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The MAKE IT podcast amplifies the voice of the filmmaker by exploring the filmmaking journeys of actors, writers, directors, producers, and a host of other creatives from across the film industry. We provide a platform for filmmakers to provide advice, lessons learned, personal reflections, and ins… read more


200 - Keith McDaniel - How To Start A Film Festival, Make Impactful Documentaries, and Have Creative Conviction

Hello, Indie Creatives! 

In this episode, we have a conversation with Documentarian Keith McDaniel. We talk about his nationally distributed documentary 'The Clinton 12', working with James Earl Jones, how he got his start as a founder of the Secret City and Knoxville Film Festivals, his commitment to Indie Creatives, and how he lost 130 pounds, and much, much more. Enjoy!

More About Keith McDaniel

Keith McDaniel is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and oral historian. For more than 20 years, Keith has been engaging audiences with the stories of the people, places and events that have shaped East Tennessee. His films have been screened for audiences around the world and have garnered numerous favorable reviews and recognition. His film SECRET CITY: THE OAK RIDGE STORY shared what it was like to be a part of creating the world’s first atomic bombs during the Manhattan Project and the scientific advancements that were made in the years following World War II. The 2-part film series VALLEY OF INDEPENDENCE tells about the early settlers of Grainger County, Tennessee and the significant events that shaped the region’s history. And in his film THE CLINTON 12, which most people consider his greatest achievement, Keith recounts the turbulent events of the 1956 integration of Clinton High School in Clinton, Tennessee.

In addition to the 12 documentary films he has written and directed during his career, Keith has also conducted more than 500 on-camera, long-form oral history and documentary interviews. Keith is also a professor of film and special projects manager for the marketing department of his alma mater - Carson-Newman University.

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Knoxville Film Festival




Secret City: The Oakridge Story (documentary)

The Clinton 12 (documentary)

Nashville Film Festival

James Earl Jones (actor)

Discovery Channel

Regal Cinemas

Dogwood Arts

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

It’s a Southern Thing

Mitch Rouse (actor)

Dylan Baker (actor)


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