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Mason Film Lab Documentary ‘W.C. Taylor High School: A Legacy’ To Debut In A Celebratory Evening For The Community

Press Contacts:

Rebekah Mejorado     


Earsaline Anderson



The event will include the documentary screening and dinner with Taylor alumni.

Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 4 p.m.
Addison E. Lightfoot Auditorium, Fauquier High School, Warrenton, VA

FAIRFAX, VA – “W.C. Taylor High School: A Legacy,” the first documentary produced within the Mason Film Lab, will make its debut at a celebration event on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 4 p.m. in the Addison E. Lightfoot Auditorium of Fauquier High School, followed by a dinner with the film’s participants. The “Celebration of the William C. Taylor High School Legacy” evening is open to the public. The evening will include a free screening of the film, followed by a dinner with alumni (tickets required). The evening is presented by the William C. Taylor High School Alumni Committee, Taylor Middle School, and George Mason University’s Film at Mason program. Proceeds from the dinner will go to the Hazzard Johnson Memorial Fund. The community is invited to come meet the alumni of Wm. C. Taylor High School and to learn the legacy of the innovative school. You can watch a behind the scenes look at the making of the documentary now at

W.C. Taylor High School: A Legacy is a short documentary, directed by George Mason Professor Giovanna Chesler and produced within the Mason Film Lab, about the historic William C. Taylor High School in Warrenton, Virginia. Opened during segregation, Wm. C. Taylor was the first school in Fauquier County to serve African-American students from the 7th to the 12th grade. Teachers and administrators employed a progressive model of education built on an environment of mutual respect, collegiality, rigor, and community that created a legacy of excellence worldwide. “W.C. Taylor High School: A Legacy” documents the stories of alumni from their time in school, through segregation and integration, and of their accomplishments since. Notable moments include tales of the award-winning bands and world-famous musicians, like James Brown and the Shirelles, who performed in the Taylor gym to support the school’s marching band, founded and led by Addison E. Lightfoot.

Currently, Fauquier County’s School Board is looking to consolidate schools and debating the future of the building, now Taylor Middle School. Earsaline Anderson, a 1964 Taylor alum who chairs the active William C. Taylor High School Reunion Committee, believes the debate creates an important moment to share the school’s unique history. Anderson and the Taylor Alumni Committee have long wanted to create a documentary about the school, but it was not until Taylor Middle School principal Nicholas Napolitano introduced her to Film at Mason Director Giovanna Chesler that they were able to make the project a reality. The alumni featured in the film illustrate how, as Anderson says, “the administration and staff at Wm. C. Taylor had a vision to have everyone succeed.”


About the Mason Film Lab

In the Mason Film Lab, students work with experienced directors and train with their professors, earning real crew credits and experience in the production of a short film. The Mason Film Lab builds their producing and directing skills, cinematography and sound skills, and hones their technical expertise. Film at Mason students have used Mason Film Lab credits and training to land positions on major film sets. For the 5th Mason Film Lab, Advanced Producing students working with Professor Lisa Thrasher in pre-production for the location shoot while Directing students studying with Professor Maura Ugarte in documentary conducted research and prepared for interviews with the Taylor alumni. On set, these students collaborated with Cinematography students under Professor Hans Charles and Adjunct Professor Damien Coor and Sound Recording students trained and recorded with Professor Amanda Kraus. This Mason Film Lab brought 60 students, four staff members, and five professors together to film a short documentary about the historic Wm.C. Taylor High School in Warrenton, VA. They joined 30 Wm.C. Taylor alumni, current students, and staff including current Principal Nick Napolitano, a Mason alum. Film at Mason student Miranda Waddy edited the film for the academic year as a research project supported by Mason’s Office of Student Scholarship (OSCAR) program. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the documentary is available here:, filmed by Film at Mason student crew and edited by Christopher Pompa as his capstone thesis project in Editing. For more information on the Mason Film Lab please visit The film will be available online to the public and all interviews and the film will be archived in the Afro-American Historic Association of Fauquier County.

