Folklore alum, Govenar, produces doc about NEA Fellows

August 22, 2017
alan govenar

OSU Folklore Alum, Alan Govenar (B.A. with distinction in American Folklore), who worked with emeritus professor, Patrick Mullen, has produced a new documentary film about NEA National Heritage Fellows titled, Extraordinary Ordinary People

Documentary Arts, Govenar's non-profit organization, announces the premiere of Extraordinary Ordinary People, a film tribute to 35 years of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor for folk and traditional artists. Director Alan Govenar has documented the lives and artistry of the Heritage Fellows for decades through books, radio series, exhibitions, films, videos, and interactive media.

Distributed by First Run Features, Extraordinary Ordinary People (84 min.) opens September 15 and 16 at Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., New York City. Alan Govenar will introduce the film, which will be followed by conversation and performances by Heritage Fellows Sheila Kay Adams, renowned for her Appalachian ballad singing and narrator of the film, and Sidiki Conde, a remarkable dancer and drummer of NYC. 

In the film, viewers learn the history of the Heritage Fellows through voices of the dozens of musicians and craftspeople who have won it and NEA folklorists who crafted this honor. Alan Govenar, who has interviewed and comprehensively documented many Heritage Fellows, notes, “My relationships with so many gifted artists from diverse cultures across the U.S. have enriched my vision and motivated me to make their stories more broadly known.”