Rodney Thompson is an Independent Filmmaker who grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He holds a Masters Of Film Arts from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor Of Arts in Psychology from University Of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Before starting Vine Street Films, Thompson was co-owner of MT Productions, a video production company based in Kansas City, Missouri, writing, producing, and directing video presentations with applications in training, public relations, and advertising.
Rodney is currently at work on “RECONCILING WITH THE ELDERS,” a documentary film that examines the deteriorating relationship between young African American men and older generations of African American men. He is also working on “18TH STREET LIVES!” a historic documentary film that celebrates the rich history of Kansas City’s storied 18th Street, where jazz music flourished, attracting the world’s attention, and where the city’s black community supported a bustling commercial district during the era in the mid twentieth century when segregation was the rule in America.
In addition, Thompson was a Producer, on the recently completed “STILL JAMMIN,” a documentary film on Local 627, the Black musicians Union that was an advocate for African American musician’s during the heyday of Kansas City jazz. In 2012 he premiered “MY MOTHER’S CLUB,” a documentary film that centers on the African American women’s social clubs in Kansas City during the late 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s. The story, told from the perspectives of club members, and daughters of club members, focuses on the impact of these clubs on Kansas City’s African American community through their social activities, volunteerism, and social activism. The film was a finalist in the 2013 Africa World Film Festival. In 2009 he completed “SONS OF A HOOFER, THE MCFADDEN BROTHERS” a documentary film that delves into the lives and careers of Kansas City’s renown multi-talented entertainers whose father, James, “Pops” McFadden, was a legendary hoofer in the 1930’s and 40’s. In 2004 he was Co-Producer/Director on, “A CONVERSATION IN DANCE,” a documentary that focuses on the Kansas City “Two Step,” a variation of the Jitterbug ballroom dance of the 1940’s that is unique to Kansas City. The film chronicles the spirited quest of 25 couples to win Kansas City’s $10,000 BIG STEP-OFF.
His film credits also include being Co-Producer/Director on “THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD,” a documentary that focuses on adults who grew up in four historically black communities in St. Louis, from the 1940’s through the 1980s. The documentary received a 2nd Place runner-up award at the Hollywood Black Film Festival.
In 2007, Saint Luke’s Health Systems commissioned Thompson to produce an oral history documentary, “A STEP ABOVE THE PLAZA,” about a small black community that thrived in Kansas City’s Westport area during the 1920’s to the 1960’s when
segregation was the rule in Kansas City. The film received the Community Spirit Award from the Jackson County Historical Society.
CONSULTANT – 2006-2011; American Jazz Museum Provided consultation on the Preservation of the John Baker Film Collection, the largest historical jazz film collection in the world. He was also the Curator in the development of a film program for the museum’s permanent Jazz On Film Exhibit that opened September 2009. From 2004 to 2006 Thompson videotaped over 100 Oral Histories of former Negro Leagues Baseball players for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
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