W.C. Taylor High School: A Legacy Creative Team

Directed by Giovanna Chesler

Edited by Miranda Waddy

Produced by William C. Taylor High School Alumni and Giovanna Chesler

Director of Photography Hans Charles

Associate Producers: Rebekah Mejorado, Mazin Harb, Perry Jones, Samantha Beach

Line Producer Andre Wilson

Key Grip Andrew Jorgensen

Documentary Directing overseen by Maura Ugarte

Sound Supervisor Amanda Kraus

Cinematography instruction Damien Coor and Hans Charles
Producing instruction Lisa Thrasher


DIRECTOR: Giovanna Chesler is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Film and Video Studies at George Mason University. They direct and produce documentary and fiction films through their production company G6 Pictures. Chesler earned an M.F.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State and a B.A. from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in Anthropology. Professor Chesler’s films address themes of the body and sexuality, and racial and gender justice. Chesler's films have exhibited at over 300 film festivals worldwide and in museums and gallery spaces. Chesler recently produced the documentary feature “Out in the Night” which aired on PBS’s POV series, and co-edited and associate produced “Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema at UCLA,” awarded Best Diaspora Documentary by the African Academy Awards. Chesler is a 2019 Media Arts Fellow from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the April 2019 Washington DC Filmmaker of the Month. Giovanna Chesler's full bio.


DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Emmy award nominated Cinematographer Hans Charles pursued his M.F.A. in film at Howard University’s School of Communication. While a graduate student, he produced his first feature “Like Water,” but developed an eye for cinematography. He has filmed for a range of directors including Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay (“Venus vs” and “13th”) and Salim Akil (“Jumping the Broom,” “Sparkle”) and has worked on several films including “Entre Nos,” “Pariah,” “Middle of Nowhere,” and “Mother of George, ” which have screened at festivals all over the world. His recent projects include the award-winning documentary directed by Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard “Mr. Soul!” and the Showtime series “Wu-Tang Clan: of Mics and Men.” Charles worked with collaborator, Writer and Director Menelk Lumumba as Director of Photography and Producer for their feature film “1 Angry Black Man.” George Mason Assistant Professor Hans Charles launched the Mason Film Lab with Assistant Professor of Producing Lisa Thrasher.

Lisa Thrasher, J.D. co-created the Mason Film Lab with Professor Hans Charles. She is an independent Film Producer, Entertainment Law Specialist and Assistant Professor of Film Business and Producing at George Mason University. Thrasher earned her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, focusing on Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography & Film from Virginia Commonwealth University. Thrasher’s 20 year career in Hollywood included serving as President of Film Production & Distribution at POWER UP Films conducting all Film, TV & PSA development, production and distribution and Thrasher worked in International Anti-Piracy Litigation & Trademark Prosecution and Anti-Piracy Advocacy at 20th Century Fox.


Ticket Information

W.C. Taylor High School: A Legacy (20 min, Documentary) screens as part of the “Celebration of the William C. Taylor High School Legacy” event, hosted by the William C. Taylor High School Alumni Committee and Taylor Middle School on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 4 p.m. at the Addison E. Lightfoot Auditorium of Fauquier High School (705 Waterloo Rd, Warrenton, VA 20186). Dinner will follow at 5:30 pm. The screening is free, but tickets are required for the dinner. Tickets for adults are $45.00 or 2 tickets for $80.00. Tickets for children age 12 and under are $15. Proceeds from the dinner will go to the Hazzard Johnson Memorial Fund. To purchase tickets, please contact Earsaline Anderson at or 540-347-2572.

About Film at Mason

Film at Mason offers a B.A. in cinematic arts production grounded in critical engagement. We emphasize diversity in perspectives and socially conscious storytelling in a program centered around inclusive film practices. Students train as filmmakers in the classroom and in the Mason Film Lab on production sets with industry professionals and guest directors. Students take core courses in ethics, business, and the history and theory of film while they train as filmmakers on sets of student and professional productions (we have 120 student films in production each year.) All Film at Mason students learn to work across cinematic forms including web series, television, fiction, documentary and more. We offer five concentrations: Directing, Producing, Cinematography, Post Production and Screenwriting.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Mason is also one of the best values in higher education, producing graduates who lead all Virginia schools with the highest annual salaries.

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