Preview | Bill T. Jones: A Good Man - About the Film

The 90-minute film chronicles the intense creative journey of Bill T. Jones – a 2010 Kennedy Center Honors recipient and two-time Tony® Award winner for Best Choreography – as he tackles the most ambitious work of his career and leads the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in the creation of Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray, an original dance-theater piece in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial commissioned by Ravinia Festival.

Co-directors Bob Hercules of Media Process Group and Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films provide a window into the creative process and the creative crisis of one of our nation’s most enduring, provocative artists as he explores what it means to be a good man, to be a free man, to be a citizen. American Masters Bill T. Jones: A Good Man is part of the first PBS Arts Fall Festival, a multi-platform event anchored by nine films that highlight artists and performances from around the country.

Fondly… is one of the most challenging projects I have ever undertaken,” said Jones. “A Good Man is an honest and unflinching portrait of that process.”

Through two tumultuous years, witness raw moments of frustration as Jones struggles to communicate his vision to his dancers and collaborators, as well as moments of great exhilaration when movement transcends the limitation of words. Jones and his company come face-to-face with America’s unresolved contradictions about race, equality and the legacy of our 16th President. Initially an indictment of “The Great Emancipator,” the work evolves into a triumph of hope for our struggling democracy, with Jones revealing that Lincoln was “the only white man I was allowed to love unconditionally.”

“Abraham Lincoln and Bill T. Jones make total sense to me. The courage and convictions of both men are a testament to the timeless endurance of art and action,” says Susan Lacy, series creator and executive producer of American Masters, a seven-time winner of the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series. The series is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET New York Public Media. WNET is the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentary and other programs to the New York community.

“I had always wanted to make a film that follows the creation of art from the very beginning all the way to the end,” says Bob Hercules. “Bill T Jones: A Good Man gave us that chance since we were wisely brought in by Ravinia at the very start of Bill’s research phase. Luckily, we had the resources and determination to keep filming through the whole process up to the premiere of the piece two years later. The result is an unvarnished look at how art gets created.”

“We tried to convey the immense amount of ideas and information that Bill T. Jones transfers into movement, music and speech for a performance. As we watched Bill’s struggles in putting his feelings about Lincoln and the contradictions and complexities of American democracy into Fondly…, we found ourselves drawn into the same contradictions about our democracy and our hopes for the future of this country,” says Gordon Quinn.

Throughout the film Jones explains how his childhood, artistic journey, personal feelings about Lincoln, and current emotional and physical condition affect the piece’s direction and development. Bill T. Jones: A Good Man also features interviews with dancers, musicians, crew, and staff from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, including Executive Director Jean Davidson, Associate Artistic Director Janet Wong, Producing Director Bob Bursey, and Creative Director/Set Designer Bjorn G. Amelan, as well as Welz Kauffman, CEO and president of Ravinia Festival. Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray premiered at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois, on September 17, 2009. The film features performances from the Ravinia premiere and rehearsals at the New 42nd Street Studios in New York City, along with production, writing and research sessions, including an emotional viewing of Lincoln’s personal effects at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Archival performances include Still/Here (1994), Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land (1990) and Jones’s collaborations with his late partner Arnie Zane in Valley Cottage (1980), Blauvelt Mountain (1980) and Monkey Run Road (1979).

Production Credits and Funding Print

Bill T. Jones: A Good Man is a co-production of A Good Man Film LLC, Kartemquin Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS), THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET, and Media Process Group, with the cooperation of the Ravinia Festival. Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn are directors. Joanna Rudnick is producer. Keith Walker is directory of photography, David E. Simpson is editor and Rachel Pikelny is associate producer. Gordon Quinn is executive producer for Kartemquin Films and Sally Jo Fifer is executive producer for ITVS. Susan Lacy is the series creator and executive producer of American Masters.

American Masters is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers. Funding for Bill T. Jones: A Good Man is provided by the Ravinia Fund for Artistic Initiatives, Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Leiden, Mrs. June Bild Pinsof and Mrs. Madeleine Pinsof Plonsker, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Sage Foundation. This PBS Arts Fall Festival presentation is in collaboration with PBS member station WTTW. Funding for the launch of PBS Arts has been provided by Anne Ray Charitable Trust, public television viewers and PBS.

