Jones Accepts 2024 Peter C. Rollins & Susan W. Rollins Award for Best Documentary Film

Ringo Jones accepting award for Training for Freedom Documentary.
Ringo Jones

Ringo Jones accepting award for Training for Freedom Documentary.

The documentary Training for Freedom received the 2024 Peter C. Rollins & Susan W. Rollins Award for Best Documentary Film from the Popular Culture Association this past Friday. Ringo Jones, assistant professor of communication, served as producer and sound designer for the project. Jones accepted the award on behalf of the Training for Freedom team.

Training for Freedom portrays idealistic college students and Black activists who came together in Oxford, Ohio, in 1964 to find their humanity and the common ground to fight as one. This documentary weaves their stories with critical historical analysis. It explores how people from dramatically different worlds broke down barriers of race, class and gender to organize the most comprehensive campaign of the Civil Rights movement.

The project started in 2014 and has been shown in film festivals since 2020. In 2022, the documentary was broadcast nationally by PBS and continues to stream for free.

"I am honored to accept this award in recognition of the hard work of my colleagues and crew," Jones said. "This is the 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer, and it's important to recognize and celebrate the Freedom Summer volunteers. Their story and courage continue to resonate six decades later. This story reminds us to stay vigilant and be prepared to speak out about our civil rights and suffrage."

Jones' research interests include music streaming, interactive storytelling and virtual/augmented reality. Jones' documentaries and interactive stories screen on PBS stations around the world, film and music festivals, museums and conferences.

This award honors Peter and Susan Rollins who worked for many years in the nexus between popular culture, film and history. Submissions for this award include documentaries in popular and American culture. The winning documentary should engage with a social or cultural topic that is relevant to the focus of the Popular Culture Association and make a high quality contribution to our understanding of popular or American culture. It should firmly situate popular culture in wider social systems, demonstating the interconnections and relevance to society.

Founded in 1971 by Ray and Pat Browne, the Popular Culture Association is devoted to the study of popular culture. The PCA National Conference will be attended by thousands of scholars from around the world to share and discuss popular culture in a number of venues: panel presentations, roundtables, special sessions, film screenings, local tours and keynote speaker events. Recent keynote speakers have included Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen and John Dykstra.


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