Local Filmmaker Working on Documentary on Social Justice Activist

Local filmmaker Rob Fiks has a story to tell and he’s using a kickstarter funding campaign to make it a big-screen reality.

PHOTO | Courtesy Rob Fiks

PHOTO | Courtesy Rob Fiks

Fiks of Aspen Hill has been working on a story called Letters to Zion, the story  of the life of Marylander Duane “Shorty” Davis, Sr., a hustler turned-social justice activist; a BBQ cook and storyteller.

He turned to a kickstarter campaign to help provide $11,000 in funding to hire producers to get work done on it.

“It wasn’t until kickstarter that this hit a true phase of getting it done,” Fiks said.

Fiks got interested in the project in February of 2007 after he met “Shorty” Davis by chance a few months earlier when he was a Towson University film student. Fiks  shot a short film at his BBQ establishment.

“A few months later he called to tell me that his son was killed in a botched robbery that his son was involved in. He called to tell me that he wasn’t satisfied with the investigation and that he was going home to bury his son. About a month later he sent me a packet containing documents related to his son’s case and about his life in the small cities of Zion and Waukegan, Illinois. I began filming interviews of Shorty in the spring of 2007 and I’ve continued all the way until now,” Fiks said.

Shorty gained more notoriety when he began decorating toilets in the form of protest art and therapy.

Fiks’ documentary is an effort to tell his life story and he said it is about 60 percent completed. He said his goal is to get into a top documentary film festival.

“This is a story about reinvention. It is a story about an underdog changing the way he lives his life to better himself. I admire his reinvention,” Fiks said.

You can find his kickstarter campaign here. Read more about the documentary here.


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Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


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