About the film

Inspired by the life of a deceased animal trainer, a young circus artist sets out on a journey across America to document and archive relatively unknown African-American circus performers.

“The Uncle Junior Project” follows Veronica Blair—a 20 something, professional circus performer/aerialist—on a personal journey of discovery. As she amazes audiences around the country with her own craft and artistry, she also begins to unconceal an important legacy in the long history of the American circus—the amazing African American circus performers who paved the way for her and so many others to wow audiences under the Big Top.

Central to Veronica’s inspiration is the legendary and largely un-credited circus performer Emanuel “Uncle Junior” Ruffin. This little-known pioneer has never been properly honored or acknowledged for his extraordinary contributions. Yet he played a pivotal and historic role in the social and artistic revolution that brought entertainers of color into the mainstream of our life.

Through a series of interviews, performance art pieces, moments of introspection, and stories well told, Veronica explores and debunks many of the misconceptions about circus life and the long history of this storied form of entertainment. Woven throughout, and tying the project together, is the story of Uncle Junior and several other notable performers, who each participate in their own special way in Veronica’s coming of age as a woman and performer.

The Uncle Junior Project is now apart of Fractured Atlas's fiscal sponsorship program! Fractured Atlas helps artists and arts organizations raise money from charitable sources, and  is a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Contributions for the purposes of The Uncle Junior Project are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. DONATE NOW!!