Lee and Joy PenningtonWhen Lee & Joy Pennington began JoLe Productions in 1990, their concept was to use as little and as small equipment as possible in order to be able to get into places and capture stories that otherwise might be missed. Throughout the world, many of the “old things” and “old ways” were disappearing. It was on those things that soon would be lost that they focused their attention.

Producing A Documentary

In producing a documentary, the Penningtons always do extensive research. “That’s just part of our method,” says Lee. “We read hundreds of books and articles and visit museums and talk with people. By the time we actually put the piece together, we’ve generally got enough information for a half dozen or more documentaries.”

In Search of the Mudmen

In Search of the MudmenWith not much more than an 8mm video camera, they made their way into the jungles of Papua New Guinea where they filmed their first piece, In Search of the Mudmen (1990). “It was very exciting,” the couple recall. “It felt like stepping back into the stone age and being able to get on film rituals and scenes that were thousands of years old. The footage is pretty bad compared to today’s standards,” says Lee laughing, “but it’s still a piece we’re both fond of. In a sense it was a disappearing moment caught in time. We’re proud of that even if the piece is a bit shaky and fuzzy.”

The Gospel Ship

Not all of the Penningtons’ documentaries have been done on exotic places. Their second production was The Gospel Ship, an interview with Lee’s mother who was 92 years old at the time. “She was born in 1900,” says Lee. “She lived through the entire 20th Century and had witnessed the coming of automobiles, airplanes, radio, television, and computers. Her insight on so many things was just exceptional.”

Verne Spratt Keeper of the Stones, 1992; Cliffs of Mystery; and Good Roads, Good Water: The Life of Verne Spratt

Vern Spratt Keeper of the StonesThey also did three documentaries on a disabled West Virginia coal miner who had moved to Eastern Kentucky in the 1950’s and had some ancient, mysterious stone works on his land. Verne Spratt was the subject of: Verne Spratt: Keeper of the Stones (1992), Cliffs of Mystery (1992) and Good Roads, Good Water: The Life of Verne Spratt (1996).

Petroglyphs of Polynesia

Petroglyphs of PolynesiaThe South Pacific called them back on several occasions and resulted in Petroglyphs of Polynesia (1992) and Sinoto: Polynesian Legend (1993). “I think,” says Lee, “it was during this time we began to sense the overwhelming force of synchronicity. For example, we were on the island of Raiatea and were looking for someone who could talk about petroglyphs. Not only did we find someone, we found a person, Johnny Brotherson, who could read the petroglyphs, something archaeologists said no one could do. Johnny took us into the mountains, and we filmed petroglyphs that fewer than twenty people in the 20th Century had even seen. Also, on the island of Huahina we were trying to find someone who could talk to us on camera about the marae, the outdoor temples of the ancient Polynesians. So who shows up but the famous archaeologist, Yoshihiko Sinoto, the very person who had reconstructed all the maraes on the island! Sinoto spent four days going with us around the island and explaining his work."

Wales: History in Bondage

Wales History in BondageIn 1995 JoLe Productions released Wales: History in Bondage a piece that focuses on the English destruction and cover-up of Welsh history, including some rather clear evidence that Wales’ most famous native son, King Arthur, was real and not some imaginary figure. According the Welsh records, Arthur was the brother of another “legendary” figure—Prince Madoc.

Prince Madoc: Fact or Fiction

In 1997 JoLe Productions released Prince Madoc: Fact or Fiction.

Secret of the Stones

Secret of the Stones1997 took the Penningtons to South America where they filmed Secret of the Stones, an exploration in search of Viracocha, the bearded stranger who came from the sea and brought civilization to the South Americans. At Tiahuanaco, in Bolivia, the Penningtons found evidence that a great civilization flourished there 17,000 years ago! Following the lead of Thor Heyerdahl, their work in South America pointed them toward Easter Island, perhaps the most remote inhabited piece of land on the planet. Researchers still haven’t been able to solve to everyone’s satisfaction just how the natives transported the megalithic statues around the island. “We made two film trips to Easter Island,” says Lee, “one in 1997, Hotel Gomero: A Family Affair, and another in December-January at the Millennium change, Eyes That Look At The Sky: The Mystery Of Easter Island, perhaps their most highly acclaimed documentary. “We spent so much time at the archaeological sites that the moai actually felt like they had become our friends."

The Mound Builders

The Mound BuildersTenacity has also been a part of the Penningtons’ experience. They spent ten years and drove more than 10,000 miles filming The Mound Builders (2001). “At the time,” says Joy, “we were teaching. So we took weekends and summers to go do the filming” (Lee and Joy taught nearly forty years in Kentucky before retiring from the University of Kentucky Jefferson Community College in Louisville in 1999). “The Mound Builders is pretty special to us,” says Lee, “not only because of the amount of time we spent on it. But people tell us it’s the most comprehensive thing ever done on the subject.”

The Serpent Fort: Solving the Mystery of Fort Mountain, Georgia

The Serpent Fort: Solving the Mystery of Fort Mountain, GeorgiaOne such research project took them high in the mountains of North Georgia where a thousand foot long stone structure has for years baffled professionals and amateurs alike. Who built the wall and when, and what was its purpose, have long been the subject of speculation. Some say the wall was built by Indians; others say it was built by Europeans, in particular, by a group of Welshmen led by Prince Madoc. The Cherokee simply say the wall was built by a “moon-eyed” people. The Penningtons made several trips to the wall and actually stayed on Fort Mountain to film and study it. Their research led to a major discovery as to what the wall is and what was the wall’s purpose. In 2005 they completed The Serpent Fort: Solving the Mystery of Fort Mountain, Georgia, a documentary that answers some major questions concerning the wall.

