BILL TRAYLOR: CHASING GHOSTS is an inventive feature documentary capturing the vivid life of Bill Traylor, who in his late 80s, living homeless on the streets of Montgomery, produced a body of extraordinary art. Born into slavery in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama, Traylor witnessed profound social and political change during his life — spanning slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration. The transcendent surprise is while Traylor kept to himself leading an unassuming life, he was nurturing a remarkable creative gift that would not be expressed for decades. In his later years, Traylor poured out his memories, drawing and painting over 1,000 pieces of art.
Using historic and cultural context, BILL TRAYLOR: CHASING GHOSTS is designed to bring the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s incomparable art to life. Tap dance, evocative period and original music, and dramatic readings are used in surprising ways in the film, balanced with insightful perspectives from Traylor family members and expert interviews.