by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
Who will never look at tiki torches the same? Oh, it’s #Charlottesville flashbacks, that mob who tried to destroy the reputation of the Commonwealth of Virginia, home to more US Presidents than any other state. That old tourist ad slogan “Virginia Is For Lovers” has now been flipped on its head. What are we to do? Well, First Run Features President Seymour Wishman has a few ideas. This came to my inbox this morning, likely saved my day, because we are all powerless at this moment in history, powerless to change hearts and minds, and just compelled to not engage, to do our jobs and run our lives… or figure out something like this.
Open Letter From FIRST RUN FEATURES
President Seymour Wishman Dated Aug. 17, 2017
First Run Features was founded to make available independent films, mostly social/political issue documentaries, to the public. The kind of tough, insightful, sometimes outrageous titles we’ve distributed in theaters, schools and on television and home video over the last 40 years comprises the largest collection of films dealing with civil rights and the plight of the underdog in America.
The recent actions of neo-nazis, KKK, white supremacists, racists and anti-Semites in Charlottesville reinforces our commitment to expose the evil and danger these people represent. One of the first films we distributed and still do is Blood in the Face produced by Village Voice contributor James Ridgeway, Academy Award nominee Anne Bohlen and The Atomic Cafe producer Kevin Rafferty, and featuring interviews with Michael Moore. The film includes rare archival footage, interviews, and promotional materials that reveal the inner workings of the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, the Aryan Nation, The Order, and other radical right groups who speak of imminent race wars, Armageddon, the Holocaust hoax, interracial breeding, the Christian Identity faith, the hordes of foreign troops poised to attack America, and ZOG (The Zion Occupation Government).
Almost 40 years later we began distributing Welcome to Leith, which chronicles the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As his behavior becomes more threatening, tensions soar, and the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. With incredible access to both longtime residents of Leith and white supremacists, the film examines a small community in the plains struggling for sovereignty against an extremist vision.
Today First Run has about 500 films in our collection, with a number that also deal with the threat of the far right. I am particularly eager for as many people as possible to see Blood in the Face and Welcome to Leith and would like to offer them on DVD at a discounted price of $5 through 8/31. Use coupon code FIGHTHATE at www.firstrunfeatures.com. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
– Seymour Wishman
President, First Run Features
Here’s a Quick Education On The Movies He Mentions
Blood in the Face
“A jaw-dropping view of America’s white supremacy movement. Rare archival footage, darkly humorous interviews, and their own promotional materials bring to light the inner workings of the Ku Klux Klan and other radical right groups.” Read on…
Welcome to Leith
“Welcome to Leith chronicles the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As his behavior becomes more threatening, the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor.” Read on…
I’m not on their payroll, and haven’t seen all of the movies Mr. Wishman recommends, but it lifted me up just a little bit to read this, and hopefully it lifts you up for the day too.
None are immune from the viral phenomenon of this piercing cacophony of raised voices, sweaty faces, burning torches, in words or in imagery out in our world. We will remember #heatherheyer out loud.
Next there’s Barcelona, Spain, another vehicle-rage incident cut to fit somebody’s agenda. After that, who knows, but without looking away, we can look into ourselves and look at each other, and say ‘Not Me, Friend, Not Me,’ and light a candle – held up in trust for the future and for the fallen.
Back to the movies… see you in the audience soon.
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