Bob Hercules
Gordon Quinn

Joanna Rudnick

Executive Producers
Gordon Quinn
Susan Lacy

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

David E. Simpson

Director of Photography
Keith Walker

Associate Producer
Rachel Pikelny

Gordon Quinn

Location Sound Recording
John Mathie
Daniel Brooks
Judy Karp

Additional Camera
Jim Morrissette
Mike Swanson
Dana Kupper

Additional Sound
Richard K. Pooler
Ben Clore
Zak Piper
David Schumacher

Assistant Editors
Nora Gully
Liz Kaar
Sharon Szalkowski

Technical Supervisor & Online Editor
Jim Morrissette

Audio Mix
Mark Bandy

Title & Graphics
Dizzy Giant, LLC

Kartemquin Films Executive Director
Justine Nagan

Production Support for Kartemquin Films
Yvonne Afable
Jacinta Banks
Jerry Blumenthal
Nora Gully
Tim Horsburgh
Liz Kaar
Jim Morrissette
Kelley Moseley
Elizabeth Neufeld
Zak Piper
Dinesh Sabu
Leslie Simmer

Production Manager for Media Process Group
Lisa Pooler

Yvonne Afable
Mia Capodilupo
Cate Ryan

Robert Labate
Jennifer Bjornberg
Peter Jaszi
Elisa Westapher

Ethan Barnowsky
Holly Butz
Kate Donalek
John Kostka
Matt Lauterbach
Joe Riina-Ferrie
Rebecca Parrish
Robby Sexton
Emily Thomas
Jenny Wells
Adora Wilson-Eye

Funding for A GOOD MAN provided by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Ravinia Fund for Artistic Initiatives
Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Leiden
Mrs. June Bild Pinsof and Mrs. Madeleine Pinsof Plonsker
National Endowment for the Arts
Sage Foundation

Funding for American Masters provided by
The National Endowment for the Arts
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Rosalind P. Walter
The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation
Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal
Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family
Jack Rudin
The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation
Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation



Produced with the cooperation of Ravinia Festival
Welz Kauffman, CEO & President

Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray
was commissioned and premiered by Ravinia

Special Thanks
Nick Pullia
Greg Walters
Pam Strobel
Russell Jenkins
Amy Schrage
Mike Robinson
Erik Soderstrom
George Darveris
George Sampson
Elizabeth Turner
Peter Kiernan
Karen Van Lengen
Desirèe Rogers
Norton Owen
Richard O’Connell
Claire Aguilar
Cheryl Hirasa
Mijoung Chang
N’Jeri Eaton
Jonathan Green
Rhodessa Jones
Dean Jeffrey
Thuy Lam
Clay Hapaz
Daryl Patterson
Victoria Michelotti
Ira Deutchman
Maria Finitzo
Julia Mayer
Stuart Flack
David Ravel
Isaac Hager
Matthew Savare, Esq.
David Saltiel, Esq.
New 42nd Street Studios
Bard College
University of Virginia


Interns/Production Assistants
Ethan Barnowsky
Jessy Bradish
Sarah Brafman
Holly Butz
Betsy Cass
Ranjani Chakraborty
Kate Donalek
Latoya Flowers
Michael Foley
Nick Fraccaro
Kevin Fullam
Lauren Goldenberg
Brett Hanover
Ian Robertson Kibbe
John Kostka
Matt Lauterbach
Lauren Makholm
Aaron McGrath
Eman Nader
Aubyn Niemi
Nick Nummerdor
Lesley Onstott
Rebecca Parrish
Allison Pichert
Joe Riina-Ferrie
Hannah Roodman
Dinesh Sabu
Robby Sexton
Ayesha Siddiqi
Philister Sidigu
Tristan Steinfeld
Emily Thomas
Lindsey Turner
Stanzi Vaubel
Aziza Ngozi Walker
Jenny Wells
Cassie Wierenga
Adora Wilson-Eye
Shuling Yong

Archival Photos
Arnie Zane
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
Paula Court
Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, 1985 © The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, courtesy Art + Commerce. Used by permission.
Lois Greenfield Photography
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Archival Footage
American Dance Festival
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
Gary J. Kauffman, Aerial DP
NBC News Archives
VIEW Video

Archival Excerpts courtesy of Bel Air Media


Archival Excerpts courtesy of New York Live Arts
Holzer Duet…Truisms
Another Evening: I Bow Down

Improvisation to Soldier’s Tale
We Set Out Early…Visibility Was Poor
Valley Cottage
Blauvelt Mountain
Blind Date
Monkey Run Road

Original Music for the Film & the Performance Composed & Arranged by
Jerome Begin, Christopher Antonio William Lancaster and George Lewis, Jr.

