ABOUT BY THE BROOK PRODUCTIONS
PRODUCER / DIRECTOR
Linda Royal (fka Linda Booker) has directed, produced and edited the film festival award-winning documentary films “STRAWS,” “Bringing It Home” and “Love Lived on Death Row.” Her films have reached audiences worldwide through film festivals, educational distribution, community screenings, corporate offices and in-flight entertainment. She has partnered with numerous organizations for grassroots advocacy and impact campaigns. The STRAWS Film in Schools impact campaign has educated thousands of youth about plastic pollution and how to take action. Linda was the Director of Operations for the Sonoma International Film Festival in 2015-2016.
I was fortunate to grow up in a place that allowed me to nurture my imagination and creativity in nature. The name of my production company, By the Brook Productions, is in remembrance to that time. The most rewarding experience for me as a filmmaker is to be able to reach people in a creative way to open up a discussion, whether the issue is domestic violence or protecting the environment. This to me is such a privilege as well as meeting so many amazing people from all over the world that I interviewed for documentary projects and other videos I've produced.
I received a Certificate in Documentary Studies from Duke University in 2005. With “Millworker the Documentary” (2006) I experienced for the first time as a Director, the power of documentary film to evoke an emotional reaction from audiences. Millworker used oral history from Southern depression-era cotton mill workers and music to voice the hardships of those times. It deepened my awe about how people can be resilient in the most tragic of moments. People like the four Syriani siblings featured in my next film “Love Lived on Death Row,” a story that intersected two difficult subjects -- domestic violence and the death penalty. The Syriani family story showed the spectrum of the best of what we can be and the worst. It’s that complexity of the human condition that fascinates me and keeps me engaged in the story-telling work I do. My most recent short film “Lumberton” features an African American woman, who experienced two floods and terrible loss in her lifetime. As people hear her beautiful, strong singing voice as she’s walking in her home ruined by flood water, they are visibly moved by her faith and survivorship. That one mother’s story has the power to make people feel more compassion and empathy for climate disaster communities.
“Bringing It Home’” (2013) an environmental documentary I produced and co-directed with Cinematographer Blaire Johnson, tells the history of hemp farming in the U.S. and explores how it can be used for carbon-negative building materials and healthy, sustainable products. “STRAWS” (2017) a 30-minute documentary about plastic pollution has now been seen in thousands of community screenings, classrooms and in-flight on multiple airlines. My goal for “STRAWS” was to make it appealing to all ages, educate about a topic that can be overwhelming, and show that small actions can lead to big impact.
With my next feature documentary in development, “Minnie Evans and Me,” I am returning back to the arts and featuring the work of an African American visionary artist who lived in Wilmington, NC. I first saw a drawing by Minnie Evans at a friend’s home several years ago. Minnie’s vibrant drawings and paintings connect flora, human faces, angels, chimeric creatures, dreams and spirituality. In 1962, she was visited by and became friends with Nina Howell Starr, a white woman and arts advocate who received an M.F.A. in photography at the age of 60. Nina’s incredible documentation of time together and her devotion to supporting Minnie’s art work voluntarily is a testament to their decades-long, loving friendship. With this project I hope to honor these two amazing women who made art history together and introduce Minnie Evans to a wider audience as one of the most important American artists of the 20th century.