Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, the first feature documentary about Lorraine Hansberry is a 14-year collaboration between Tracy Heather Strain, Chiz Schultz and Randall MacLowry. The trio, through their companies, run Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project, LLC.
TRACY HEATHER STRAIN
(Producer, Director, Writer)
Tracy is an award-winning documentary filmmaker committed to using film, video and interactive technology to reveal the ways that race, ethnicity, gender and class work to shape lives. Since 1986 Strain has worked on numerous documentaries for PBS as well as videos for museums, schools and nonprofits. She is president and CEO of Boston-based media company The Film Posse, which she runs with her husband Randall MacLowry.
Strain produced the festival favorite documentary Adrift: Lost on the Road of Expectations (2002) and wrote and directed the notable episode “Building the Alaska Highway” (2005) for the long-running PBS series American Experience. She also wrote and directed “The Story We Tell,” an installment of Race: The Power of an Illusion a three-part documentary that aired on PBS in 2003.
Strain’s most recently broadcast documentaries for American Experience are “The Mine Wars” and “The Battle of Chosin,” serving as coordinating producer on both. The first tells the story of West Virginia coal miners’ uprisings in the early 20th century; the other revisits a pivotal 1950 Korean War battle, the first major military clash of the Cold War.
Previously, Strain directed and produced episodes of two award-winning documentary miniseries: Unnatural Causes (2008), winner of the duPont-Columbia Award, and I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African-American Arts (1999), a Peabody Award winner. She was also associate producer of one episode of the 1993 series The Great Depression, a nominee for the Television Critics Association (TCA) Award for Best Program of the Year. Each of these projects aired on PBS.
Strain worked as an art department coordinator on Mira Nair’s 1991 feature Mississippi Masala, starring Denzel Washington. She began her career as a production secretary at The Chedd-Angier Production Company in Watertown, Massachusetts, which produced science, nature and technology-focused public television episodes.
A graduate of Wellesley College, Strain received her master of education degree (technology, innovation and education) from Harvard. She is now a professor of the practice at Northeastern University in Boston, where she teaches documentary production part-time. When Strain isn’t working she can usually be found on the tennis court or at the gym.
Randall is an Emmy® nominee and two-time WGA Award winner who works primarily in the television arena. A director, writer, producer and editor with over 25 years of experience, he crafts documentary stories that connect society’s large historical and cultural narratives with individual life journeys. Much of MacLowry’s work has been for the PBS series American Experience, most recently “The Battle of Chosin” and “The Mine Wars.” He directed and produced both episodes, which aired in 2016.
MacLowry earned an Emmy® nomination in 2012 (Outstanding Science and Technology Programming) for his work on the long-running PBS series Nova. He won WGA Awards for co-writing the 2013 Nova episode “The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time,” which he also directed and produced, and the 2014 American Experience PBS episode “Silicon Valley.”
Since 2001 MacLowry has produced eight episodes of American Experience, directed six, written or-co-written four, and edited four episodes of this award-winning PBS series. He also edited an installment of Race: The Power of Illusion, a three-part documentary that aired on PBS in 2003. Other editing credits include the 2013 short film The Man Who Stole the Moon, 2011 Frontline episode “The Silence” and Gaining Ground: Building Community on Dudley Street, an hour-long documentary released in 2012. He also co-produced one episode of the 2008 documentary miniseries Unnatural Causes and directed the 1998 short film Head Over Heels.
MacLowry attended Wesleyan University, where he studied under influential film scholar Jeanine Basinger and has more recently served as a visiting instructor advising film studies students on their thesis projects.
Chiz has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in film and television. He is a two-time Emmy® nominee who has collaborated with filmmakers such as Spike Lee, Norman Jewison, Hal Ashby, Bill Duke and Sidney Poitier. Most recently, he co-produced Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015), a contemporary version of Bill Gunn’s landmark 1972 film Ganja & Hess, on which Schultz served as producer. He was an executive producer on Jewison’s A Soldier’s Story (1984), which netted three Academy Award nominations including Best Picture.
In 1971 Schultz was Emmy® nominated for producing Harry and Lena, an ABC musical special starring Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. He was nominated again for “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” a 1978 episode of PBS’ Once Upon a Classic series. Schultz won a 1988 ACE Award (Best Documentary Series) as a senior producer on TLC’s Ordinary People. He had been nominated twice previously, for 1985 episodes of PBS’ The Independents. In 1993 he shared in a CableACE Award nomination for the TLC telefilm One More Spring.
Schultz serves as an executive producer on My Father’s Secret War, based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lucinda Franks. Now in development, the film has Kiefer and Donald Sutherland attached to star.
Previously, Schultz produced the award-winning 1989 American Playhouse production of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Bill Duke. He also produced the Showtime movie Walter and Henry, which received a 2002 Emmy® nomination, and the American Masters documentary “Paul Robeson: Here I Stand.” Schultz’s other small-screen credits include the telefilms Too Far to Go, Seize the Day and The House of Dies Drear. He has produced a number of documentaries, including PBS projects Goin’ to Chicago, Dancers in May and Part of the Family. Schultz also developed and produced the first season of the long-running series National Geographic Explorer.
Schultz’s other film credits include Geoffrey Sharp’s Slings & Arrows, Philip Fenty’s The Baron, Jan Kadar’s The Angel Levine, Sidney Poitier’s Buck and the Preacher and Hal Ashby’s The Landlord.
Early in his career, Schultz was a story editor and producer of The Danny Thomas Show and worked with Aaron Spelling on the pilot for his classic series The Mod Squad, also helping to cast the show. Schultz served as a consultant during the Children's Television Workshop’s development of Sesame Street. In a two-year stint at Belafonte Enterprises, he served as executive in charge of development and production for all feature film and television productions. During this time he produced one week of The Tonight Show with Harry Belafonte guest-hosting for Johnny Carson. As a program executive at CBS, he supervised the production of series such as Gunsmoke, Mission Impossible and Lassie.
At the New School University, Schultz teaches “The Producer’s Role,” a 15-week course. He has led a number of seminars at leading educational institutions, film festivals and industry organizations, addressing a range of topics from producing to the work of Lorraine Hansberry and matters of race.
Schultz attended Southmont High School in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He graduated cum laude from Princeton University.