The Doll, a twenty-minute dramatic short film, is set in the early 1900s and tells the story of Tom Taylor, the black proprietor of the Wyandot Hotel Barbershop. Taylor's humanity, his dignity, and his responsibility to family and community are severely challenged when he realizes that he has an opportunity to avenge an injustice that was inflicted on his father decades earlier. Emmy award winning independent filmmaker Dante James based the screenplay on a short story by Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932).

Charles W. Chesnutt, a master storyteller, was born before the end of the Civil War and grew up in North Carolina during the Reconstruction Era. When he began his writing career, black Americans had been free for only twenty-five years. In the late 1890's long before the Harlem Renaissance, before Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, Chesnutt became the first African American writer to use the white controlled mass media in the service of serious fiction on behalf of the black community. Before Chesnutt stories about the black experience by white writers were often degrading and paternalistic. Chesnutt began to define black Americans from their own points of view. His stories reflected the dignity and humanity of black people while also capturing the horror of slavery, racism, and oppression.

 

Dante James
Producer, Director, Screenwriter
Dante James is an Emmy award wining independent filmmaker. He has a master's degree from Duke University and has produced and directed a critically acclaimed dramatic short film THE DOLL, which is based on a short story by Charles W. Chesnutt.

Clayton LeBouef
Lead Actor, Co-Producer
Clayton LeBouef is an accomplished stage, television, and film actor. In his collaboration with Dante James on "THE DOLL," Clayton assumed the role of co-producer. His stage and screen credits include Homicide Life on the Street, The HBO series The Corner, The Wire, and the HBO film "Something the Lord Made." He is currently developing a production based on the life of Henrietta V. Davis.

Richard Montgomery
Production Designer
Richard Montgomery is a theatrical designer/art director/production designer whose close to three hundred credits include work for the Royal Court Theatre, The Old Vic, The American Repertory Theatre and numerous professional theater companies in the USA, UK and Caribbean. He has twice been nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Set Design. His work in film and television includes design assignments for PBS, the BBC, National Geographic; the New York Center for Visual History; and Atlantic Films. His work for film has been screened at the Los Angeles, New York, Cannes, Milan, and Baltimore Film Festivals, with special screenings at the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Center, and Eastman House in Rochester, NY.

Joshua M. Gibson
Director of Photography
Joshua M. Gibson is an accomplished filmmaker and cinematographer. He is the Assistant Director of the Art of the Moving Image Program at Duke University where he teaches both narrative and experimental filmmaking courses. His films have been screened at many film festivals across the country including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. He is currently producing a film that explores a near extinct form of dance in India.

Anthony Kelley
Composer, Music Producer
Anthony Kelley joined the Duke University music faculty in 2000 after serving as Composer-in-Residence with the Richmond Symphony for three years under a grant from Meet the Composer. In 1999, Richmond Symphony premiered his piano concerto, "Africamerica," with soloist Donal Fox. In 1998, The American Composers Orchestra gave the premier performance of a commissioned work, "The Breaks," under the direction of Gerard Schwartz. He is a performer in and co-director of the improvisational Postmodern New-Blues musical collective called the BLAK Ensemble.