Cannes Screening for Beauford Delaney Documentary

UPDATE (August 22, 2019):  Producer Zachary Miller has returned to Paris after completing a summer of research in New York for So Splendid a Journey.  Much of this research was done at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, where he accessed personal correspondence between Beauford and many individuals, including James Baldwin.   Zach met with art experts, gallery owners, and individuals interested in helping and working on the film, including Carole Weinstein, the mother of Daniel Baldwin.  Carole met Beauford a few times and has expressed interest in working with us on the film.  A number of contacts were also made regarding distribution of the finalized documentary. 

The basic research for the film is finished and the structure of how the film will be shot has been established.   What remains is to find finishing funds to record interviews and to shoot and edit the film as it has been planned.

Watch the trailer below and give generously to HELP US COMPLETE THIS PROJECT!

Who was Beauford Delaney?

Beauford Delaney (1901 - 1979) was a consummate artist and a warm-hearted man. He was a great teacher and a great listener. He was psychologically troubled, yet a profound inspiration to many. His life and his talent were gifts to the world. 

38220028_1554760952746347_r.jpegDetail of 1953 portrait of Beauford Delaney by Carl Van Vechten

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Delaney was an exceptional modernist painter.  He spent the last 26 years of his life in Paris, France, where he produced many of the most powerful abstract expressionist and figurative works of his career.  He died a pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave in a cemetery outside the city.

Delaney’s work is found in the collections of some of the most prestigious museums in the U.S.:

-       Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

-       Museum of Modern Art, New York

-       Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

-       Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

-       National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

-       Smithsonian American Museum of Art, Washington, DC.

The French government owns Delaney paintings, as does the Centre Pompidou, France’s National Contemporary Art Museum.  But the artist’s work has yet to achieve the widespread international acclaim that it deserves.

What are we doing and why?

For ten years, I have worked tirelessly to preserve and increase awareness of Beauford Delaney’s legacy.  I founded a French non-profit association called Les Amis de Beauford Delaney (Friends of Beauford Delaney) to raise money to place a tombstone at his gravesite and had two commemorative plaques installed in his honor in the Paris neighborhood where he lived and worked. 

As president of Les Amis, I felt that the ultimate tribute to Beauford would be to host an exhibition of his work in Paris.  With the help of many partners, I was able to organize Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color

38220028_1554761148441523_r.jpegDetail of catalog cover for Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color

This was a groundbreaking exhibition!  Hosted by Columbia Global Centers | Paris (Columbia University’s Paris facility), it consisted of over 40 paintings and works on paper from private collections in the Paris area.  Most of them had never been seen by the general public prior to this show. 

The exhibition was originally scheduled for February 4-29, 2016.  Due to the overwhelmingly positive response it generated, Columbia Global Centers asked us to extend through March 15, 2016.  Now, we are working to take the show to museums in the U.S. and Europe to further extend its remarkable impact.

What’s our plan?

When Les Amis de Beauford Delaney succeeded in placing the tombstone at Beauford’s grave, I organized a graveside ceremony and a reception that was hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Paris, both of which took place on October 14, 2010.  The events of this remarkable day were videoed by filmmaker Zachary Miller, the owner of 2 Bulls on the Hill Productions.

At the time, Zach planned to create a short film about Beauford.  After conducting additional interviews and collecting additional materials, he now has enough footage to create a full-length documentary.  He would now like to finish the film and present this feature-length documentary on the film festival circuit, with the intent of international distribution or sale to television networks or Netflix so that people around the world can learn more about Beauford’s remarkable life and legacy.

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is working with Zach to make this happen.  And we need your help to succeed!

Why is this documentary special?

The laying of Beauford’s tombstone was the springboard for an incredible series of events that have touched hundreds of lives on both sides of the Atlantic, including:

-     University students traveling abroad for the first time to create a digital app for the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition in Paris

-     Elementary school students in Paris, France and Beauford’s hometown of Knoxville connecting via video conferencing to learn about Beauford’s life and art

-     The launch of the Gathering Light project to honor Beauford and his brother Joseph in Knoxville, TN.

To date, there is no full-length documentary that pays tribute to Beauford’s artistic genius and humanity.  Because the appetite and the market for films on historic Black individuals and the Black experience in general is very strong right now, and because we have experienced firsthand the ability of Beauford’s legacy to inspire and empower, we believe the world should see this film.

What will the money be used for?

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney will raise 20,000€ to support the production of the documentary and to cover the cost of screening it at major film festivals over the course of the coming year and at Cannes in 2020. 


-       2000€: Pre-production and development

-       5500€: Producers Unit

-       2500€: Talent for on and/or off camera narration (optional)

-       2500€: Editing

-       2000€: Film footage, music, and archival stock and news footage

-       1000€: Original music and score (optional)

-       500€: Post-production editing and sound design

-       500€: Cannes market accreditation

-       500€: Cannes screening room

-       250€: Publicity, Post card printing

-       2500€: Producer Rep / Marketing / Prints and Advertising

-       500€: Legal fees

-       500€: Accounting

-       500€: Contingency

-       1000€: Other festival and market application fees and entry expenses (optional if we go no further than Cannes)

-       1250€: Festival travel, food, and accommodation (optional if we go no further than Cannes)

TOTAL: 23,500€

We have already raised 3500€ in private donations, which leaves 20,000€ to raise through this campaign.

When will all this happen?

We successfully screened the trailer (twice!) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2019.  We are now conducting the research for additional content and images to complete the footage shot during the grave side ceremony and U.S. Embassy-sponsored reception in Paris in 2010.

What you'll get when you support our cause

250 - 2999 euros/dollars:   “Thank You" listing  on the end titles credits

3000 - 4999 euros/dollars:  “Associate Producer” listing on the end title credits

5000 - 9999 euros/dollars:  “Co-producer” listing on the end title credits and invitation to Cannes with official accreditation.

10000 euros/dollars or more:
“Co-producer” listing on the end title credits,  invitation to Cannes 2020 with official accreditation, and stay at Zachary Miller's villa during the festival.

Who are we?

38220028_1554761638216990_r.jpegZachary Miller and Monique Y. Wells

I’m Monique Y. Wells:

-       President of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, a French non-profit association

-       Founder and C.E.O. of the Wells International Foundation (WIF), a U.S. non-profit organization.

Zachary Miller is:

-       Director, Writer and Award-winning Film Producer

-       C.E.O. of 2 Bulls on the Hill Productions, S.A.R.L., an independent, American-owned and run French film and TV production company based in Paris, France.

Because of the richness and volume of footage obtained by Zach for this project, we are working together to produce the full-length documentary that Beauford deserves.

We appreciate you…

for caring enough about sharing the legacy of this extraordinary artist with the world to give generously to this campaign. 


Donations (0)

  • Steve Cotham 
    • €250 
    • 7 d
  • Elizabeth Berrry 
    • €100 
    • 16 d
  • Johari Jabir 
    • €25 
    • 2 mos
  • Susan Watson Arbital 
    • €75 
    • 2 mos
    • €500 
    • 2 mos


Monique Wells 
Paris, France
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