Francis Scott Key
John L. Shortt
John Leonard Harris, Sr.
John J. Dermott
Joseph H. Bradley
Roger B. Taney
Ann Key Taney
Constable H. B. Robertson
Constable Madison Jeffers
Judge William Cranch
Tony A. Grizzel
Slave Trader #1
White Male Nurse #2
Zahir Hill Jr.
Daniel Bell Jr.
Mary Ellen Bell
Executive Producer, Supervising Producer, Post-Production Supervisor, Lead VFX Artist
Michael Burton is a digital artist, film director, and animation producer. Burton combines art, film, and animation to create historically based stories. He has produced several hybrid-animation shorts including Gold Slipper by Willa Cather (2020), Anna (2018), and Freedom Stories (2022). Burton produced and animated the feature film The Bell Affair (2022). Burton's digital artwork has been featured across the country and in solo exhibitions at the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska, the Denver Art Museum, RISD Art Museum, Joslyn Art Museum, Digital Graffiti in Alys Beach, Florida, and the Sheldon Art Museum. Burton's recent solo exhibition of digital art and NFTs titled Dance Floor of the Sky was hosted at Kiechel Fine Art and featured a multi-channel projection room with a gallery of printed digital paintings. Burton has completed animations for a PBS documentary titled On a Knife's Edge, which premiered on America ReFramed in 2017. His projects were funded by The National Endowment for the Humanities, Maryland Humanities, ITVS, NET television, The Willa Cather Foundation, and Vision Maker Media. Burton and the Animating History Team have screened their films at the New Media Film Festival (Best Animation), Atlantic Selects, Utopia, Hampton, BronzeLens, HipHop, and Virginia Film Festivals. From 2016-2019, Burton served as Director of the Cube Art Project, a biannual juried international digital art competition hosted by the City of Lincoln (Nebraska). He is currently the director of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery and an Assistant Professor of Foundation Art and Design at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2007 and B.F.A. from Green Mountain College in 2000.
Kwakiutl L. Dreher
Executive Producer, Director, Writer
Kwakiutl L. Dreher is a screenwriter, actor, director, playwright, and author. A native of South Carolina, she writes about African American literature, film, visual, and popular culture. She is the author of Dancing on the White Page: Black Women Entertainers Writing Autobiography (SUNY Press) and numerous articles and essays. Dreher wrote and acted in Anna (2018). She has also played Mamie Till in Anne & Emmett, Mrs. Harriet Gottlieb in Dead Man's Cellphone, and Louise in the film The Eyes of Isabelle. Her one-woman show, In A Smoke-Filled Room, Color Matters, was a playlab selection at the Great Plains Theater Festival in 2013 after its theatrical debut at The Haymarket Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska. A storyteller at heart, she has written and recorded stories for public radio. Dreher is currently at work on a murder mystery set in her hometown, Columbia, South Carolina. She is an Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Nebraska.
William G. Thomas III
Executive Producer, Director, Writer
William G. Thomas III is an award-winning historian, author, and film producer. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, he writes about American history, law, slavery, and the Civil War. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Lincoln Prize Finalist. His recent book, A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation's Founding to the Civil War (Yale University Press, 2020), won the 2021 Mark Lynton Prize. A digital media historian, Thomas was co-editor of the acclaimed digital project, The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War. He has published essays in the American Historical Review, Civil War History, Southern Spaces, Lapham's Quarterly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Thomas has written and produced documentary films since 1999. He co-wrote with George H. Gilliam "The Ground Beneath Our Feet: Virginia's History Since the Civil War," a series of four documentary films that aired from 1999-2004 on PBS stations in Virginia (WCVE). The hour-long episode "Massive Resistance" in 2000 was an Emmy nominated film for the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Television National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He co-produced Rising Up: a documentary on the Civil Rights era (2008) with Bill Reifenberger for WCVE Richmond, an hour-long documentary about the Civil Rights Movement in Virginia. Rising Up aired in February 2008 on WCVE and over 20 stations through the National Education Television PBS affiliates.
- Kaci Nash Story, Historical Research, Website Development
- Elijah Watson Line Producer
- Ben Hartzell Director of Photography
- Heather Striebel Lead Costume Designer
- Audrey Foster, Anna Kuhlman Costume Design
- Jordan Scribner Animation Head
- Sirrena Infiniti Holmes 3D Modeler
- Warren Bable Assistant Editor
- Mackenzie Grell Production Coordinator
- Maya Peirce Script Supervisor
- Ed Baptist Cornell University
- Mary Beth Corrigan Georgetown University
- Aaron Johnson University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Jessica Marie Johnson Johns Hopkins University
- Ari Kelman University of California Davis
- Tamika Nunley Oberlin College
- Marcus Rediker University of Pittsburgh
- Adam Rothman Georgetown University
- Kidada E. Williams Wayne State University
- Film production by Western Meadowlark LLC
- Background production funded by the Maryland Humanities Council
- Major support by the National Endowment for the Humanities