The Depot Museum, a Walking Tour of Fort Payne’s Unique Piece of History

In 2006 they finished The Depot Museum, A Walking Tour of Fort Payne’s Unique Piece of History (done exclusively for the Ft. Payne, AL Depot Museum).

Tunnel of Time, A Tribute to Marion Dahm

Tunnel of Time, A Tribute to Marion DahmThey also completed Tunnel of Time, A Tribute to Marion Dahm, a grassroots Viking researcher who spent more than half of his life gathering evidence to prove his hypothesis.

Let Me Not Drown on the Waters: Fred Rydholm, Michigan's Mr. Copper

Fred RydholmIn 2008 they released a documentary on Fred Rydholm, the energetic, historic and much beloved storyteller from the Michigan Copper Country. "Fred was amazing," says Lee (Rydholm died in 2009 but got to see the documentary made about him). "When he walked into a room, he breathed new life into it. People traveled miles just to hear him speak." The Rydholm piece is one of JoLe Productions' best sellers.

Some Days You Clean, Some Days You Litter: The Amazing Warner Sizemore

Dr. Warner Sizemore and Lee

In 2012 they released a documentary on Dr. Warner Sizemore, the man, who upon reading Immanuel Velikovsky 's World in Collision and Ages in Chaos, dropped everything and became the controversial scientist's right-hand man. An amazing story about an amazing man.

Room to Fly: Anne Caudill's Album

Anne Caudill

Released in 2013, this documentary was the last one Joy and Lee worked on together before Joy's death in 2011. Anne Caudill is the widow of the late Harry Caudill, author of Night Comes to the Cumberlands, a book that woke up the world about the problems in Appalachia. Suddenly, following the book's publication, the world descended on the Caudill's modest home in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Literally thousands of people came to visit and Anne was the grand host to everyone.

Bosnian Pyramids Hidden History

Bosnian Pyramids

2015 saw the completion of a new film, Bosnian Pyramids Hidden History, based on the ten year work of Dr. Semir Osmanagich, who made the Bosnian pyramid discovery in 2005. In 2013, Lee Pennington and Jill Baker went to Bosnia and shot 40 plus hours of film concerning the research. This new film shows convincing evidence that, once accepted, will change totally the way we look at history. 30,000 years ago we were supposed to be savages, not builders of pyramids. Proof positive, "History is not what it used to be."

Seafaring Strangers: Vikings in America

In 2016, part I of Seafaring Strangers: Vikings in America was released. This is the grassroots section and concerns many people in the Midwest and their work on Viking research—including the more than 40 year effort of the late Marian Dahm. Lee and his late wife, Joy, began work on the film more than 15 years ago. Seafaring Strangers, although part of a three part series, stands alone as a complete film.

Gunung Padang: Monument to Atlantis

The year 2017 saw the release of an amazing documentary. Lee Pennington and Jill Baker traveled to Indonesia research and film Gunung Padang, a controversial structure on the island of Java. Dr. Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, a geologist with a PhD from Cal Tech, has determine Gunung Padang is a pyramid and its construction dates back far into the ice age. Lee’s new film details Natawidjaja’s controversial work that has now been stopped through efforts of Indonesian scientists. In the documentary Lee details much evidence for the actual location of Atlantis!

What's JoLe Productions working on now?

So what’s in the future for JoLe Productions? “Many feet of already shot films are in various stages of production,” says Lee Pennington.

Parts II, and III of Seafaring Strangers: Vikings in America are in the editing stage. Lee hopes to release the two remaining sections over the next two years.

“In addition, as always, some exciting, new or endangered evidence might just show itself on the horizon. When and if it does, we’ll be off and running, trying to capture it before it’s gone.”

Documentaries Produced

  • In Search of the Mudmen, 1990
  • The Gospel Ship, 1991
  • Verne Spratt Keeper of the Stones, 1992
  • Cliffs of Mystery, 1992
  • The Ticking Lizard, 1992
  • Petroglyphs of Polynesia, 1992
  • Sinoto Polynesian Legend, 1993
  • Out of the Way Places: Cutlass Bay Club, Cat Island, 1994
  • Wales: History in Bondage, 1995
  • Good Roads, Good Water: The Life of Verne Spratt, 1996
  • Prince Madoc: Fact or Fiction, 1997
  • Secret of the Stones, 1998
  • Stones That Whisper, 1998
  • Easter Island’s Hotel Gomero: A Family Affair, 2000
  • The Mound Builders, 2001
  • Eyes That Look at the Sky: the Mystery of Easter Island, 2001
  • Tell City: The First Fifty Years, 2003
  • The Serpent Fort (Solving the Mystery of Fort Mountain, GA), 2005
  • The Depot Museum: Fort Payne’s Unique Piece of History, 2006
  • Tunnel of Time (A Tribute to Marion Dahm), 2006
  • Let Me Not Drown on the Waters: Fred Rydholm, Michigan's "Mr. Copper", 2008
  • Some Days You Clean, Some Days You Litter: The Amazing Warner Sizemore, 2012
  • Room To Fly: Anne Caudill's Album, 2013
  • Bosnian Pyramids Hidden History, 2015
  • Seafaring Strangers: Vikings in America, Part I, 2016
  • Gunung Padang: Monument to Atlantis, 2017

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