FIRE IN THE HEARTLAND
Documentary/Action/Drama – 2013 – USA – 86 Minutes – Unrated
Fire in the Heartland: Kent State, May 4th, and Student Protest in America is a documentary film about a generation of young people, who stood up to speak their minds against social injustice in some of our nation’s most turbulent and transformative years, the 1960s through the 1970s. On May 4th, 1970, thirteen of these young Americans were shot down by the National Guard in an act of violence against unarmed students that has never been fully explained. Four, Jeffery Miller, Sandy Scheuer, Bill Shroeder and Allison Krause, were killed. Immediately afterward the largest student strikes and student protests in history swept across 3,000 campuses nationwide, punctuated ten days later by the shooting of African American students at Jackson State University. There, James Earl Green and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs were killed. This student protest in America did not arise from nowhere. At the same time that authorities from Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey to Richard Nixon and Governor Rhodes acted as if the protesters were wrong, they were not, and by May 4 1970, the majority of the American people agreed with the views of the students. They represented an active critical voice that questioned the terrible and continuing violence against African Americans and the white students who rose to support them, and the perpetration of a war that killed millions of Vietnamese people and more than 50,000 Americans while the news of the war brought back to students–potential draftees and friends and relatives of the dead and wounded Vietnam veterans–stories of epic corruption. The story is a personal story for those who tell it and for every viewer who lived through these times, but also for their sons and daughters, and for all Americans. This is not just the story of a violent turning point, because these young people were not the supporters of violence. It is most of all about a hoped for new day for a generation and the music, art, literature, and politics that accompanied it. This personal story is told by over 20 voices of those people at Kent who lived through the movement. It began in alliance with the civil rights struggles, with silent vigils and education efforts, it grew into massive demonstrations, sit-ins, strikes, and activist protests, and this movement went on after the tragic events of May 4. The voices include men and women, activists, musicians, attorneys, teachers, historians, journalists, photographers, veterans, musicians, poets and artists. This is their story and a story of all times when human beings are faced with injustice and are asked to choose—to stand by or to stand up, to stay silent or to raise a voice, to stay safe or to put themselves at risk, sometimes at very great risk. This is a story that resonates as much today as it did in the 1960s and 1970s. Fire in the Heartland: Kent State, May 4th, and Student Protest in America tells you about more than the shocking events of May 4, 1970. Forget what you think you know, and discover the larger truth of a generation.
Directed by Daniel Miller
SPECIAL LIMITED ENGAGEMENT – ONE NIGHT ONLY – THURSDAY, MAY 07 AT 6 PM
Speakers/Audience Discussion led by Filmmaker: Director/Producer/Screenwriter Dan Miller and associates from film
Daniel Miller, Ph.D.: Producer, writer, director, and director of photography for Fire in the Heartland. Dan Miller was born and raised in Ohio, and attended Kent State University from 1968 through 1970. While he was there, his brother, David, served in Vietnam. He is now a professor at the University of Oregon, the founder and director of the Oregon Documentary Project (ODP), a documentary film photographer, producer, and director, and a scholar of film history, in particular of Vietnam and of documentaries of war and conflict. His films include Fire in the Heartland, Making Pictures: Photojournalism in a Community Newspaper, What They Could Carry: an Honoring Ceremony for the Victims of Japanese Internment, Dream to Fly (Howard Hughes and his Aviation Achievements), The New House (A History of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium), Ninos del Campos (migrant education), The Wall (the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall). He has contributed to numerous other films as a photographer, director of photography and cinematographer. Dan is the faculty advisor and executive producer of more than 50 award-winning public broadcast student-produced documentaries focused on making a difference in Oregon, many with Emmy awards. He has received commendation letters from the Governor and National prison reform advocates for his work with students in Oregon Prisons. His Oregon Documentary Project (ODP) website is available at http://odp.uoregon.edu. Fire in the Heartland is the most important work he has accomplished in his career till now.
Encircle Films is collaborating with Community Alliance of Lane County for this event and we appreciate the following organizations for endorsing this event: U/O Beyond War, U/O Multicultural Center, National Association For The Advancement of Colored People, Black Student Union, LCC Peace Center, Eugene PeaceWorks, Eugene Media Action, Progressive Voices, Women’s Action for New Directions.