Documentary Directed by Northeast Instructor Screens at Omaha Film Festival


When Voices Meet, the award-winning documentary feature film directed by Northeast Community College instructor Nancy Sutton Smith is one of only 6 documentaries showing at the upcoming Omaha Film Festival.  Sutton Smith teaches Digital Cinema and Mass Media at Northeast and is also the advisor for the college newspaper, The Viewpoint.  “We were delighted to be selected for the 11th year of the Omaha Film Festival,” said Sutton Smith. “When Voices Meet has been in 23 film festivals since July including Durban, South Africa, St. Louis, and Ft. Lauderdale. But this is the first festival I have been able to attend, so this will feel like the premiere for me.”  Sutton Smith won an award for Best Director at the World Music & Independent Film Festival in Washington, DC last August. The film also won Best Documentary and Best Original Soundtrack at that festival. In all, the film has garnered almost a dozen awards including Best Documentary at the Jersey City International Film & TV Festival and the Audience Award at the Philadelphia Film Festival.

Best Director WMIFF
Northeast Instructor Nancy Sutton Smith won Best Director in a Documentary from the World Music & Independent Film Festival in Washington, DC

The documentary is set in the early 1990s at the time when anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was released from prison. South African musician and music therapist Sharon Katz joined with singer and educator Nonhlanhla Wanda to form a 500-voice multiracial choir to break through Apartheid’s barriers.  The film documents the work of these musician activists and young choir members who became known as The Peace Train, because they traveled and performed by train throughout South Africa.

When Voices Meet: One Divided Country. One United Choir. One Courageous Journey. Original Soundtrack by Sharon Katz; Writer & Executive Producer, Marilyn Cohen; Writer, Director, & Editor, Nancy Sutton Smith

In 2003, then Philadelphia Executive Producer Sutton Smith featured Sharon Katz and The Peace Train on the Comcast feature television show, CN8 Extra. “We knew at that time the story of The Peace Train was a documentary just waiting to be made, but we weren’t able to make it happen for another 10 years,” said Sutton Smith. It took about a year to edit the 86 minute documentary. Executive Producer and Peace Train Co-Director Marilyn Cohen along with Sharon Katz stayed in Norfolk, Nebraska for two months sifting through hundreds of hours of 25 year old video tape and high definition (HD) interviews recorded in South Africa.  “When Marilyn and Sharon were here in Norfolk, we would spend 14 hours a day editing as much as we could to take advantage of team content decisions. The rest of that year, I would teach video production at Northeast during the day and edit the documentary at night and on weekends,” said Sutton Smith.  She says the creative team is extremely proud of the film, and also feels its message of peace is critically important for our world today.


Sutton Smith teaches classes in Post Production, Scriptwriting, Journalism, and Media Graphics at Northeast’s Norfolk Campus. When Voices MeetOne Divided Country. One United Choir. One Courageous Journey., will be showing on Sunday, March 13 at the Village Point Cinema in Omaha. Sutton Smith and Cohen will be in attendance to take audience questions and talk about the making of the film.


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