Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Secondary school filmmakers make prize winning shorts on major political issues


WJLA (Channel 7, ABC) in Washington DC (actually Arlington VA) provides a story and external link about these politically charged student documentary films won prizes recently and will be shown on CSPAN or other networks in June 2007. The link is here.
On May 9, 2007, the story was reached from "Newslinks" (then "Iraq Documentary") on the WJLA home page and has the names and schools of many other prize winners.

The Grand Prize went to Zach Chastain, Bryan Cink, 12th & Ryan Kelly, 11th Grade,
"Jupiter or Bust: The El Sol Solution"
Jupiter High School, Jupiter, FL; to be distributed by Comcast, Air Date: 6/15/2007

This film (clip is 7.09) discusses the immigration issue for Jupiter, FL. Many of the immigrants come from Guatemala, and are descendents of the Mayan population that was the subject of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. When coffee prices fall (as documented in the film “Black Gold”) more of this population comes to the United States to look for construction jobs. Jupiter is typical of many sunbelt communities experiencing residential building booms capable of providing jobs, good paying and hard work.

A first prize went to Anthony Hernandez & Dustin Gillard, 11th Grade, "Our Duty", Austin High School, Austin, MN, to be distributed by Charter Communications of MN, Air Date: 6/13/2007

Austin, the home town of Hormel Foods (“Spam”) is located about 70 miles or so south of Minneapolis. Two high school students document the effect of the war in Iraq on military families and their support groups in Austin. Both Barach Obama and John McCain appear to take their positions on the current buildup in Iraq, which President Bush requested be accelerated in early 2007 and which Congress has recently tried to cap with legislation that Bush vetoed. The film implies that voters must decide ultimately what is “right” (as the filmmakers say at the end), but underneath the narrative is an implied concern of how the burden of the military service is shared, with the “back door draft” of multiple deployments from the volunteer military, even drawing down national guard deployments at home for disasters (like the recent tornadoes in Kansas). Tim Walz is also interviewed. When I lived in Minneapolis, a Unitarian fellowship where I once spoke about my books met in a national guard center in Rosemont.

A first prize for middle school goes to Ian Scott Wilson, 8th Grade, "When the Boys Come Home: The Controversy at Walter Reed", Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA, to be distributed by Cox Communications, Air Date: 6/14/2007

Station WLJA interviewed local middle school filmmaker Ian Scott Wilson. His film documents the controversy over the care given wounded veterans, often with amputations and other horrific injuries, at Walter Reed Medical Center in NE Washington NC on Georgia Ave. There are plans to combine Walter Reed with the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. The surgical and medical care in the hospital itself has been first rate, but the outpatient apartment complex in which the soldiers, still on active duty and subject to military regimentation, were housed has been a disgrace that led to the firings of some Pentagon officials. Wilson tried to get Senators Webb and Warner to talk to him, and they didn’t, but Republican congressman Tom Davis from Fairfax County VA was of considerable help. The film also interviews a Military Times editor presents Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

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