History

Thank you to all who supported the nonprofit True Story Pictures - everyone who shared their stories, came to the events, volunteered, donated, advised, and served on the board. You helped us document unique voices before those voices were silenced - to date, more than a dozen individuals who shared their stories are now deceased.

You helped us make an impact, not only by retaining history for the permanent record, but also in the lives of dozens of individuals who were empowered by the experience of telling their stories - and in the hearts of all who listened to their messages.

True Story Pictures was established in 2004 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen communities by documenting and sharing life stories. In 2005, we launched The Arts Interviews, a series of films that celebrate the lives and creative work of older visual artists in our region. In 2008, we launched a similar series called The Music Interviews. Learn more about the 17 artists that were honored in The Arts Interviews.

In addition to artists and musicians, we also documented family members and community leaders (see full list of participants), as well as people who were marginalized - in particular, people with mental illness who had been in the criminal justice system. This latter program was called Voices of Jericho, and it featured an award-winning short film called Stories of Jail Diversion. To watch this film and others, visit the Voices of Jericho website

In 2009, the board of directors voted to dissolve the nonprofit, and they allowed the organization's name to be re-used by founder Joann Self Selvidge. In March 2010, she established a new company called True Story Pictures, with a mission to document stories that educate, inspire, and connect our communities. This website honors the accomplishments of the old TSP, while promoting the projects of the new TSP.

When the nonprofit was dissolved, its assets and programs were donated to other nonprofits. The Arts Interviews films were donated to ArtsMemphis, which distributes them for arts educational purposes. The Music Interviews were donated to the Grammy Foundation, which tapped the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy to distribute the films. All remaining funds were donated to the Grammy Foundation to document the life stories of older musicians in the Memphis area. The Shelby County Public Defender's Office distributes the Voices of Jericho films, which have been used in justice systems across the country to improve services for people with serious mental illness.

During these five years, the nonprofit True Story Pictures captured more than 200 hours of video interviews with people from all walks of life, and these digital recordings were donated to the Rhodes College Crossroads to Freedom Digital Archive. Rhodes College has committed to logging, transcribing and uploading all of these interviews to share these valuable personal histories online.

We captured the stories of the present to enrich the lives of the future. And the future is now. Family members, community groups, students, and others are listening to and appreciating these recordings every day. Special thanks to these community partners, who are continuing our programs in the spirit of our original, nonprofit mission.