Macky Alston Collection

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Collection Details

Collection Dates: 1987 – 2012
Scope and Content Note: Production elements from Macky Alston's feature-length and short documentaries and incidental family films and compilations based on his grandmother's home movies.
Biographical Note:

Macky Alston is a child of the South. Born in Auburn, Alabama, his mother was raised in Monroe, Georgia and his father in Decatur. Each of their families have lived in Georgia for generations. Alston's grandfather, Wallace McPherson Alston, III, for whom Macky is named, was president of Agnes Scott College for 25 years. The family movies of his maternal grandmother, Cookie Sanders, are also housed in Brown Media. Alston's 6th-great grandfather on his mother's side, Billington McCarty Sanders, was the founding president of Mercer University. Alston is currently committed to healing and repair as a descendent of colonizers and enslavers in Greene County, Georgia, where his mother's family's history is rooted, and serves as a board member of the Greene County African American Museum in Greensboro.


As of 2022, when he donated his collection to Brown Media, he was co-directing and producing ACTS OF REPARATION, a documentary feature and impact campaign following grassroots reparations initiatives aimed at healing historic injury caused by slavery and the Native American genocide across the US. Alston most recently produced and directed LOVE FREE OR DIE which premiered and won the Special Jury Prize for an Agent of Change at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and aired nationally on PBS' Independent Lens. Alston’s first film, FAMILY NAME, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997 where it won the Freedom of Expression Award and later aired on PBS’ POV. Since then he has produced and directed QUESTIONING FAITH (premiered Full Frame & Hot Docs International Film Festivals, aired HBO/Cinemax 2002),THE KILLER WITHIN (premiered Toronto International Film Festival 2006, aired Discovery Times 2007), and HARD ROAD HOME (premiered South by Southwest 2007, aired PBS’ Independent Lens 2008). Alston’s awards include the Gotham Open Palm Award and Emmy nominations for three of his films. He has appeared in press around the world, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, and The New York Times


Alston founded and directed Auburn Media, a program of Auburn Seminary that equipped more than 10,000 leaders of faith and moral courage to speak out for justice through the media. With Sarah Masters, he founded the Hartley Media Impact Initiative at Auburn Seminary, designed to equip communities of faith with documentary content that can help them advance justice. Previously, Alston served as Executive Director of the Hartley Film Foundation, a granting organization supporting documentaries on faith and justice.


Audio: 1 audiocassette. 2 ½” audiotape; 2 CD-Audio; 28 CD-R

Moving image: 18 16mm; 1 hi8; 15 super8; 7 betacam; 46 betacamSP; 23 digi-beta; 1 1” video; 3 u-matic; 35 VHS; 1 D2; 2 DTRS; 124 DAT; 481 miniDV; 205 DVCamSony; 63 DVD-R; 37 floppy discs

Provenance: Donated by Macky Alston.

Objects in the collection