[Marxism] Meeting with a radical documentarian

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Dec 8 11:35:53 MST 2006

Last night I went down to the Christmas party hosted by First Run Features, 
a distribution company whose movies I have reviewed in abundance. I had the 
good fortune to speak with Peter Miller, the director of "Sacco and 
Vanzetti" and "The Internationale". He told me that the discussion on 
Marxmail generated by my review moved him deeply, especially Sayan's 
reminiscences about Communist workers singing the song in Bengal when he 
was 14. Peter said that sales of his videos spiked on amazon.com after my 
reviews, something I found very gratifying.

Peter is 45 years old and has a full-time job working for Ken Burns, the 
PBS documentary film-maker. Using that job in more or less the same way I 
use my day job at Columbia, he launches projects that are his true 
inspiration, namely neglected but important stories of the American left. 
He told me about the two projects in the planning stages now. One is about 
the Latino civil rights movement of the 1950s, something that I had no idea 
existed and the other is about Abby Hoffman.

He said that he decided to make such films when he was an undergraduate in 
the late 80s when the USSR was beginning to collapse. He had leftists 
professors (my age, I would assume) who convinced him that socialism was 
worth fighting for even if the Soviet government was rotten at the core.

My sentiments exactly.



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