Illuminating the humanity of lesbian hate crime murder victim
Talana Kreeger and the resilience of her community
Park View had its Pacific Northwest premiere at the Portland Film Festival in Oregon, where Tab Ballis participated in the Ethics in Documentary Filmmaking panel!
Park View was honored to receive the Audience Choice award from the True Crime Film Fest, at the historic Strand Theater in Marietta, Georgia, where director Cameron Munson has created an event that honors victims and survivors of crime!
Lynette Miller and Kris Dempsey represented well at the 2021 Out at the Movies International Film Festival in Winston-Salem for the North Carolina premiere of Park View, as we carry Talana's story to other communities that can learn from the strength and resilience of the one in Wilmington!
On the 30th anniversary of Talana Kreeger's murder, February 22, 2020, the local preview of Park View in Wilmington, NC had a packed audience in the Church of the Good Shepherd... the only congregation in 1990 that would host the funeral of a lesbian.
"Stories such as the ones told in Park View are important to tell, to share, and to learn from. Let us amplify them, and thereby amplify each other and the community at large."
Until 1990, the oak-lined historic district of Wilmington, North Carolina, was ensconced within hundreds of square miles of wetlands that fed the Cape Fear River. Two-lane highways that were prone to flooding barely reached the quaint riverfront that the railroads had abandoned decades before. The completion of Interstate 40, in 1990, beckoned a stream of visitors and developers that brought change to the region that has outpaced the infrastructure, over three decades later.
Tourists from the interior cities of Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Charlotte, would more frequently traverse this isolated backwater, on their way to beach vacations. Attitudes towards race, religion, economics, and social norms that had not been directly confronted by external realities since Reconstruction, would soon be challenged by the sheer volume of vehicles entering the city with their human cargo. Eventually, a film studio emerged from the black earth of the Smith Creek watershed, as if it had been smuggled the full length of I-40 by the Los Angeles transplants that came with it.
Near the sprawling State Ports of the Cape Fear, the Park View Grill overlooked the spillway of Greenfield Lake, as it had for decades, with a fresh look, and a different clientele. The visibility of this small bar made it quite accessible to those who steered through the 90-degree bend, where 3rd Street became Carolina Beach Road, in search of a beer and a game of pool.
In 1990, few resources for queer people existed in Southeastern North Carolina, though a local advocacy organization, GROW, had made early progress in collecting information on hate crimes, in an effort to inform and motivate the criminal justice system. The bars were the only places where LGBTQ individuals, from the largely isolated rural areas surrounding Wilmington, could socialize and share information, in relative safety.
In the 1980s, particularly, this community had witnessed a seemingly continual string of violent crimes that were motivated by intolerance towards sexual minorities. Not coincidentally, the mood of the nation had become immersed in conservative rhetoric that gave credence to the homophobic rants of public figures like Anita Bryant. The murder of Talana Kreeger shattered the tenuous sense of security that had existed at the Park View Grill, further alienating a group of people who were already isolated in their families and their community.