On June 18, 2022, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences: Southeast Chapter named producers Robert St. John and Anthony Thaxton winners of the Regional Emmy for Outstanding Documentary—Historical at the Southeast EMMY® Awards. Anthony Thaxton’s son, Bryant Thaxton, also received the Outstanding Musical Composition/Arrangement award for his musical score for the documentary. The awards recognize their film, Walter Anderson: The Extraordinary Life and Art of The Islander, which premiered on Mississippi Public Broadcasting last November.
“My co-producer did the heavy lifting on this project,” St. John said. “Anthony directed, wrote, edited, filmed and sounded the whole thing. We were a two-man production team. I’m proud to have participated, and proud now that the documentary is spreading nationally. Our goal from day one was to make sure people from Portland Oregon to Portland Maine would know about the genius of Mississippian Walter Anderson, the man and his art.
Robert St. John and Anthony Thaxton discussed the idea of creating this documentary three and a half years ago while filming the PBS series Palate to Palette at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.
“It was a labor of love,” said Thaxton, a watercolor artist himself who has always admired Anderson. He is thrilled with the film’s critical acclaim and popular response. “Walter Anderson is a treasure from Mississippi, and producing this new look at his life and art with Robert St. John has been an honor.”
Through harrowing family interviews, never-before-seen artwork and jaw-dropping footage of Anderson’s beloved Horn Island, the filmmakers presented a new look at the genius who has been called “the greatest southern artist.
This dream team from St. John and Thaxton has also created a visual masterpiece in the form of a companion book that shares the title of the documentary film. This gorgeous 276-page coffee table book spent 19 weeks on the Mississippi Reads bestseller list with 5 weeks in the #1 slot.
The Regional Emmy® Awards are presented in nineteen regions of the United States. The Southeast Chapter ceremony was held on Saturday, June 18 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead. The documentary Walter Anderson: The Extraordinary Life and Art of The Islander was nominated in four categories, winning the statuettes for two.
The film will air nationwide on US public television stations in August as well as several shows the same month on World Channel, another PBS network operated by WGBH Boston.