Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sam Green, Co-Director of THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND, on the New Notoriety of William Ayers

(The documentary The Weather Underground is one of my favorites. John McCain wants to make this an issue, rather than tackling what truly concerns our nation, so in the interest of being an informed citizen you should check this out before voting. I was fortunate to meet and talk with Bernadine Dohrn when I was a grad student at Illinois State University. She was a passionate advocate/defender of childrens rights and impressed me with her dedication to social service in Illinois. Later that night she gave a speech at the university and I was once again impressed by her intelligence, her wit, her sense of history and her patience in dealing with unruly people. She never dismissed the few who attacked her, instead, she sought to engage with them in a dialogue.)

Sam Green, Co-Director of THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND, on the New Notoriety of William Ayers
All These Wonderful Things (A.J. Schnuck)

Intro by A.J. Schnuck:

As the American presidential contest enters the homestretch, some bloggers on the right and elements of the McCain/Palin campaign remain convinced that the key to their last-minute comeback lies in pushing the tenuous relationship between Barack Obama and former Weather Underground founder William Ayers.

One truism of being a documentary filmmaker is that your subjects often continue to make news long after your film has wrapped and is widely seen. Kicking off a new feature here at the blog, Sam Green, the co-director of the Oscar-nominated THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND, writes about Ayers' return to prominence and the mixed feelings it provokes for the director:

Sam Green's statement:

I, like most Obama supporters, have watched with a mixture of apprehension and revulsion as McCain and his VP-pick have ratcheted up their efforts to smear Obama with his tenuous link to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the Weather Underground. Me and my pal Bill Siegel made a documentary about the Weather Underground a couple of years ago, and we filmed a number of interviews with Bill Ayers. Since that time, he's become a good friend of ours. We took him and Bernardine Dohrn, his wife, with us to the Academy Awards in 2004 when our film was nominated for an Oscar.

So it's hard to see this brouhaha and not feel terrible for the person at the center of it. After his long-ago association with the Weather Underground, Bill Ayers has gone to become a widely known and respected education expert. He's a Distinguished Professor (really, that's his title!) at the University of Illinois and has written more than 10 books. To have all of his work, and what he's about, so publicly misrepresented must be extremely painful. Not to mention the fact that he's received such a torrent of death threats that the University has had to provide him with a bodyguard.

To Read the Rest of the Statement

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