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Dr. Frierson, Fred Chappell, and company
Dr. Frierson with Fred Chappell
Dr. Frierson (third from left) with the production team of the film, “Fred Chappell: I Am One of You Forever”

Media Studies Professor Dr. Michael Frierson has fond memories of regularly seeing Fred Chappell at the Pickwick bar back in the 1970s while he was still an undergraduate student at UNC Greensboro.

About half a century later, he is introducing more people to the renowned author and poet who left a profound impact on UNCG.

“Fred Chappell: I Am One of You Forever” will air at the 2022 RiverRun International Film Festival in Greensboro. Two live showings are scheduled. The first is on Sunday, April 24, at 4:30 p.m. at the Hanesbrands Theatre. The second is on Tuesday, April 26, at 5:30 p.m. at Red Cinemas.

A virtual showing begins at midnight on Wednesday, April 27.

Watch the trailer here:

Fred Chappell named North Carolina Poet Laureate in 1997
Fred Chappell named NC Poet Laureate in 1997 (Courtesy: Fred Chappell: I Am One of You Forever)

Chappell worked at UNCG for more than 40 years and started one of the first graduate creative writing programs in the nation. He received the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest faculty honor awarded by the UNC Board of Governors. He wrote more than 30 works, ranging from criticism to fiction to poetry. He was named North Carolina poet laureate from 1997 until 2002.

“Fred and that program have helped to make North Carolina an important place for writers, and his students have spread out all across the country,” says Dr. Frierson.

He first started thinking about making a documentary on Chappell in 1993, after hearing him read his poetry at UNCG’s Alumni House. The film’s audience can share a similar experience listening to Chappell read some of his work.

Chappell as a child with his grandmother
Chappell as a child with his grandmother (Courtesy: Fred Chappell: I Am One of You Forever)

“You’ll get to see this remarkable, humble, funny person who was really instrumental in shaping where we are today,” says Dr. Frierson.

One of his most interesting experiences during the production was learning about Chappell’s childhood in Canton, NC. “It’s a lot of history that I knew very little about. Whenever you make one of these, you inevitably learn a lot about history. And when you start to understand where somebody came from, then you can understand and appreciate their art so much more. So, I hope that comes through in the film.”

Tickets to the showings can be bought here.

Story by Janet Imrick, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications, and courtesy of Dr. Michael Frierson

 
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