As a child, Linda Booker was especially drawn to these three things: art, reading and the little brook that trickled near her home. The latter provided a quiet retreat where her creativity and her passion for learning flourished.
Thus when she founded a company in 2005, she chose the name By the Brook Productions through which she now creates video and documentary projects with a focus on environmental and social issues, non-profits and the arts.
Linda produced and directed “Love Lived on Death Row” (2007) about siblings who seek to forgive their father after he was sentenced to death for their mother’s murder; and award-winning “Bringing It Home” (2013) about industrial hemp – its history, benefits, uses and potential as a sustainable and lucrative crop for U.S. farmers.
Her current project is a short documentary film called STRAWS. “Each day in the U.S., we use an estimated 500,000,000 straws,” said Linda. Ocean Conservancy’s 2014 beach clean-up list ranked them as the #5 most often found item behind bottle caps, wrappers and cigarette butts.
“With something as simple as a plastic straw, STRAWS aims to connect viewers to the larger issue of plastic pollution and its harmful effect on watersheds, oceans and marine animal health and how some community activists are initiating a sea of change – one straw at a time,” she added. Linda started filming in the Monterrey Bay area last November but she is at a standstill until more production funding can be raised.” (You can help by contributing to her upcoming Kickstarter campaign. Watch for details.)
Local projects include two videos that she completed while a student at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies: one about Bynum folk artist Clyde Jones and his visit from Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and the other about “The Millworker” play by Ellen Bland and Drew Lasater, originally performed in Chatham Mills in Pittsboro. “You’ll see many Chatham residents in both of those!,” Linda exclaimed.
“I’ve also produced videos for non-profits including Chatham County Together!, NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the City of Durham and Clean Jordan Lake,” she added. Linda recently collaborated with artist and activist Pierce Freelon on an anti-litter video. “Children created ‘catchers’ and paintings and Pierce did stop motion with their art and music with their words. It will debut during Durham’s Creek Week.”
“And because I have a masochistic addiction to event planning, I do seasonal work as operation director for the Sonoma International Film Festival and Long Beach International Film Festival,” said Linda.
From the Artist
Full name: Linda Jasion Booker
Art form: Documentary films
I am originally from: Hunterdon County, N.J. and South Florida. Youngest of five kids (siblings ranged from 16 to 8 years older than me) so I really grew up more of an only child.
I currently live: in Pittsboro
I am inspired by: nature, the people in my films, other filmmakers, artists and movies. The many interesting people I’ve met during my travels and film screenings. My mom, who at the age of 89 is an avid painter, reader and gardener with a great sense of style, humor and creativity.
The hardest thing about making documentary films is: fundraising, getting noticed, audience engagement campaigns and the tremendous amount of writing, communications and the social media upkeep involved.
The thing I love best about making documentary films is: being a part of a collaborative effort in making films that can bring about awareness and change. The best thing anyone could ever tell a filmmaker is, “This film changed my life.” I’ve had it said to me a few times and it doesn’t get any better than that.
I am most proud of: being a part of founding and getting Family Violence & Rape Crisis’s thrift shop Second Bloom up and running in Pittsboro. Coordinating film screenings in Chatham County for five years (including two Racial Justice Film Forums) through ‘The Sustainable Cinema Series’ thanks to the support of the Chatham Arts Council and Fearrington Village.
A favorite childhood memory is: the hundreds of daffodils that bloomed in the spring on this hill at our house in New Jersey that went from our house to the brook and rolling and/or sledding down that hill depending on the season (with one of our dogs usually keeping me company).
A fun job I’ve had: I got spoiled right out of college with a job for “Yacht Vacations” magazine which had me traveling to the Caribbean and New Zealand feeding my travel bug, love of boats and interest in photography.
My perfect day is: the sun is out, on the water or hiking or biking or exploring a new place and it ending with good food, wine and laughter.
Most people don’t know I: can do a pretty impressive Woody Woodpecker or wild turkey call.
On my bedside table you’ll find: a stack of books I started reading and haven’t finished (reading makes me fall asleep).
Three things on my bucket list are: Travel to more foreign countries but also do some volunteer trip(s) too; visit our National Parks (Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, raft the Grand Canyon); build an eco-boat (electric motor, solar panels, non-toxic materials).
Three Chatham County artists I admire are: There’s so many, how can I possibly choose? Here’s five: Edwin White, Julia Kennedy, Mark Hewitt, and Lanelle Davis & Beth Golston for their fabulous mirror murals. And I have to give an honorable mention to Tamera Cooke who is always creating and has such an artist’s soul.
In ten years you’ll find me: on my eco-boat cruising somewhere on the Intracoastal Waterway or in the Caribbean searching for the best waterfront restaurants (that won’t be using plastic straws of course!).