Alana Marie, 2018 RAC Artist Support Grant Recipient: “Filmmaker Focuses Her Lens on a Disappearing City”

May 29, 2019

Categories Impact Stories

Alana Marie is shedding light on the nearly forgotten city of Kinloch with the help of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis’ Artist Support Grant

Photo of Alana Marie

Alana Marie, Director/Producer of “The Kinloch Doc” and 2018 RAC Artist Support Grant recipient

Alana Marie was confronted with many challenges when she first started her filmmaking journey. Aside from having no filmmaking experience, she was a single working mom, balancing her home life and career with a desire to pursue a new creative passion. As a Black woman focused on social and economic empowerment, she found herself compelled to tell the story of the once-thriving Kinloch, Missouri’s first Black city, which was teetering on the brink of nonexistence.

Alana first applied for a twice-yearly Artist Support Grant from the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC) in 2017, where she looked to secure funding to aid the development of a short film, “The Kinloch Doc.” Because of RAC’s competitive grant process, Alana ultimately did not make the cut to receive funding that year.

Undeterred, Alana took advantage of RAC’s resources and free grant-writing workshops to make her submission more competitive. In 2018, her application earned an Artist Support grant from RAC.

Alana credits this grant as pivotal to the start of her journey, saying she would not have been able to create the influential short film without the funding.

“If I can get support regionally and locally, and if people in my own backyard can see the value in my work, it affirms that I am doing something right, that my work has value and that I can go on to do greater things because I got that support,” she said.

“The Kinloch Doc” has been screened in four film festivals including the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase and the St. Louis International Film Festival. While producing the short film, Alana uncovered a lost tradition in which the city would commemorate the anniversary of its establishment with a citywide celebration. She worked with city leaders to revive the tradition, helping re-instill a sense of pride in Kinloch.
“The Kinloch Doc” is currently in the next phase of development as a full-length feature documentary scheduled to be completed in late 2019.

Alana’s growth from the film continues and has instilled confidence in her ability to produce high-quality art to better the community around her. Her mission, she says, is to mobilize the nation, one abandoned community at a time.

Through the eyes of former and current residents, local officials, and scholars, the “Kinloch Doc” tells the story about the rise and demise of Missouri’s first Black city, Kinloch.

Filming of a Black woman interviewing a an older, Black male in a living room.

Alana Marie interviews former Kinloch business owner Harold Gaskin about Kinloch’s rich history.

A behind-the-camera shot of a Black man being interviewed.

Former Kinloch resident and owner of Franchise Hair Gallery, Keri Gilyard, discusses the hardships of owning a business in Kinloch.