World Premiere at the 11th Global Nonviolent Film Festival

By Will Espero

Lewes is the oldest town in Delaware established in 1631. It is a coastal rural community which has significantly evolved over the years. 3 Degrees of Connection is a feature documentary by director Brad Mays telling the story and history of Lewes through a series of interviews with residents engaged and involved in the changing face of the town. From a farming environment, to a fishing industry, a retirement community, and a growing tourist destination; this film addresses the changing population, landscape, economics, environmental issues and social impacts Lewes had and will continue to endure.

Gentrification is depicted as a once-populated black community is pushed out for new residential projects and commercial pursuits. Environmental concerns  such as drainage, flooding, and preservation of wetlands are also addressed and discussed.

Stories from residents about music, sports, education, and racism convey their up-bringing and add a nostalgic touch and important conversations which must be preserved and remembered.

Director Brad Mays

A veteran of dozens of stage, television and independent film productions spanning some thirty years, Brad Mays’ professional experience began with an internship at the McCarter Theatre’s resident repertory company in 1970 in Princeton, New Jersey. By the age of 18, he was directing main stage productions at Baltimore’s Corner Theatre experimental theatre company; during this time, he also became interested in film making.

In 1982, Mays moved to New York City, where he directed a number of off-Broadway stage productions, including Requiem by Linda Chambers, Dragon Slayers by Stanley Keyes, and the acclaimed The Water Hen by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz. During this time he also produced and directed his first feature-length film, Stage Fright, which was premiered at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival.

After relocating to Hollywood in 1989, Brad Mays worked in a variety of capacities: screenwriter, script doctor, post production supervisor, producer, editor and director. He also staged a number of highly-acclaimed and award-nominated theatrical productions: Joan by Linda Chambers, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade by Peter Weiss, a highly controversial multimedia production of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, and the critically acclaimed 1997 hit production of Euripides’ The Bacchae, which he adapted to film in 2002.

In 2008, Mays completed work on the documentary film SING*ularity, a portrait of Ann Baltz’s world-famous OperaWorks training program for classical vocalists. Mays’ 2008 romantic comedy feature, The Watermelon, was featured at the 2008 San Diego Film Festival, was recipient of the Diamond Award at the 2011 California Film Festival, and is currently in national distribution. Other films include the feature-length political documentary The Audacity of Democracy, the multiple award-winning short A Way Back In, the award-nominated 2011 comedy web series Customer Diss-service, and the 2012 comedy short, The Donut Shop, winner of The People’s Choice Award at the 2012 San Francisco Black Film Festival, and Best Comedy at the 2013 San Diego Black Film Festival.

In 2009, Mays was invited by producer Annie Wong to participate – along with Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, theatre scholar Richard Schechner, and acclaimed actor Alan Cumming – in a discussion about The Bacchae for the acclaimed PBS series An Invitation to World Literature, which is now a permanent feature of Annenberg Media’s educational website.

Mays’ most recent feature films are the documentary I Grew Up In Princetown, a unique exploration of what life was like in the shadow of one of the world’s great universities during the cultural and political upheavals of the late 60s/early 70s; Road Rage, a bleak comedy about falling in hate, which premiered in March of 2016; Aiden’s Butterflies, a short film portrait of a young boy who is doing his part to save Moncarch Butterflies from extinction; and Jubilate Trego, a loving feature tribute to one of the greatest American choral directors of the 20th century. His feature documentary Two Trentons – an Official Selection at the 11th Global Nonviolent Film Festival – won an Honorable Mention award at the Trenton International Film Festival.

Capturing the sense of a community in transition from past to future through a multi-lensed present, 3 Degrees Of Connection takes a clear-eyed, hard look at issues of the environmental and racial concerns of one of America’s most popular retirement communities, Lewes, Delaware. Gentrification, mismanagement of marshlands, and development run amok are among the many themes expressed in this film.

Brad Mays

3 Degrees Of Connection is an Official Selection at the 2022 edition of the Global Nonviolent Film Festival, and it can be watched from September 29 to October 10 on D!