This African-American history lesson covers a lot – from the early colonies to the 21st century – in 87 minutes. It comes from an interesting point of view: Director Frances Causey is a white descendant of slave owners who had to learn on her own to reject the myth of the Lost Cause. Although conventionally made, this documentary makes a strong argument that black Americans have been and still are intentionally pushed down by the system. The problem, of course, is that the people who need to see this film will never see it – and if they did, they’d reject it.Lincoln Spector, Bayflicks
The Long Shadow is a moving personal and informative history of anti-Black racism in the US packed with revealing details and analysis and leading us towards understanding, healing, and commitment to work for racial justice. A must see for white people concerned about racial equity and social justice.Paul Kivel, Educator, Activist, and Writer
That couldn’t be truer for Bay Area filmmakers, who once again have brought strong documentaries to the festival, including The Long Shadow, an impressive meditation on slavery, directed by Berkeley’s Frances Causey.David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
MVFF has established itself as a prime showcase for new Bay Area documentaries. This year’s highlights include Frances Causey’s history of slavery and racism, The Long Shadow.Michael Fox, KQED
Causey revisits her Southern roots and looks at the region’s powerful political influence and how it “steadily, deliberately and at times secretly, established white privilege in our institutions, laws, culture and economy.”
Q: What prompted the film?
Growing up in the south, I witnessed terrible acts of anti-black racism and also the effects of systemic racism, mainly in the form of grinding poverty in the African-American community. I wanted to understand how this could have happened in the U.S., so I began at the beginning — our terrible slave-owning past. I made the film that I never could find.
Q: Most films on race focus on “the black experience.” You turn the tables, and it’s uncomfortable for white people. Was that the goal?Green Valley News
Ripping a story from her family history that could be splattered on today’s front pages is Frances Causey’s The Long Shadow, which tells a tale about her slave-owning ancestors. “My family’s personal connection to slavery made me part of the story,” she says. “(One of my uncles) was a ‘founding father’ and the revolutionary governor of Virginia and was responsible in large part for codifying slavery into American law.”Mal Karman, Pacific Sun
In this compelling documentary getting its world premiere at MVFF, Berkeley filmmaker Frances Causey revisits her Southern heritage to explore the evolution of slavery and expose the racism that festers today. Shadow is a gripping personalized history lesson, with Causey covering salient points, including how economics drove the despicable trading of humans. Her of-the-moment feature couldn’t be more necessary.Randy Myers, Mercury News
This new documentary film summarizes, illustrates and connects one of the principal structural elements of American society… since the country began over 300 years ago. It is told through the discoveries of two white southern and privileged women who grew up uncomfortably aware of their own advantage in the long shadow of a disproportionately large disadvantaged population, that of the African Americans.Sydney Levine, SydneysBuzz The Blog