Also Showing on TPC

TPC is presenting Anytown, USA: A documentary short film series profiling small towns in North Carolina, a series of programs created by Randolph Benson and produced by Critical Focus Pictures in collaboration with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

This week’s programs, airing Thursday, February 20 at 8 and 8:30 pm, will feature the following stories:

  • 24 / 242 by Patrick Nichols. New roads have the potential for a big impact on a small community. This film explores a highway reconstruction project in Roseboro and the attempts to ensure that the new road benefits the town as much as possible. More work by Patrick Nichols.
  • A Journey Of Joy, by Brenda Jamerson. Albert McClain is one of the oldest African-American residents of Siler City. He was born at a time when there were no formal streets in the city, and the folks in town knew everyone by name. While he has seen Siler City change tremendously over time, in his experience, one thing has stayed the same: The joy of relating to people without prejudice. This is the story of one man’s remarkable view of life in a small town in the rural South. Brenda is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University.


On February 27 at 8 and 8:30 pm, TPC is featuring the following Anytown stories:

  • Sustaining Liberty by Christine Ryan Harland. Steve Tate of the Goat Lady Dairy made a choice to grow his business, honoring his sister’s legacy, at a point when others might have chosen to wind it down. His ethos of sustainability drives innovation and growth, and ensures that his land, animals, and employees are well taken care of.
  • Alt Arms by David Puckett. In 2005, Tom Alt retired from the Air Force in search of a new purpose. His journey led him from Oregon to the quiet woods of Mt. Gilead, where he began a career as a gunsmith. Along the way, he discovered the joys of craftsmanship, mentorship, and community. David Puckett is a Producer / Director / Editor at Horizon Productions.

Anytown USA is an annual filmmaking production and editing course, created and taught by Randolph Benson. Each year one small town is featured, and student filmmakers each tell a story of their choice within the town. Together, the short films form a nuanced, intimate portrait of local communities as they struggle to survive.

What is Anytown USA? Series promo video.

Towns featured to-date

  • Pittsboro, Spring 2006
  • Bladenboro, Spring 2008
  • Smithfield, Spring 2010
  • Star, Spring 2012
  • Scotland Neck, Spring 2013
  • Liberty, Spring 2014
  • Robbins, Spring 2015
  • Roseboro, Spring 2016
  • Siler City, Spring 2017
  • Mt. Gilead, Spring 2018

Mt. Gilead, NC was the featured town in 2018

About Randolph Benson

Randolph Benson

Randolph Benson’s work has garnered numerous awards, most notably an Academy Award for Best Student Documentary at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Academy Awards. Benson received an Eastman Kodak Excellence in Filmmaking Award at the Cannes Film Festival and a First Appearance Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. He has been an instructor of film and video at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for over a decade, and he serves on Award Juries at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (Durham, NC, USA), the Boone (NC) Film Festival, and the Let’s All Be Free Film Festival (London, UK). Benson also serves on the executive board of the Center for Deep Policy Research.

About the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is dedicated to documentary expression and its role in creating a more just society. A nonprofit affiliate of Duke University, CDS teaches, produces, and presents the documentary arts across a full range of media—photography, audio, film, writing, experimental and new media—for students and audiences of all ages.

For more information about CDS, visit the CDS website.

About Critical Focus Pictures

For more information, see the Critical Focus Pictures website.

Critical Focus Pictures uses the power of documentary film to tell the unique and personal stories of people and organizations. Critical Focus Pictures was founded by award-winning producer Randolph Benson, who is also a director, cinematographer, and editor. The Critical Focus Pictures team includes producers John Schoenfelt and Rachel Baer.