“Annie Laurie” (Scottish Traditional)
“Weevily Wheat” (American Folk Song)
“Since I Laid My Burden Down” (American Spiritual)
“The Debates”
“Song of Solomon”
“Storming of Richmond”
“Mary Anne”
“Bill’s Bio”
“The War”
“I Am Faithful”

Music Performed by
Jerome Begin, Christopher Antonio William Lancaster (band leader), George Lewis, Jr., and Clarissa Sinceno

Additional Music
John’s Book of Alleged Dances: “Judah to Ocean” by John Adams
Performed by Kronos Quartet
Courtesy of Nonesuch Records
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
Published by Boosey & Hawkes, An Imagem Company

This film would not have been possible without the support of the staff and performers of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

BILL T. JONES/ARNIE ZANE DANCE COMPANY, a program of New York Live Arts


Executive Artistic Director
Bill T. Jones

Chief Executive Officer
Jean Davidson

Associate Artistic Director
Janet Wong

Producing Director
Bob Bursey


Asli Bulbul
Antonio Brown
Peter Chamberlin
Talli Jackson
Shayla-Vie Jenkins
LaMichael Leonard, Jr.
I-Ling Liu
Paul Matteson
Erick Montes
Jennifer Nugent

Jamyl Dobson

Jerome Begin
Christopher Antonio William Lancaster (band leader)
George Lewis, Jr.
Clarissa Sinceno

Production Stage Manager
Kyle Maude

Lighting Supervisor
Laura Bickford

Technical Director
Eric Launer

Audio Engineer
Sam Crawford


Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray
Conceived and Directed by Bill T. Jones
Choreographed by Bill T. Jones with Janet Wong and members of the Company
Decor by Bjorn Amelan
Lighting Design by Robert Wierzel
Video Design by Janet Wong
Costume Design by Liz Prince
Sound Design by Lindsay Jones

Script by Bill T. Jones with Janet Wong
Additional text by LaMichael Leonard, Jr., Peter Chamberlin and Michelle Elliott
With excerpts from:
First Inaugural Address
and Address to Temperance Society, Abraham Lincoln;
House Divided Speech
, Abraham Lincoln, from the Lincoln-Douglass debates;
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
and Poem of the Body, Walt Whitman;
Frederick Douglass, from The North Star;
Declaration of Independence;
Book of Revelation, King James Version
Poem of the Body
read by Jordan Taylor

Associate Set Design by Solomon Weisbard
Video Programming by Dallas Nichols and Micah Stieglitz

Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray is made possible with lead support from the Company’s commissioning program, “Partners in Creation,” which includes the following donors: the Argosy Foundation, Abigail Congdon & Joe Azrack, Anne Delaney, Eleanor Friedman, Barbara & Eric Dobkin, Sandra & Gerald Eskin, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, Ellen Poss, Jane Bovingdon Semel & Terry Semel, and Carol H. Tolan.

Co-commissioning support provided by Lincoln Center Festival and Indiana University Auditorium.

Development support provided by The Performing Arts Center Purchase College.

Major support for Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and by the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Additional support provided by the Doris Duke Fund for Dance of the National Dance Project, a program administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and MetLife Foundation.

Music commissioning support provided by the O'Donnell Green Music and Dance Foundation.

The World Premiere of Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray was presented at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois on September 17, 2009 in honor of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

Lowenstein Sandler PC, Legal Counsel for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

Rehearsed at the New 42nd Street Studios.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is presented by arrangement through IMG Artists.

The Company wishes to thank the TDF Costume Collection for their assistance in this production.
New York Live Arts, Inc.

New York Live Arts, Inc.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
219 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011
(212) 691-6500 / Fax: (212) 633-1974

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is presented by arrangement through IMG Artists
Carnegie Hall Tower, 152 W. 57th Street - 5th Floor, New York, NY 10019
(212) 994-3500 / Fax: (212) 994-3550

European representation of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company by:
Gillian Newson Associates
Office + 44 20 7622 8549 Mobile + 44 7768 166381



Series Theme Music Composed by
Thomas Wagner

Series Title Designed by
B. T. Whitehill

Music Services
Rosie Fishel
Emily Lee

Series Production Manager

Jane Buckwalter

Business Affairs
Odell Nails

Series Publicist
WNET’s Communications Group

Production Supervisor
Junko Tsunashima

Supervising Producer
Julie Sacks

Series Producer
Prudence Glass

Executive Producer
Susan Lacy

This program is produced by A GOOD MAN FILM LLC, Kartemquin Films,
THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET, and Media Process Group,
which are solely responsible for its contents.

A GOOD MAN is a co-production of A GOOD MAN FILM LLC, Kartemquin Films, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET, Ravinia Festival and Media Process Group.

© 2011 A Good Man Film LLC and WNET