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Keith McDaniel

Filmmaker, Historian

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Keith McDaniel is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and oral historian. For more than 20 years, Keith has been engaging audiences with the stories of the people, places and events that have shaped East Tennessee. His films have been screened for audiences around the world and have garnered numerous favorable reviews and recognition. 


Keith's film SECRET CITY: THE OAK RIDGE STORY shared what it was like to be a part of creating the world’s first atomic bombs during the Manhattan Project and the scientific advancements that were made in the years following World War II. The 2-part film series VALLEY OF INDEPENDENCE tells about the early settlers of Grainger County, Tennessee and the significant events that shaped the region’s history. And in his film THE CLINTON 12, which most people consider his greatest achievement, Keith recounts the turbulent events of the 1956 integration of Clinton High School in Clinton, Tennessee


In addition to the 12 documentary films he has written and directed during his career, Keith has also conducted more than 500 on-camera, long-form oral history and documentary interviews. Keith is also a professor of film and special projects manager for the marketing department of his alma mater - Carson-Newman University. And, as he says “in his spare time” he is the founder and director of the Knoxville Film Festival – now in its 18th year. Oak Ridge historian Ray Smith said, “Keith is a master storyteller whose talent and insight into the history of our region will have a significant impact for generations.” 


A native East Tennessean, Keith makes his home in Oak Ridge with his wife of 29 years, Dana, and their two sons Ethan and Bailey.

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The Knoxville Film Festival

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