelona. On Monte Carlo's streets, Benetton's driver Alexander Wurz demonstrates the rigors of the most demanding and dangerous course still in use in Formula One just hours before he places sixth in the dramatic race itself.

Length: 60min
Outlet: Discovery
Distributor: Tapestry International
Produced in association with Tapestry International
Directed and Produced by Calvin Skaggs



God's Next Army (2006)
Meet America's next generation of leaders at Patrick Henry, the new evangelical college

Until now, evangelical Christians have had to rely on allies to hold the reins of political power. But if this 5-year-old Christian college at the edge of suburban Washington succeeds, that may all change ... Patrick Henry College is training young conservatives to "lead the nation and shape the culture," through a curriculum that teaches everything from biology to political science from a "biblical perspective." With unprecedented access, we follow smart, focused and well-connected freshmen up the ladders of power.

Length: 60min
A Lumiere Production for Channel 4 (UK) and Discovery Times Television
Directed and Produced by Jed Rothstein & Tom Hurwitz
Executive Producer: Calvin Skaggs



Good Ol’ Charles Schulz (2007)
Every day he poured his heart out … and we all laughed.

For 50 years, Charles M. Schulz captivated and comforted millions with his innovative chronicle of cruelty, hope, and heartbreak in the Peanuts set. But worldwide success did not quiet his own Charlie-Brown-style doubts. Instead, the mild-mannered Schulz relentlessly revisited the turbulent realities of his lost childhood in search of elusive answers. Like Citizen Kane (a film Schulz watched nearly 40 times), Good Ol' Charles Schulz tries to decipher an iconic, enigmatic American success story.

Length: 90min
Outlet: PBS/American Masters
A Lumiere, tpt, and Thirteen/WNET Production
Directed by David Van Taylor
Produced by Ali Pomeroy
Executive Producers: Calvin Skaggs, Gerry Richman, Susan Lacy

“This fascinating documentary … respects the enigma of its subject.” Time Out

“Stunning. You not only see the links between life and art, you feel them.” Baltimore Sun

“An especially moving American Masters.” Los Angeles Times



Hollywood Talent Agents (2001)
Cheerleaders, or sharks?

With surprising access to an unprecedented array of agents and agencies, Hollywood Talent Agents takes viewers behind the scenes of one of the most important and mysterious parts of the entertainment business. Is it all about money, or do they really care about their clients' lives and careers? Are they cheerleaders or are they sharks? How do they command the loyalty of fickle creative types—and what happens when they don't? Starting at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and following several agents through "pilot season," this one-hour documentary explores all these questions and uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly of the agency business.

Length: 60min
Outlet: Discovery
Distributor: Tapestry International
Produced in association with Tapestry International
Directed and Produced by David Van Taylor
Narrator: Spalding Gray



I Want to Be a Millionaire (2000)
One young man gets the chance of a lifetime

I Want to Be a Millionaire takes viewers behind the scenes of the Regis Philbin pop-phenom game show for a status report on the American Dream. With wry commentary from a former winner and backstage insights from Regis himself, the documentary tracks the journey of 21-year-old Matt "Silky" Silcox, from the shock of finding out he'll be on the show, to the pressure of the Hot Seat, to the morning after. In the process, the film explores the peculiar condition of wondering if your life just might change overnight.

Length: 30min
Outlet: MTV/True Life
A Lumiere Production for MTV
Directed and Produced by David Van Taylor
Co-Producer: Amanda McBaine



The Journey Is Home (1988)
Nelle Morton, religious reformer

A portrait of gifted feminist theologian and educator, Nelle Morton—a woman who believed a single life can change the world. The film captures Morton's fights against racism and the patriarchal view of God.

Length: 30min
Directed and Produced by Calvin Skaggs



Kansas to Kandahar (2007)
An Army Reserve unit heads for Afghanistan

Kansas to Kandahar explores the human toll that the War on Terror has taken on a group of ordinary Americans. Following an Army Reserve helicopter unit from Kansas to Pakistan to Afghanistan and finally back home, this hour-long documentary encompasses the heat of battle, the uncertainties on the home front, the emotional stresses of separation, and the evolving political attitudes of young men thrust into the international military arena. Their personal stories may hold the key to the future of America's military.

