Fully Awake

  • “Fully Awake stands as a valuable resource, a record of a radical experiment that succeeded brilliantly for almost a quarter century, and as affirmation of the potential of educational institutions to profoundly impact lives and springload creative development.”

    – Amy White, Independent Weekly
  • “★★★★ — A rounded and lively portrait…a definite must-see”

    – Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress

Fully Awake (2007)

Hidden in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Black Mountain College (1933–1957) was an influential experiment in education that inspired and shaped twentieth century American art. Created as an experiment of “education in a democracy,” the central idea was that the creative arts and practical responsibilities are equal in importance to the development of the intellect. The emphasis was that learning and living are intimately connected.

FULLY AWAKE (2007) is the only feature-length documentary film exploring the college’s progressive pedagogy and radical approach to arts education. Highly democratic and faculty-owned, the school promoted educational of the whole person: head, heart, and hand.  Practical responsibilities and the creative arts were viewed as equally important components to intellectual development.  During WWII, Black Mountain College was a haven for refugee European artists such as Josef and Anni Albers who arrived from the Bauhaus in Germany. In the socially conservative 1940s and 50s, the college also became a refuge for the American avant–garde, (Franz Kline, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Robert Creeley, Jacob Lawrence, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, and M.C. Richards). FULLY AWAKE explores how the confluence of this diverse community came together to create a unique educational model.

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Fully Awake (2007)

Coming Spring 2014

FULLY AWAKE…further is a re-envisioned documentary film based on FULLY AWAKE (2007) that takes our original feature film further. Much has changed in the decade since the film was researched and created: freshly available archival source material including photography, primary audio interviews with key figures at the school, and dynamic new interviews, along with new technologies, compel us to re-imagine the film.


With your support

We will have the opportunity to share our deeper study of Black Mountain College with a wider audience. Our educational distributor, Documentary Educational Resources is fiscal sponsor for your tax-deductible donation.

Our goals are to:

  1. Acquire new source photos and interviews
  2. Create compelling motion graphics
  3. Re-edit film
  4. Add a fresh, evocative score
  5. Professional audio and color correction
  6. Digitize over 100 hours of complete interviews from both projects for permanent public use at the NC State Archive

We hope you will become a part of funding FULLY AWAKE…further, and help us re-envision a film worthy of Black Mountain College and its legacy.

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Coming Spring 2014

Students

“Every moment there seemed alive in a way that few have since. This had to do with being asked to be fully awake, to be at a new threshold of perception, whether in class, in the work program, in our own work, or in the life of the community…It let us perceive how much we, each of us, had meaning in the process of the life of the community. That was our education.”

– Black Mountain College Student

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Black Mountain College Student