February 21 & April 26-29, 2021

Thumbs Up for Mother Universe

See All Screenings


After the world gave up on Lonnie Holley, the Universe sent him the gift of art. Born, one of 27 children in Jim Crow Alabama, Holley was stolen away as an infant and sold for a pint of whiskey. Growing up in grinding poverty and abuse on society’s margins left its scars. At age 28, Holley discovers making things quiets the demons that haunt him to this day. He begins to make art out of what the rest of us throw away—trash, garbage and debris. Now, nearing 70 years of age, his artwork sits in the Smithsonian, the National Gallery, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while his music has garnered international critical acclaim for its stirring soulful depth. Thumbs Up for Mother Universe tells the story of how Lonnie Holley overcame the longest of odds to become an unlikely art superstar.

Filmmaker Biographies

George King is a writer/producer/director of nonfiction film, television and radio projects. His work has consistently won national and international awards (Peabody, Cine Golden Eagles, Golden Reels, nominated for Prix Italia, etc.) and garnered revues in the U.S. national and regional press (CNN, NYT, L.A Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, etc.).

King’s work addresses diverse subjects including race, civil rights, art & culture, the environment, labor, education, poverty, housing, and community development. He has always involved broad community participation to ensure the work accurately reflects historical and cultural truths. in this documentary, in addition to community screenings, King also worked closely with African American colleagues such as artist/activist Charmaine Minniefield, and filmmakers Sam Pollard and Lewis Erskine as a core team.


Online Screenings

To reserve tickets, please connect with the Screening Partner closest to you.

February 21, 2021.

April 26-29, 2021.