Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Memphis-Made Doc Set for World and Tennessee Premieres-- Asks a Key Question in the Trump Era

Paul Garner films police seconds before they arrest him on MLK Day 2017
Photo by Aaron Murphy, Hive Swarm News & Media
The Memphis-made documentary Who Will Watch the Watchers? will have its Tennessee Premiere Thursday Sept. 28 at the University of Memphis.
The film is set in the local and national context of 21st Century hot topics, such as filming police, Black Lives Matter, dissent in the Trump era and citizens getting “woke” to a society that leaves many behind.
The screening will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 250 of the Art and Communication Building, 3575 Central Avenue, and is free and open to the public.  There will be a panel discussion afterwards.  The screening is hosted by the Political Police Project under Honors Research Fellow Nic Bradley.
Who Will Watch the Watchers? will have its World Premiere in Los Angeles Sept. 15 at the Justice on Trial Film Festival.
Told as a real-time narrative, rather than an archival-type documentary, the film tracks the grassroots movement of Memphis United to revive citizen oversight of police through City Hall in an election year.  The film timeline reaches into 2017 and follows local and national events along the way.
 “This is a people’s story, a people’s history, of citizens trying to make change within the system and seeking to fix the police-community divide,” said filmmaker Gary Moore.  “The film examines the expanding ways we have seen police, due to dash cams and cell phones, and ways law enforcement and politicians counter free speech and deflect their own accountability.
“The film includes never-before-seen footage and some content that would not make it into mainstream media. ”
Filming took place over a three-year period and began after citizens were arrested while filming police, such as at Manna House homeless refuge and a Trolley Night hip-hop event.  It’s a roller coaster for citizens such as Paul Garner, organizing director at the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center, who was arrested for filming police, then led Memphis United in a movement to bring back the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board.   In the middle of the campaign, a Memphis patrolman shot and killed unarmed teenager Darrius Stewart after a traffic stop.  The film also spans developments such as the Hernando DeSoto Bridge shutdown in 2016 and the city’s February 2017 blacklist, or A-List, of citizens who were ordered to be escorted by police while in City Hall.
Civil Rights hero and Freedom Rider Dr. Rip Patton of Nashville narrates the opening and closing sequences of the film.
The film has not been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.  It includes graphic violence and profanity.
Members of the discussion panel will be named later.
Audience members also will be invited to provide feedback and criticism to the filmmaker via a voluntary survey. 
Moore Media & Entertainment previously produced the role-reversal comedy short, "The Suburban Itch," and is developing for television two episodic dramatic comedies which could be shot in Tennessee: In The Pregnant Prick, a womanizing member of Congress changes his ways after he becomes pregnant -- due to global warming, scientists prove.  Second Coming is a what-would-Jesus-really-do series in which Jesus returns to Earth and exposes a televangelist and a crooked politician.  

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