W.C. Taylor

Mason Film Lab

W.C. Taylor High School: A Legacy


For the 5th Mason Film Lab, sixty students and their professors worked on a documentary about the historic W.C. Taylor High School in Warrenton, VA. Opened during segregation, W.C. Taylor was the first school in the county to serve African American students from the 7th to the 12th grade. Teachers and administrators employed a progressive model of education that created a legacy of excellence, world wide. This short film documents the stories of alumni from their time in school, through segregation and integration, and of their accomplishments since. This includes tales of the award-winning bands and world-famous musicians, like James Brown and the Shirelles, who performed in the Taylor gym.

Directed by Giovanna Chesler
Edited by Miranda Waddy
Produced by W.C. Taylor High School Alumni and Giovanna Chesler
Director of Photography Hans Charles
Professors of Cinematography, Hans Charles and Damien Coor
Professor of Documentary, Maura Ugarte
Professor of Sound, Amanda Kraus
Associate Producers: Rebekah Mejorado, Mazin Harb, Perry Jones, Samantha Beach
Line Producer Andre Wilson
Key Grip Andrew Jorgensen

W.C. Taylor High School alum sharing her year book for a documentary on the school. Photo: Kauri George.
W.C. Taylor High School alum sharing her year book for a documentary on the school. Photo: Kauri George.

Giovanna Chesler, Director/Producer of W.C. Taylor High School: A Legacy 

Giovanna Chesler
Professor Giovanna Chesler

Professor Chesler is a Director and Producer of documentary and fiction film through their production company G6 Pictures. Chesler earned an M.F.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State (Most Distinguished Graduate) and a B.A. from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in Anthropology and a minor in Women’s Studies (with Highest Honors.) Professor Chesler directs documentary and narrative films addressing themes of the body, sexuality, and gender. Chesler's films have been exhibited at over 300 film festivals worldwide and in museums and gallery spaces. Chesler is an active member of Film Independent and University Film and Video Association and is a 2019 Media Arts Fellow - D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Giovanna Chesler's full bio.

Behind the Scenes – Mason Film Lab: W.C. Taylor High School, A Legacy