THE HISTORY OF WHITE PEOPLE IN AMERICA is a series of 16 animated, musical shorts that reveal the history of race in America — from the 17th century to the 21st.
What color are you? Maybe the most important question in American history. When 60 Africans were taken to Jamestown, Virginia aboard a pirate ship in 1619, they were not “black.” The English there were not “white” and the indigenous peoples were not “red.” Race as we know it had not yet been invented. This is the story of how skin became color, color became race and race became power.
HOW WHITE BECAME AMERICAN
With the generous support of ITVS, we have produced the first three episodes of The History of White People. The first episode had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. The third episode premiered at the 2019 Tribeca festival. The team is currently seeking funding for the remaining 13 episodes.
The invention of skin-based racial categories in colonial Jamestown after an uprising of poor Africans and English.
AN AMERICAN FAMILY
The story of how “interracial” love was made a crime.
THESE AMERICAN TRUTHS
The story of Sally Hemings and the man who both owned her and fathered her children, Thomas Jefferson.
Each episode tells a crucial moment in the invention and building of race — from colonial Jamestown to the present.
1. INVENTING WHITE (1670s)
2. THE AMERICAN FAMILY (1700s)
3. A NATION BORN IN RED (1770s)
4. AM I AMERICAN? (1790s)
5. THESE AMERICAN TRUTHS (1820s)
6. THE SKIN WARS (1860-70s)
7. HOW THE WEST WAS COLORIZED (1890s)
8. THE ORDER OF THE CAUCASIANS (1900s)
9. NO EVIDENCE SHE WAS WHITE (1920s)
10. THE RACE OF THE NEW DEAL (1930s)
11. THE GREAT WHITE BALLOON (1940-50s)
12. COLOR OF CIVIL RIGHTS JESUS (1960s)
13. HEAR THE DOG WHISTLE? (1980s)
14. THE BATTLE OF THE 63 HYPHENS (2000s)
15. WHY ISN’T OBAMA WHITE? (2010s)
16. IS EVERYONE NOT BLACK WHITE? (Now)
The series is a collaboration between filmmakers, animators and musicians. We are directing the series together Additional responsibilities are listed below.
LESLIE ARVIO Animation producer
An industry veteran, Leslie started her career in animation as a traditional ink and paint artist in 1990, and moved on to production management and producing. As a producer, Leslie’s work includes commercials, games, pilots, series, and feature film sequences, ranging from stop motion to 2D and 3D animation production and VFX. Having worked with studios such as Colossal Pictures, Industrial Light and Magic, Skellington Productions, Wild Brain, Giant Killer Robot, Carl’s Fine Films, and LeapFrog Enterprises, many of Leslie’s projects have received top star ratings and have won highly acclaimed industry awards.
ED BELL Animator
Ed career has covered a lot of ground. He is a filmmaker, director, animation artist, and modern day griot. Prior to joining Maverix, he was a key member of Wild Brain directing team. While there he was a lead commercial director, as well as helped to develop numerous television and film projects for the studio. For Wild Brain’s commercial division, Ed’s unique hip-hop/ anime style can be seen in inspired commercial campaigns for clients such as Coca-Cola, Sony, Nike, Target and Wrigley’s Winterfresh Gum with the acclaimed Urban Hip Hopper spot. Ed was also a contributing director (Tar Beach segment) on HBO’s Good Night Moon & Other Sleepytime Tales, which garnered the 1999-2000 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program.
CLEMENTINE BRIAND, Producer
Clementine worked in Paris, France for four years at a commercial production company, working with brands such as Coca-Cola, IBM, L’Oreal, RadioShack, and McKinsey & Co. She worked across various mediums from corporate videos to television (CNN, BBC), and film. Her work took her throughout Europe and the United States, as well as in Georgia, China, Mongolia, Israel, and Libya. Clementine moved back to the United States to pursue a career in the documentary and film industry, most recently helping to deliver quality short form documentary content for the Emmy award winning organization ITVS.
PIERCE FREELON Writer, singer, composer
Pierce is an Emmy-Award winning producer, an arts-activist, a professor of Black Studies and a Millennial politician. In 2017 Pierce ran for Mayor of his hometown, Durham, NC. In Durham, Pierce founded a digital makerspace called Blackspace. He is the co-founder of Beat Making Lab, an Emmy-Award winning PBS web-series, which has taken him from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to making beats with environmentalist Jane Goodall. He is the leader of a jazz and hip-hop band called The Beast. Pierce earned a BA in African and African American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in Pan African Studies at Syracuse University. He has taught music, political science, and African American studies at both UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. Pierce lives in Durham with his wife and their two children.
JON HALPERIN Producer, writer
Jon is an Emmy Award-winning director, writer and producer. He has produced, directed written and overseen documentaries for Amazon, PBS, National Geographic, Time, Inc., ITVS, TED, TechTV, Discovery, and for digital and theatrical distribution. In 2012, Halperin founded Room 608, with Mark Mannucci, a new media and documentary production company based in New York. Halperin and Mannucci most recently executive producers of the Amazon series Lore, a hybrid fiction/documentary series for Propagate Content and Valhalla Entertainment as well as the HHMI series I Contain Multitudes for PBS Digital. He won an Emmy for Best Science and Technology film in 2017 for A Year in Space and for Best Investigative Documentary in 2009 for Gorilla Murders.
AARON KEANE Composer
Aaron has been working in the audio industry for nearly 25 years. He started as a musician and recording engineer in the studios of New York City. He has worked with a diverse group of musical artists including, Mos Def, Pharcyde and Shawn Colvin. For the past 13 years, he has been composing music for TV, film and digital media with Trailblazer Studios in North Carolina. Recent credits include music composition for Emmy Award winning PBS series Twice Born and two short films for TED Science and Wonder. Other credits include scores for Discovery, HBO, NatGeo, and Amazon.
DREW TAKAHASHI Animator, editor
Drew is presently the Emperor of Funjacket Enterprises. Previously he was co- founder and Chief Creative Oﬃcer of (Colossal) Pictures). Using any and all techniques in film and video, he directed or creative directed broadcast identities (MTV, Showtime, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon), commercials (Coca-Cola, Intel, Nike, Honda and Levi’s) music videos (Bobby McFerrin, Prince, Joe Cocker, Kronos Quartet) and interfaces (Apple, Americast, Nuvana, Microsoft). At Funjacket, Drew continues to design and direct an even more diverse range of projects including naming and identities (Laika Entertainment, House Special, Nuvana), corporate communications (Apple, Intel, Mozilla, Inkling), games (CPB, Nike Foundation, Stanford D School, Alameda Probation Department) and animated portions of documentaries (National Geographic, NRDC, Sea Studios, Actual Pictures, Room 608). Drew lives with his wife and two of four of his children in San Mateo, CA. He has one dog. His cat died.