Thursday, March 20, 2008

Narragansetts tell their Stories in Stone


From the rhythmic chink of a chisel on granite to the twittering flute over the placid landscape, Stories in Stone casts a mystical enchantment right from the beginning. What follows for the next 26 minutes measures up to – even exceeds – expectations set by the opening.

Stories in Stone is an engaging film about the Narragansett tribal stone masons who, over the last four hundred years, have built many stone walls that wind picturesquely
through the woods of southern New England. Interspersing footage that elegantly captures the beauty of the walls with interviews with tribal elders and members of two prominent Narragansett mason families, producers / directors / writers Marc Levitt and Lilach Dekel weave a story that is both poetic and inspirational. In the photo is Russel Spears, one of South County's master stone masons.

Filmed in both video and film, Stories in Stone uses scenic footage and original music to express both the traditional and contemporary aspects of this craft. With no central narrator, Stories in Stone allows the Narragansett to tell their own story.

Stories in Stone began filming in 2002 as a result of Marc Levitt’s enduring interest in stone walls of southern New England. Marc first wrote a story about a stone wall mason in 1983. He conducted oral histories with stone masons at a local storytelling festival in 1986. He worked on a joint photographic/oral history project about the masons of South County, Rhode Island, in 2000 with photographer Mathias Oppersdorff. Now, Marc shares with a wider audience his interest and passion for the walls and their builders.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS will air the half-hour Stories in Stone on Wednesday, April 2 at 8 P.M.