At first glance the storyline may seem deceptively straightforward.But embedded in it is an exploration of family relations, race and class in America, and intellectual disability.
The story of acclaimed artist Beverly Mc Iver and her promise to take her sister Renee (who is mentally disabled) when their mother dies — a promise that comes due just as Beverly’s career is taking off.
“In a notable fusion of subject and film, the same themes that fuel the artist’s distinguished body of work—race, class, family, disability—propel this cinematic portrait.
— Steven Ascher & Jeanne Jordan Beverly Mc Iver was born in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1962.
She is the youngest of three girls born to Ethel Mc Iver. Renee is 48 but has the mindset of a second grader. Beverly is widely acknowledged as a significant presence in contemporary American art in general and has charted a new direction as an African- American woman artist.
We were fascinated by Beverly, her talent as a painter, her instinctive storytelling—and the idea of her promise.
Ethel, a maid in Greensboro, North Carolina who had cared for Renee for 43 years, was strong and healthy and no one had any idea of how the story would play out, but we started filming a few scenes while we worked on other projects.
Beverly’s canvases become another character in themselves.
The three films in this trilogy were long-term commitments because we’re interested in time – time for our characters’ lives to unfold, and time to elucidate layers of interconnections through story, structure, image and sound.
She is currently Esbenshade Professor of the Practice in Studio Arts at Duke University.