MATTHEW BUCKINGHAM
             
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Amos Fortune Road

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Amos Fortune Road
             
1996
Black and white 16mm film with sound, 20 min
             
Less than twenty tattered business receipts are the only source of information on the life of Amos Fortune: in 1769, at the age of 59, Fortune bought his freedom from slavery, moved to New Hampshire from Boston, and opened a leather tanning busi-
ness. Little else is known about this man, who becomes the absent center of the film "Amos Fortune Road." A roadside historical marker inscribed with his name provokes the curiosity of two fictional characters: a teacher, Sharon, and her student, Mary-
anne. The film interweaves their personal lives and seemingly endless drives along rural New Hampshire roads with their investigation of Fortune’s identity. When Sharon discovers that most of the information they have gathered originated in two fictionalized biographies, one for children and one for adults, she also realizes that the 200-year-old roads they have been traveling are the same roads Amos Fortune used every day—a quotidian link to a suppressed historical subject.