HELLO AMERICA!—There are numerous reports from young filmmakers throughout the country that they are confused concerning marketable “storylines” for their assigned film projects on a personal level or a school assignment. For example, students at Los Angeles City College, as well as those matriculating at College of Marin in northern California, are in agreement that their film students are totally confused as to what kind of world they are dealing with.
“There is so much division, real hate between cultures and races as well as political beliefs,” Frank Crosby Film Department head at COM, San Rafael. “Many of our students are fearful of broaching their beliefs on any public controversial concern.”
Speaking with several LACC students about the controversy, they immediately reacted in a very hostel vocal way when mentioning anything concerning foreign students from other countries who, in their observation, have taken over student campus work positions, student grants and other federal sponsored programs which served as a very powerful impact on being selected at a four-year university or college.
William Miller, philosophy prof. voiced his opinion concerning the current cultural attitudes of students with whom he is involved. Sadly, during our many talks about the changes in our society when it involves people of other cultures and or religion, there seems to be very little understanding and laced with an attitude which harbors the belief there is no great desire to change things. Many of these students seem to enjoy the idea of building fences involving telling stories, those that make life less confusing and complicated.
Then there are those students from other countries such as South America, Mexico and even mid-eastern countries who paint a different picture of America, one that is quite different from the one many Americans preach about when visiting other countries. They are shocked, seriously disturbed to find the kind of racial prejudice, religious bigotry and political ideas which seem to represent and ultimately destroyed so many European nations during the twentieth century. When reading about Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, constant wars being waged in every corner of the globe in search of peace but instead giving birth to newer reasons to spill blood and hate around the globe.
Young filmmakers are searching for stories that are unique, pure Americana, ones which made millions of people want to come to America. They represented genuine freedom, an opportunity to experiment and grow. They hungered to experience the AMERICA which millions of people packed the ships and boats to reach Ellis Island; just viewing the Statue of Liberty raising her torch of freedom high in the sky was well worth the bumpy journey itself.
Every student, teacher, religious leader I spoke with expressed the belief that if we take time to rediscover this country, filmmakers, musicians, artist and story-tellers will again be able to rise with the kind of pride and power which made this nation of ours an exciting journey of experimentation again.