Accidental Courtesy

Accidental Courtesy

Daryl Davis, Race & America

About the Film

Daryl Davis is an accomplished musician, a piano player who has played all over the world with legends like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry. He also has an unusual and controversial hobby: Daryl likes to meet and befriend members of the KKK, many of whom have never met a black person. When some of these same people decide to leave the Klan, Daryl keeps their robes and hoods — building his collection piece by piece, story by story, person by person. In Accidental Courtesy, Daryl takes the viewer on a journey from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to Memphis, from Alabama to Ferguson, Missouri, as he recounts the entwined history of black America and popular music.

Along the way, the viewer is invited to sit in as he questions several current and former Klan leaders as well as young Black Lives Matter activists who vehemently disagree with his tactics. MORE

Born in Chicago in 1958, Davis had a unique childhood. The son of a Foreign Service officer, he traveled the world, attended an international school, and assumed that all kids grew up with friends of different nationalities, races, and religions. It wasn’t until his family returned to the States that he suddenly and personally felt the sting of racism. After graduating from college with a degree in music, Daryl hit the road, performing his unique style of boogie-woogie with a range of musical greats, a lifestyle that brought him into contact with all kinds of people and led him on a journey to question and confront racism, one racist at a time. For the last two decades, he has reached out to Klan members and even formed lasting friendships along the way. 

Accidental Courtesy is the portrait of a man who has spent a lifetime pursuing an answer to the question, "How can you hate me when you don't even know me?"

The Filmmakers

Matt Ornstein (Producer/Director) founded Sound & Vision Productions in 2006. Since then, Sound & Vision has produced and developed music videos and commercials as well as short and feature-length films. Sound & Vision produced the Matt Ornstein-directed Atlantis in 2012, starring Jason Ritter and the space shuttle Atlantis. The film was shown at festivals including Austin, Orlando, London, Cannes, Santa Barbara, Taiwan, and 15 others. Matt is the Creative Director of Sound & Vision, and has directed music videos for artists including Radiohead and Daft Punk. He studied film at Bard College.

Noah Ornstein (Producer) joined Sound & Vision in 2008. Noah has served in a variety of roles but now works primarily in the company’s feature film division and as Sound & Vision’s General Counsel. In addition to his work in entertainment, Noah works in real estate investment and development as an attorney and principal. Noah received his JD and MBA from UCLA, and majored in political science and history at Tufts. LESS

Film Credits

Directed by
Matt Ornstein

Produced by
Noah Ornstein and Matt Ornstein

Executive Produced by
Laurie Harris

Executive Produced by
Roberto Alcantara

(in order of appearance)
Daryl Davis
Virginia Ali
Mark Potok
Rachel Pendergraft
Pastor Thomas Robb
Jeff Schoep
Frank Ancona
Faith Morris
Michael A. Wood, Jr.
Kwame Rose
Tariq Touré
JC Faulk
Scott Sheppard

Cinematography by

Sam Gezari and Pete Castagnetti

Edited by
Jason Jones
Ben Barnes

Associate Producers
Michael Reich
Daryl Davis
Allen Hopkins

Jason Jones
Ben Barnes

Location Sound Mixers
Todd Burger
Al Faison
Matt Benda
Andy Giner

Camera Operators
Sam Gezari
Peter Castagnetti
Matt Ornstein
Spencer Rollins

1st Assistant Cameras

Andy Keuster
Jacques Lorch
Jose Saramiento

2nd Assistant Cameras
Ryan Romkema
Sunni Devadanam
Alex Guckert
Jacob Perry

Carola Meyers
Shirley Z.

Morgan Gillio

Production Assistants
Tom Clement
Clara Kelly
Aaron Hunt
Win Brooks
Kadesh Dubos
Mike Dubose
Natasha MIller

Line Producer
Michael Reich

Transportation Captain
Anthony Subietas

Noah Ornstein

K9 Unit
Ella aka Barked

Additional Camera Operator
Jaques Lorch


Beau Leon

Post Producer
Andrew McLintock

Color Assistant

Jonah Braun

Conform Supervisor
William B. Macomber

Conform Producers
Ed Schuerman
Eleanor Nett

Online Editors
Antonio Renoj
Tony Shek

Assistant Editors
Spencer Rollins
Barret Bowman

Motion Graphics
Natalia Balska

Additional Assistant Editing
Rob Manalang
Nicolas Charles
Francisco Garcia

Research Assistant
Melissa Kellner

Producer Assistants
Michael Shield
Arikai Tabeson

Post Services Provided by
Fancy Film

Additional Post Services
Grand Royal Studios

Jeremy Landman

Re-Recording Mixers
Michael Solano
Ryan Owens

Sound Editors
Nick Michaud
Aaron Finley
Tad Wadhams

Legal Services
Noah Ornstein, Esq.

Special Thanks
Aaron Stanford
Alan Yang
Amy Grapell
Andy Kuester
BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups
Beau Leon
Ben Cresciman
Ben Kutsco
Ben’s Chili Bowl
Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club
Bob Ornstein
Boone County Library
Chris’ Hot Dogs
Christina Kuo
Chris Glover
Chris Krager
Chuck Levin Music
Churchill Hotel
Danny Gabai
Eben Kaplan
Eric Rayman
Film D.C.
Hadrian Belove
Howard University
Isaac Hagy
Jess Neuman
John Wyatt
Johnny Saba
Joshua Nearman
JVs Restaurant
Kathryn Aagesen
Kevin Lichtig
Lenny Messina
Lukas Ettlin
National Civil Rights Museum
Nicolas Crew
Nicole Bigley
Oakwood Annex Cemetery
Paul Hahn
Phil Hoelting
Purna Khatau
Richard Hecht
Rob Hoffman
Rob Schroeder
Robert Frost Middle School
Sam Levinson
Sam Spiegel
Southern Poverty Law Center
Steph Scire
Sun Studios
The Anger House
The Capitol Hilton
The DO Lecture Series
Thomas Wooten High School
Tommy B
University of California Irvine
Washington D.C. Police Department
Washington DC Airport Hilton
Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Watts Tower

Accidental Courtesy is a production of Sound & Vision, in association with Lodger Films.

The film was produced by Sound & Vision, LLC which is solely responsible for its content.

Copyright © 2016 by Sound and Vision, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Do you think Daryl's strategy of befriending KKK members to change the way they view people of color is the right approach? Is this a good way to spark important conversations about race or do you agree with the Black Lives Matter activists featured in the film that Klan members shouldn't be acknowledged?
Please review our comment guidelines.
Do you think Daryl's strategy of befriending KKK members to change the way they view people of color is the right approach? Is this a good way to spark important conversations about race or do you agree with the Black Lives Matter activists featured in the film that Klan members shouldn't be acknowledged?