Tonsler Park


  • Kevin Jerome Everson

  • 2017
    • United States
  • 86 min
  • Colour
  • PRODUCTION
  • Picture Palace Pictures

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Shot in four different polling stations in Charlottesville, Virginia, one of them being Tonsler Park, an African- American neighbourhood that was named after Benjamin Tonsler, a local black school director who continued to teach African-American pupils during segregation, the film opens with the mainly African-American public officials swearing the oath of allegiance, part of their duty being “to prevent fraud, deceit and abuse”. Importantly, the film puts African-American people to the fore in a democratic process that has systematically sought to exclude them. [...] Watching the film now, we also remember Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally in August, its tumultuous aftermath and Trump’s astounding refusal to condemn the white supremacist violence. These world-shaking events seem a million miles from the Charlottesville of the film, in which ordinary people mill around the polling station amid the reassuring buzz of chatter as instructions are explained and questions answered.

(Helen de Witt, BFI)

  • Kevin Jerome Everson

Kevin Jerome Everson was born in 1965, Mansfield Ohio. Since the 1980s he has directed numerous short films, and nine feature lengths. Most of these are anchored in the collection or staging of gestures, postures and attitudes of the black American working class.

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