Length: 90 min
Outlet: PBS/America at a Crossroads
Produced and Directed by Calvin Skaggs

"...so inspiring, you can hardly believe it happened in the same part of the world that has become synonymous with violence, sorrow and loss." Kansas City Star

"This high-definition footage offers a stunning contrast between natural beauty and human misery, though the suffering locals are thrilled to see the rescue helicopters." Bloomberg.com



Katherine Anne Porter: The Eye of Memory (1986)
Portrait of the Southern writer with dramatizations of her stories

This portrait of the American fiction writer emphasizes her early years in Texas, "the native land of my heart." Three stories of her fictional alter ego Miranda—"The Grave," "The Witness" and "The Circus"—frame a portrait of a free spirit haunted by memories of home and childhood. Includes performances by Paul Winfield and Bill Irwin and interviews with Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren, Eleanor Clark, and Peter Taylor.

Length: 60min
Outlet: PBS/American Masters
Distributor: Monterey Video
Produced by Calvin Skaggs
Director: Ken Harrison




Local News (2001)
One station fights the odds

Filmed over 10 months behind the scenes of a local TV newsroom in Charlotte, North Carolina, Local News chronicles the travails of a third-place NBC affiliate that is trying to improve its ratings and its journalism. The documentary series presents a vivid and dramatic case study of how news professionals interact with the communities they serve. "Engrossing and revealing ... If Local News were fiction, it would be the most promising new dramatic series of the fall."—Newsday

Length: 5 x 60min
Outlet: PBS
Executive Producer: Calvin Skaggs
Series Producer: David Van Taylor
Producer: Ali Pomeroy

"Smart, stunningly candid, even hopeful ... Quietly cosmic ... Local News is also about dreams realized, and dreams dashed right in front of the lens." L.A. Times

"A riveting blend of issues and office politics." TV Guide



Love Lessons (2006)
They won't just help you find a mate. They'll help you find yourself.

Gays and lesbians looking for true love face unique hurdles. But now help is on the way—professional help. Love Lessons follows three singles who enlist the services of a matchmaker or dating coach: Perry, a thirty-something who only feels comfortable dating other HIV+ men ... Rachel, who's had her heart broken 6 different ways ... and Mark, an ex-flight attendant who feels stuck at "cruising" altitude. Will they find a mate? Or will they find themselves?

Length: 60min
Outlet: LOGO/Real Momentum
Distributor: Logo
A Lumiere Production for Logo
Directed and Produced by Ali Pomeroy & David Van Taylor



A Perfect Candidate (1996)
In the voting booth, no one can hear you scream

This feature documentary about the '94 Senate race between Oliver North and Charles Robb has been called the "evil twin" of the Pennebaker/ Hegedus classic The War Room. Screened in over 70 theaters nationwide and on Channel 4 UK, the film was nominated for an Emmy. Its DVD release in 2005 confirmed the film's lasting value, and prompted The Onion to call it "brilliant, riveting, and unforgettable ... a great film about American elections and the people who control them," while the New Yorker declared "it couldn't be more relevant."

Length: 105min
Outlet: Theatrical and PBS/P.O.V.
Distributor: First Run Features
Directed and Produced by David Van Taylor & R.J. Cutler
Editor and Associate Director: Mona Davis
Co-Producers: Dan Partland & Ted Skillman

"The best American documentary since Hoop Dreams, and one of a handful of essential films about politics." The Washington Post

"Absolutely fascinating...Boy, I loved this movie...Two thumbs up!" Siskel & Ebert at the Movies



Safe (2000)
Inside a battered women's shelter

Three women give up their homes, friends, jobs—all that is familiar—and go into hiding to escape domestic violence. With unique access to a top-secret "safe house," SAFE watches as these women, and their children, struggle to re-make their lives. A difficult, often gritty journey into the dark side of "till death do us part."

Length: 60min
Outlet: Discovery
Distributor: Tapestry International
Produced in association with Tapestry International
Directed and Produced by Brad Lichtenstein
Executive Producer: Calvin Skaggs



She's Having a Baby ... Brother (1997)
A 7-year-old awaits the family interloper

Through the eyes of 7-year-old Angela Reece, the impending arrival of a baby brother is a complicated and poignant event. With wit and humor, the film follows Angela through a sibling preparation class, fraught discussions with her parents, and ultimately, the birth itself. This revealing portrait of a family in transition appeals to parents and children alike. Worldfest Remi Award winner.

Length: 40min
Outlet: HBO
Distributor: Tapestry International
Produced in association with Tapestry International
Directed and Produced by David Van Taylor



The Sunset Gang (1991)
Laughter and tears in Miami Beach's older set

A triptych of interconnected stories about elderly Jews in Florida: in "Yiddish," a man and a woman, both married to others, form a bond through their native language. In "The Detective," a married couple who have grown apart come together again as they pursue a neighborhood thief. And in "The Home," a woman struggles against her grown children, who want to place her in a nursing facility. Starring Doris Roberts, Uta Hagen, Anne Meara, and Jerry Stiller.

