Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] SVS graduate in the news

From: Heidi Crane <>
Date: Sun Jun 13 21:05:00 2004

By making such documentaries, maybe this woman will "build" a way to SOLVE
some of the problems mentioned.



>From: "David Rovner" <>
>To: <>
>Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] SVS graduate in the news
>Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 18:17:12 +0200
>It's a pity you have to put your abilities to test by means of wars, local
>and/or foreign -- instead of "building" something !!
>~ David
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Mike Sadofsky" <>
>To: <>;
>Sent: Sunday, June 13, 2004 2:00 PM
>Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] SVS graduate in the news
> > An article concerning a Sudbury Valley School graduate appears today
> > in the MetroWest Daily News, a Framingham based newspaper.
> >
> >
> >
> > Article text follows:
> >
> >
> > >Filming the ravages of war: After winning Peabody Award, Holliston
>set to focus on Iraq
> > >By Mary Greendale / News Correspondent
> > >Sunday, June 13, 2004What does Laura Poitras, formerly of Holliston,
>in common with Tom Brokaw of NBC and with "60 Minutes"?
> > >
> > > Recently, they each received a Peabody Award, considered the most
>prestigious award for excellence in broadcast media. Poitras co-produced
>filmed the documentary film "Flag Wars" with Linda Goode Bryant.
> > >
> > > Now, with the Peabody added to her curriculum vita, Poitras is off
>to Iraq to film the U.S. and coalition nation-building efforts.
> > >
> > > Olde Towne East in Columbus, Ohio, the scene for "Flag Wars,"
>some resemblance to Iraq in that both are about conflicts that arise when
>outsiders arrive and impose change on existing residents.
> > >
> > > "Flag Wars" reveals the battle for the identity of a neighborhood
>working-class blacks. The newcomers were white gays and lesbians who were
>unwelcome in the suburbs.
> > >
> > > Their considerable resources and close-knit network made it
>for them to restore large, dilapidated houses to splendor. Gays proudly
>rainbow flags off front porches and in response, "blacks hung Black
>flags. Flags punctuated the landscape," Poitras said.
> > >
> > > To Poitras, "(This situation) provides a fascinating set of
>questions to explore. Would these two groups, who are both outsiders in the
>larger society, find common ground? How would class, race and sexuality
>impact how these communities were, and were not, able to live together?"
> > >
> > > Poitras explained, "I'm interested in making documentaries that
>honestly reveal human struggle and contradictions, and that don't provide
>easy answers. I'm also interested in making films that both make people
>uncomfortable and ask people to recognize the humanity that we all share."
> > >
> > > "Flag Wars"follows the stories of two blacks and a white lesbian
>Realtor. Linda Mitchell, a black woman with many emotional and medical
>problems, defiantly paints "not for sale" on her house.
> > >
> > > She is dragged into the legal system when she cannot pay to repair
>her house, which is in violation of building codes. After following her
>travails through the system, encountering some poignant and some humorous
>moments, the film closes with the lesbian Realtor, Nina, showing Mitchell's
>house to prospective buyers after Mitchell's death.
> > >
> > > The Realtor was unhappy with the film's portrayal of her, but
>Poitras was "pretty surprised that Nina was so unhappy with it. Others were
>happy. If the neighbors had organized to help Linda Mitchell fix up her
>house or raise money for her, that would have been a different story, but
>that's not what happened."
> > >
> > > The filmmaker explained that the story led them to film a
>conservative minister tearing the rainbow flag from the pole at the State
>House as well as the police guarding the Ku Klux Klan at a parade to show
>"there was a larger discrimination that the neighborhood had to confront.
>(All of that) puts the film into con."
> > >
> > > A Boston critic suggested that the picture left viewers "wondering
>(where) the big picture went," but declared the film worth seeing. Poitras
>responds by saying, "I am not a teacher trying to communicate information.
>Rather, I'm interested in finding stories that are unfolding in the moment,
>where I and the audience don't know where the journey will lead."
> > >
> > > Although she lived in a small town, Poitras explained that Sudbury
>Valley School in Framingham, the alternative school she attended from ages
>4-17, had "the philosophy that children are naturally curious and
>self-motivated to learn. I spent a lot of my time as a kid doing creative
>things -- drawing, painting. I grew up in the late '60s, early '70s, which
>was a very radical, counterculture time. Sudbury Valley was also a very
>radical place, philosophically. So I guess it didn't feel so small town
>because of what was happening in the world and what I saw on TV."
> > >
> > > Asked if she was afraid about going to Iraq, she said, "I'd be
>not to be, but I will learn as much as I can about personal security before
>I go."
> > >
> > > She will be embedded in the U.S. Army Civil Affairs Unit, a highly
>specialized division. These are not soldiers of war, but non-combat Army
>Reservists who are civilian experts in language, judicial and cultural
> > >
> > > They volunteer for yearlong service in war zones to help stabilize
>civilian populations. Poitras will film at Ft. Bragg, N.C., and take three
>trips to Iraq between June and January 2005 to record events as Iraq moves
>to sovereignty.
> > >
> > > About "Flag Wars," Poitras said, "I hope that people recognize the
>similarities between people. They make different choices, have different
>values, but maybe the story can build a bridge for understanding." The same
>might be said for her upcoming work in Iraq.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >( "Flag Wars" airs Tuesday, June 15 on PBS WGBH Channel 44 at 9 p.m. As
>Chris Barry of said, "Put simply, this is a documentary
>you really should see. It might make you look at your own attitudes to your
>neighbors just a )
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Received on Sun Jun 13 2004 - 21:04:15 EDT

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