Kent Williamson used film to tell the stories in the Charlottesville area and throughout the country through his company, Paladin Media Group.
On Friday, Williamson, 52, died along with three members of his extended family in a car crash in Berrien County, Michigan. According to a Facebook post, they were headed to see a movie.
The four were killed when another car ran a stop sign and hit their 2000 Honda Accord. Williamson was a passenger. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that both alcohol and speed appear to be factors in the crash.
The driver of the other car is in stable condition at an Indiana hospital, according to The Associated Press. The AP reported that the driver is on parole from the Michigan Department of Corrections. Once he can leave the hospital, officials said they will decide if he goes into local custody for pending charges or state custody on a parole violation.
The other victims in the crash were Robert Klint, 66; Melissa Klint, 60; Landyn Klint, 22, all from Sawyer, Michigan.
Williamson, a native of El Paso, Texas, and the father of six children, moved to Charlottesville in 1995 after falling in love with the town, he told The Daily Progress in 2016. Paladin Media Group provides high-quality media products for clients from the area and the country. Projects range from filming profiles of physicians to educational pieces, as well as documentaries.
In 2016, a documentary he directed was nominated for a regional Emmy. “By War & By God” tells the story of a group of Vietnam War veterans who returned to Vietnam to provide humanitarian aid.
Williamson told the Progress that his love of filmmaking kept him in the business over the years.
“We want to help people make better videos, and that’s what we do,” he said. “Doing what I do is my contribution to culture. This is how I do my part to help shape the culture around us. I’m very mindful that it’s a gift I’ve been given. So I feel a responsibility to our society to make films that improve our culture, rather than tear it down.”