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May 20th
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Articles - Reviews
Friday, 09 May 2008

On the Line coverOn the Line is a 55-minute film that tells the story of the history of the movement to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC with a fresh perspective.

“So much had happened to the protest and to the country as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks,” said the film’s producer Ron Schmidt, SJ, “that we couldn’t tell the new story of the SOA protest without connecting it to post-9/11 America.”

One of the greatest strengths of the film is its cast. Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon offer their first in-depth interviews on the protest, and Fr. Roy Bourgeois gives powerful insight to the history of the movement and the ironies of the Bush Administration. Confessions of an Economic Hitman author John Perkins presents illuminating connections between the SOA and the dark side of American foreign policy, and former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) gives surprising challenge to post-9/11 policies on torture and the chilling of dissent. The documentary also follows one protestor named Brian DeRouen from his compelling experiences in war-torn El Salvador to deciding to “cross the line” at Ft. Benning, risking time in prison.

“Because the celebrities attract a broader audience, we wanted to make a film that didn’t put people off by presenting one side of the story. We wanted to make new audiences think,” said the film’s co-director Peter Glenn, who claims that giving Columbus, Georgia city officials the chance to present their genuine views in the film has been crucial to its success. “We have real concerns about American foreign policy and torture at the SOA, but these issues aren’t black and white. If audiences leave the film asking tough questions, then we’ve done our job as filmmakers.”

Sr. Katherine Feely, SND, of the Center of Concern saw On the Line in November and immediately saw its potential in an educational context. She says the film “raises thought-provoking questions about whether such policies are truly about democracy and freedom, or really about preserving U.S. corporate and economic interests.”  She recently created a downloadable study guide that can be used to put On the Line to use in classrooms and with peace and justice groups.

In less than six months, the filmmakers have already sold thousands of DVDs and arranged a TV debut on the Middle East’s Al Jazeera network. It screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Market in May of 2008. At the market, it was picked up for international distribution. The film recently won a Silver Telly Award in the Social Issues category.

View the trailer: 

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written by T. Joy Nichols, June 09, 2009
I feel that this video does not provide enough factual, statistical info for people who may be ignorant of what WHINSEC (SOA) is all about. It is so provocative that skeptical or conservative or ultra-patriotic Americans who might be willing to take a closer look at it, may refuse to watch it, assuming it is some kind of "left wing" propaganda. Those of us who know better will watch it and feel it is "preaching to the choir." I hope there are some other, more informative trailers out there for this film, which I will watch and promote.
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