Special Collections & Archives Blog

Behind the Scenes with Documentary Filmmaker Tom Hayes

Friday, April 5, 2013 3:35 pm

Editing Harold Hayes: The Making of a Documentary Filmmaker
A Discussion with Tom Hayes
Friday, April 19, 2013, 4:00PM
Special Collections Reading Room
Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Please join us in the Special Collections Reading Room on April 19 as Tom Hayes (WFU ’79) takes us behind the scenes of his documentary Smiling Through the Apocalypse, which is a featured film at the 2013 River Run Film Festival. The film explores the life and career of Tom’s father, Harold Hayes, with a focus on his years as editor of Esquire magazine in the 1960s.

In this informal presentation and Q&A session, Tom Hayes will discuss the making of Smiling Through the Apocalypse, a film described by one reviewer as “a 99 minute act of love, the story of a publishing icon through the eyes of his son.” Although he had worked as a television producer for over 20 years, Tom’s tribute to his father, who died in 1989, was his first foray into documentary filmmaking. As such it presented a host of new challenges– from fundraising, to navigating fair use law, to dealing with temperamental interviewees. Tom will discuss what he learned as a filmmaker during this process, and also what he discovered about his father’s profound influence on American journalism of the 1960s.

Harold Hayes, a Wake Forest alumnus and North Carolina native, was chief editor of Esquire from 1963 to 1974. During this time the magazine was on the forefront of the New Journalism. Contributors like Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Gore Vidal, Nora Ephron, Peter Bogdonavich, and many others captured the essence of the turbulent decade in Esquire’s pages. In making his documentary Tom Hayes interviewed many of these authors, as well as designers, photographers, and Esquire staffers. He also made extensive use of archival materials, in particular the Harold Hayes Papers at Wake Forest. Materials from the Hayes collection will be on exhibit in Special Collections.

This event is open to the public. For more information, contact Megan Mulder at 336-758-5091.

Wake Forest History on Film

Monday, November 29, 2010 2:46 pm

The new Documentary Film program at WFU has proved to be a natural match for our archival collections. Students from Dr. Cara Pilson’s graduate research seminar and first year seminar have frequented Special Collections for instruction and research this semester.

The FYS: History Through the Lens of Documentary Film students, pictured above, are working on a short documentary film on the WFU class of 1964.

Using archival copies of the Old Gold and Black, The Howler, photographs, and other materials from the University Archives, the students researched issues of importance to their counterparts in the early 1960s.

They then selected visual materials to put on film for their documentary project. The students were fascinated by both the similarities and differences between campus life now and that of fifty years ago. My favorite quote from a 2010 student (upon reading an OGB editorial): “I can’t believe how sarcastic they were back then!”

Working with the documentary film students this semester was a great experience for the Special Collections staff as well. Every class teaches us something new about our stuff! Seeing our materials from the perspective of documentary filmmakers is making us think about how we can improve discovery tools for the visual aspects of our collections. We look forward to many more collaborations with our new Documentary Film students.


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