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Family Name (2009)

Family Name , Macky Alston  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Family Name
  • Directors: Macky Alston
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2008
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00197PP0I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,025 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Family Name" on IMDb

Special Features

Filmmaker interview
Featurette
Filmmaker biography

Editorial Reviews

This Sundance Film Festival winner is an absorbing genealogical real-life detective story that follows a personal odyssey to find out the meaning of the family name.

What does a name signify, exactly? Growing up in Durham, North Carolina, white filmmaker Macky Alston never questioned why all of the other Alstons at his elementary school were black. Twenty-five years later, Alston decides to unravel this perplexity in the award-winning documentary FAMILY NAME.

Alston s quest to solve his genealogical mystery takes him from New York to Alabama and then back to North Carolina. He seeks clues at family reunions, graveyards, church services, and, eventually, the original Alston plantations. The people he meets vary markedly in race, age, class and perspective, but they all have two things in common: the family name and a compelling story to tell. The biggest question of this investigation, perhaps, is whether it will provide the Alstons with catharsis or create an even greater sense of division. As the revelations mount, FAMILY NAME unfolds an unforgettable emotional journey that transforms our conceptions of the past.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Commentary Is Biased, But Still...It's Great April 24, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable detective/genealogical story, and an engrossing philosophical meditation on race, and the things (like roots) that can link seemingly diverse people. I first saw this when it ran on PBS in 1998, and was pretty amazed - about halfway through - to see some cousins of my dad's. I was completely blown away. A wonderful wonderful film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Family January 6, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I'm of Alston linage so I really appreciated this. Perhaps it would be helpful to others in researching their family history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary!!! May 6, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I've always wanted to know more about my family. This documentary was masterfully made and elegant in its realism. If you are an Alston (or Allston/Alstone) you NEED to have this in your collection, be you Black or White. BUY IT!!!!

Also, my video came early, and who can complain about that!?!?! BUY THE DOCUMENTARY!!!!
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