*The 11th annual Maryland International Film Fest – Hagerstown (MDIFF) selects the short documentary “1872 Forward: Foreword“ to screen March 25, 2023, at 10:15amEST in the Grande Building (2nd floor) at University Systems of Maryland. The 1872 Forward: Foreword documentary was produced by the More Than a Fraction Foundation and Wesby One Productions.
It follows the Merry Tree Memorial event, a project of the More Than a Fraction Foundation, held at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) for their 1872 Forward: Celebrating Virginia Tech event held in 2022. The Merry Tree Memorial was part of the many events held between March 24 – 26 to celebrate the 250-year history of the learning institutions.
The over 300-year-old Merry Tree was a location where those enslaved gathered on the grounds of what is now known as Virginia Tech, and even now when only its trunk is left after the tree fell from a windstorm in 2020. The Maryland-based More Than a Fraction Foundation financed the production of the short film through a grant by the Virginia Humanities to document the memorialization of the Merry Tree.
The Merry Tree Memorial, and Virginia Tech’s 1872 Forward: Celebrating Virginia Tech events were financed with grants awarded to the More Than a Fraction Foundation from the Virginia Humanities and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
The MDIFF is to be held at various venues in downtown Hagerstown, Maryland from March 23 – 26, 2023, at such places as The Maryland Theatre, University Systems of Maryland Grande Building 2nd Floor, and the WashCo Free Library Community Room. It will screen over 100 film projects. The MDIFF will grant seven awards for Outstanding Best Feature, Outstanding Best Short, Outstanding Best Animation, Outstanding Best Student, Outstanding Best Documentary, Outstanding Best Local Film and Outstanding Best Foreign Film.
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Wesby One Productions, headed by John Wesby also an executive producer at BET Network, filmed and produced the short, with John acting as director. The More Than A Fraction Foundation executively produced the documentary.
The MTAFF is named after the creative non-fiction book “More Than a Fraction: Based on a True Story” by Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs, the executive director of the More Than A Fraction Foundation. She discovered that her ancestors were enslaved on the grounds of Virginia Tech when it was called The Smithfield Plantation and owned by the Preston family.
Impressed with her research and connection to the grounds of the institution she was invited to be a member of the Board of Directors for the Smithfield-Preston Foundation which oversees the Smithfield estate grounds. Dr. Moseley-Hobbs has been serving on the board since 2015 helping to highlight the lives of enslaved Africans and displaced Indigenous peoples. years.
Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs has over 30-year in education (administration, research, and program development). She is one of the leading lecturers on the history of Africans in America and African-Americans from the Appalachian region since the 18th Century. She is a fifth-generation descendant of Thomas Fraction, the main subject in her creative nonfiction book “More Than a Fraction.”
(Photo Credits: Top: Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs walking by the Merry Tree during the 1872 Forward event, Wesby One credit. Attendees at the 1872 Forward event listening to a lecture by Dr. Moseley-Hobbs, credit Wesby One Productions. The cover of the short documentary 1872 Forward: Foreword, credit Wesby One Productions.)
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Contact: Eunice Moseley
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