Length: 3x60min
Outlet: PBS/American Playhouse
A Presentation of American Playhouse
Directed by Calvin Skaggs & Anthony Drazan



The Circus (1989)
For a young girl, a trip to the big top is serious business

The high-wire act in a 1907 traveling circus so frightens a young Texas girl that the circus becomes her nightmare. This dramatization of a Katherine Anne Porter story features Bill Irwin as tightrope-walking Pierrot, the girl's father, and the classic clown who introduces the film.

Length: 30min
Outlet: HBO
Directed and Produced by Calvin Skaggs



The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith (2015)


The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith, a feature documentary that Lumiere produced for WNYC Studios, is based on the 40,000 photos and 4,000 hours of reel-to-reel recordings the great photographer Gene Smith compiled from 1957-1965 in his grungy loft on 6th Avenue in New York City. Great jazz musicians gathered there where they could play all night long - and play they did. Jazz Loft documents eight years of jams and parties and everyday life in the loft as the simmering 1950s boiled into the ‘60s.

Length: 90mins
Directed by Sara Fishko
Producer Cal Skaggs
Associate Producer Jonathan J. Johnson



Tyler's Chance (2006)
Freight train knocks a 13-year-old from his daily routine

A near-fatal train collision imperils the gridiron dreams of 13-year-old Tyler, and sounds a wake-up call to his methamphetamine-addicted parents. This verité take on the First Commandment — the first in a documentary series inspired by Kieslowski's Decalogue — takes scripture out of church and into small-town Arkansas, where "false gods" are all too real.

Length: 60min
Outlet: Hallmark
A Granada Production for Faith and Values Media
Directed and Produced by Amanda McBaine & David Van Taylor
Executive Producer: Sandy Itkoff



Vanished (1998)
Inside the Witness Protection Program

What do a major Chicago mobster, a middle-aged couple of small-time Boston drug dealers, and an innocent bystander at a mob hit have in common? They've all left their lives behind to enter the Witness Protection Program. In this unique documentary filmed under strict secrecy, viewers experience the arduous journey from a familiar existence disrupted by crime to a new life fabricated by the U.S. Department of Justice. Awarded a Certificate of Merit from the San Francisco Film Society.

Length: 60min
Outlet: Discovery
Distributor: Tapestry International
Produced in association with Tapestry International
Directed and Produced by Calvin Skaggs



The Wash (1988)
Falling in love at 18 is magic...Falling in love at 65 is a miracle

One of the first theatrical films set entirely in the Japanese-American community, this bittersweet drama tracks the final months of a 40-year marriage. "Why don't you want me anymore?" the wife Masi asks. "We got old," he says. Though Masi has moved out, found a gentle widower who loves her, faced the encouragement of one daughter, dis-approval of the other, she still comes weekly to deliver her husband's clean laundry and take away his dirty—until the final scene, when a long-delayed confrontation changes their lives forever.

Length: 90min
Outlet: Theatrical, Skouras Films and PBS/American Playhouse
A Presentation of American Playhouse Theatrical Films
Produced by Calvin Skaggs
Director: Michael Toshiyuki Uno
Screenplay: Philip Kan Gotanda.

"A triumph of intelligent acting and film making." New York Times



With God on Our Side: George W. Bush & The Rise of the Religious Right (2004)
George W. Bush—sinner, believer, President

Updating Lumiere's "landmark" 1996 series, this documentary explores the political education of conservative evangelicals, and chronicles the prodigal-to-President journey of George W. Bush. "Serious, in-depth, and even-handed ... For anyone even remotely interested in the outcome of the 2004 presidential election, With God on Our Side is required viewing." Chicago Tribune

Length: 120min
Outlet: Channel 4 UK and Sundance Channel
Distributor: First Run Features
A Lumiere Production for Channel 4 (UK)
A film by Calvin Skaggs, David Van Taylor, and Ali Pomeroy

"A welcome respite from the noise." New York Times

"Outstanding ... Uses little-seen archive to demonstrate how fundamental Christianity is to Bush." The Guardian (UK)



Yours for a Song (1999)
The Women of Tin Pan Alley

A joint biography of four largely forgotten women who helped forge the Golden Age of American songwriting: Dorothy Fields, Kay Swift, Dana Seusse, and Ann Rozell. Their personal stories are interwoven with archival footage of their songs' best performances, which sparkle with wit and imagination. A new appreciation of treasures that include "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Fine and Dandy," and "Willow Weep for Me."

Length: 60min
Outlet: PBS/American Masters
Distributor: PBS Video
Directed and Produced by Terry Benes
Executive Producer: Calvin Skaggs






Home | About us | Works In Progress | Films | News | Newsletter Sign-up | Contact Us