Seagrass, oysters, houses built on stilts, Cadillacs, and rice are some of the key elements of Georgetown, South Carolina, a site of pride and deeply rooted trauma where the waters lead to origins. Filmmaker Jon-Sesrie Goff employs a multitude of filmic languages while drawing on generations of family history punctuated by tragedy to question what makes Georgetown a home. Years of spatial tension and racist laws have plagued residents of this coastal region along with skirmishes around Gullah cultural retention and land reclamation. The film acts as an ongoing conversation with Goff’s father, Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff, who became the interim pastor at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church following the horrific tragedy in 2015. After Sherman depicts a paradigm of endowment and the rigidity that defines our collective American history.
Jon-Sesrie Goff is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and arts administrator. With extensive experience in media and film production, Jon has offered his lens to a variety of projects spanning many genres including the recently released and award-winning documentaries, including Out in the Night (POV, Logo 2015), Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens 2015) and Spit on the Broom (2019), among several other projects. He is in production for his feature-length documentary, After Sherman, which has received support from JustFilms, Firelight Media, International Documentary Association, Black Public Media, Jerome Foundation, Gucci/Tribeca Film Institute, and the Sundance Institute.
Previously, Jon served as Executive Director of the Flaherty Film Seminar and the Museum Specialist for Film at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture where he was responsible for developing the museum’s public film program. His personal practice has involved extensive institutional, community, and personal archival research, photo, and film documentation, and oral history interviews in the coastal South on the legacy of Black land ownership and Gullah Geechee heritage preservation. Jon engages with his work from the paradigm of a social change instigator. This is evidenced in his participation in the dimensionality of discourse in multicultural communities both within the United States and overseas. He has taught courses in photography, social justice documentary, and film production – at Duke University (Durham, NC), Villanova University (Villanova, PA), and Westchester University (Westchester, PA).