Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Montgomery-made documentary "Remembering Anarcha" set for May 4 release

  On April 5, Terrible Masters Films announced that Gravitas Ventures - a Red Arrow Studios company - had acquired the North American rights to the locally-filmed documentary, "Remembering Anarcha". The film, directed by Josh Carples of Montgomery, Ala., explores the controversial history of Dr. James Marion Sims and the enslaved African women who were the involuntary subjects of his gynecological experiments.

  "Remembering Anarcha" will be released on multiple video-on-demand outlets on May 4. For iTunes users, the film can be pre-ordered here. It will also be released on DVD and Blu-ray.

  "My producers and I are thrilled to partner with Gravitas Ventures to make this story available to a wide audience," said Carples. "We feel that this film is both important and timely, and we hope it helps to shed more light on the strength of Anarcha, Lucy, Betsy, and the other women who endured these surgical experiments."

  "Filmmaker Josh Carples has powerfully illuminated a little known story in the dark cannon of the legacies of slavery by focusing on the forgotten, rather than the prominent. By doing so he has given a voice to three women, long thought lost to history, and recognized them for their bravery, humanity and impact on modern medicine,” said Gravitas Ventures Acquisitions Coordinator Megan Huggins.

  Known as "the father of modern gynecology," Sims is honored with statues at the Alabama State Capitol, the statehouse grounds in Columbia, SC, and previously in New York City's Central Park. The NYC statue was removed in April of 2018 due to Sims' controversial experiments on enslaved women that were conducted without anesthesia.

  "Remembering Anarcha" received a private screening at the Cloverdale Playhouse in Montgomery in August of 2019. Invited guests also participated in a question and answer session about the film with Carples and his co-producers C. DeWayne Cunningham (Carolyn Jean's Son Visions) and Royce Williams (803 Films). The film was an official selection in the 2020 International Black Film Festival in Nashville where it won the "Best Long Documentary" award.

  "My producers and I were honored to be part of the 2020 International Black Film Festival, and we are grateful that our film won an award," Carples said. "That was definitely a nice surprise."

  Carples also directed "Commit to the Song: The Joe Thomas Jr. Guitar Pull" (2018/Terrible Master Films), which shares the story of the monthly concert and storytelling event at the Cloverdale Playhouse, available on Amazon.

  "I think sometimes when talking about history, we just see names and dates and stories, so one thing I hope our film does is raise awareness of the humanity of the women who were part of the Alabama fistula experiments in the late 1840s," Carples said. "Anarcha, Lucy, Betsey, and the others whose names have been lost to history - they were people; they endured pain and loss; they helped take care of each other after their surgeries; and the fact that Sims didn't use anesthesia shows you that they were strong as well. They went through a lot, and their influence is still felt in the medical world today."

  Pre-order "Remembering Anarcha" on iTunes.

  Disclosure: Josh Carples is the Managing Editor of the Capital City Free Press.

  About the author: Joseph O. Patton is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Capital City Free Press. He is a former news editor for the Coosa County News, lead reporter for the Montgomery Independent, and editor-in-chief of the AUMnibus, the student newspaper of Auburn-Montgomery. Patton is also the creator of and writer for the satirical news radio segment "Goat Hill Gossip," which previously aired on WAUD in Auburn, Alabama, and he has appeared on several Central Alabama radio programs as a political analyst.

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