Behind the Scenes

North Carolina based Production Company; Video Dialog has produced the award winning documentary Change Comes Knocking that presents the fascinating and tumultuous story of the bi-racial anti-poverty organization, called the North Carolina Fund that boldly confronted the explosive issues of race, class and politics during the turbulent 1960s.

For the past 25 years, Video Dialog Inc, has been creating award winning films to help teach and inspire. Our core belief is that history matters, from the past we can better understand where we are today and work toward creating a better future. Coming off the National PBS Broadcast of our documentary film, February One - The Story of the Greensboro Four about the Civil Rights Sit - Ins that changed public accommodation laws across the South, Bob Korstad and Jim Leloudis approached us about producing a film about the North Carolina Fund. In February One we addressed overt racism like segregated lunch counters; in telling the story of the North Carolina Fund we had the opportunity to tackle the more insidious inequality that still continues today; economic and educational disparities.

When we began to do research for the film, we were struck by the audacious vision of Governor Terry Sanford, and Fund Director George Esser in their attempt to break the cycle of poverty that afflicted so many North Carolinians. To tell the story of the Fund, we were lucky enough to interview many of the individuals who worked so tirelessly in the face of serious opposition to create real change in North Carolina. We spent many hours with George Esser and Billy Barnes, the former director of Pubic Information for the Fund, who painted a vivid picture of the landscape they faced across the state in the 1960s. The Fund's door to door approach of empowering poor people ruffled the feathers of the establishment who were quite comfortable with the racial and class divisions that made up the status quo. Producer Rebecca Cerese and her crew followed the path of the Fund workers throughout North Carolina, from the mountains, to the Black Belt in the Northeast to find and interview the individuals who made up the organizations that helped so many people across the state. We also talked to some of the North Carolina Volunteers, who worked as college students during the summers of 1964 and 1965 in various ways to improve the lives of low income families. The story of the North Carolina Fund is as rich and diverse as the people that shared in its creation.

Billy Barnes took thousands of photographs which document the story of the North Carolina Fund, and the communities it reached out to and helped. The documentary features these archival images, as well as excerpts from Fund produced promotional films to present an authentic visual palette of North Carolina during this critical period of time.

Change Comes Knocking won Best Documentary film at the Appalachian Film Festival in 2008.