August Wilson documentary is nearing completion

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Two documentary programs took center stage at Thursday's quarterly WQED Multimedia board meeting.

"August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand" is nearing completion. A joint project of the station and the PBS "American Masters" series, the final cut will be edited in Pittsburgh in the next couple of weeks for delivery to the network by summer, said Deborah Acklin, CEO and president of WQED Multimedia.

An air date has not been set.

Darryl Ford Williams, vice president of content and executive producer for the 90-minute film, said two songs have been recorded by musician Wynton Marsalis.

She added that at the end of the celebrated playwright's funeral at Oakland's Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in 2005, Mr. Marsalis played a mournful trumpet version of "Danny Boy."

"But then all of a sudden he started on [an upbeat jazz tune], and those sobby, sobby hankies were being twirled around."

There were a few tears at the meeting when David Solomon, writer and producer of "Portraits for the Home Front: The Story of Elizabeth Black," introduced the daughter of one of its participants, Patty Rebholz of Marshall.

Her father, Edward Mille, had his portrait drawn in France; nearly 1,000 American servicemen and women had portraits drawn by the Pittsburgh artist during World War II. Although most of Black's sketches were sent to the subjects' homes, there remains a trove of about 70 sketches whose subjects could not be located.

Mrs. Rebholz said she read a Post-Gazette story about the documentary and contacted Mr. Solomon. She owned one of the drawings.

"Our dad died in 1970, and growing up, we knew we had this portrait but didn't know the story behind it."

Amateur genealogists across the country have been in touch to help locate the families of the remaining serviceman. Photos are posted at www.wqed.org/elizabethblack.

The documentary has been picked up for national distribution by American Public Television and could be available to air in other markets as early as April.

In other programming notes, WQED announced it is adding to its online content with webisodes of "What's Rick Sebak Been Doing Lately?" as well as more "Pittsburgh Innovators Project" episodes.


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