Lewis Latimer Film Lab

Latimer Film Project receives $50K as part of Residency at the Tull Family Theater

Our goal is to make a limited dramatic series about the life and times of Lewis Latimer for public television. We are currently in the early stages of research and script development phase.

Martha Conley, along with Nadine Patterson, are the filmmakers in residence at the Tull Family Theater in Sewickley, Pennsylvania through a $100,000 grant from the Arts Equity Re-imagined project. The Unknown Tales of Lewis and Mary Latimer is the focus of their artistic residency.

Because of COVID19 the residency is mostly virtual, but during the one year period, they have participated in a film enrichment program for youth called “CiMS”; started a weekly online writer’s support group called “Black Historical Liberation Dramas” in partnership with SIFTMedia 215 Collective; and hold monthly meetings with the Tull executive team to figure out ways to uplift independent BIPOC filmmakers in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas.

July 14th, 2021 (from left to right): Nadine Patterson, Carolina Thor, Karen Ferrick-Roman and Martha Conley stand in the lobby of The Tull Family Theater

One program is to create an job development program for youth and emerging filmmakers who want to gain experience in the craft of filmmaking. The other is to create an ongoing relationships with public television programmers for regional filmmakers.

“When you make a film or television series, you use a tremendous amount of resources. It is irresponsible to hog those resources all to yourself. Share what you learn along the way. Help to create a track for others to follow. Create an infrastructure that you and others can use, again and again.”— Nadine Patterson

THE UNKNOWN TALES OF LEWIS & MARY LATIMER is a dramatic series about Lewis H. Latimer and the great strides African Americans made after the Civil War. We will examine the effect of Reconstruction on Black Life in America and the early years of Electrical Engineering,1873 to 1901, as the nations of the world transition from gas power and lighting  to electrical power and lighting.  It will highlight the contributions of African American draftsman, engineer and inventor Lewis Latimer. 

“Like the light of the sun, it beautifies all things on which it shines, and is no less welcome in the palace than in the humblest home.”– Lewis H. Latimer from his 1890 book “‘Incandescent Electric Lighting, A Practical Description of the Edison System”. Latimer’s personal story is strong, informative, and dramatic.

Click here to see a short film on Lewis Latimer that places him within an historical context . Please note: this sample was filmed before COVID19 shutdown in February 2021. It is not reflective of the what the final version will look like. It is an introduction to Lewis Latimer for people unaware of his contributions to the field of electric light.

Special thanks to the staff at the Lewis H. Latimer House in Flushing Queens NY and the staff at the Queens Public Library NY.

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