Family Name

Overview

Documentary filmmaker Mack Alston grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where he noticed at a young age that a large number of people in town shared his last name; some were white like himself and some were black. At the age of 30, years after relocating to New York City, Alston returned to North Carolina, armed with a 16mm camera and hoping to discover if there was, in fact, a familial link between his branch of the family and any of the African-American Alstons. Family Name is the record of the search and Alston's...
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Overview

Documentary filmmaker Mack Alston grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where he noticed at a young age that a large number of people in town shared his last name; some were white like himself and some were black. At the age of 30, years after relocating to New York City, Alston returned to North Carolina, armed with a 16mm camera and hoping to discover if there was, in fact, a familial link between his branch of the family and any of the African-American Alstons. Family Name is the record of the search and Alston's findings. While records of mixed race children born to slaves and fathered by their masters were not kept at the time, such matters remained a part of family legend and lore in the Deep South, indicated by a number of clues left behind. Alston tries to determine where the common link between the two Alston families came from, while discovering many facts about the remarkable histories of both Alston clans. While most of the African-American Alstons speak openly about the likely realities of their ancestry, they also acknowledge that it is a matter no one could speak about at the time, and are still reluctant to today. Alston, on the other hand, is gay and has been encouraged by his family not to speak about it while visiting Durham, so he admits that he understands all too well the difficult nature of family secrets. Family Name won the "Freedom of Expression" award at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
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Special Features

Filmmaker interview; Family Name featurette; Filmmaker biography
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/23/2008
  • UPC: 767685116784
  • Original Release: 1997
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Video Group
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:29:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 87,011

Cast & Crew

Technical Credits
Macky Alston Director, Screenwriter
Jennifer Chaiken Associate Producer
Sandra Marie Christie Editor
Selina Lewis Davidson Producer
Kay Gayner Screenwriter
Nicholas Gottlieb Executive Producer, Producer
Camara Kambon Songwriter
Selina Lewis Producer
Eliot Rockett Cinematographer
Christopher White Editor
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Family Name
1. Behind the Family Name [2:43]
2. Black and White Reunions [8:56]
3. Questioning the Alstons [10:04]
4. Charlotte, Fred and Jeff Alston [7:19]
5. Fred and Jeff Head South [8:09]
6. Penfield [1:24]
7. Charles "Spinky" Alston [9:55]
8. Searching for Primus [19:33]
9. Pictures From Life's Other Side [5:53]
10. Rev. Delores Alston Perry and Primus [1:44]
11. Fred's Concert at Cherry Hill [7:18]
12. Vincent Alston Finds Macky Alston [6:35]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Family Name
   Play
   Scenes
   Extras
      Featurette: Excerpts From Family Name (27 min.)
      Interview With Filmmaker Macky Alston (27 min.)
      Filmmaker Bio
         Macky Alston
      About Docurama Films
         Credits
         Trailers
            Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back
            Air Guitar Nation
            A Crude Awakening
            The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
      Docurama Trailers
         Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back
         Air Guitar Nation
         A Crude Awakening
         The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
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