Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Controversial Film Comes To Patterson Library

from The Dunkirk Observer:

WESTFIELD, NY - Patterson Library has announced a free screening of the film "Out in the Silence" on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. Funded in part by the Sundance Institute, the movie follows the story of a small Pennsylvanian town confronting a firestorm of controversy ignited by a same-sex wedding announcement in the local newspaper. The documentary is described as illustrating the challenges of being an outsider in a rural community. It takes place in Oil City, Pa., less than two hours from Westfield.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion, including a prominent player in the film, Roxanne Hitchcock, proprietor of the Latonia Theater in Oil City. Also on the panel are Rev. Steve Aschmann of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie, Pa.; Deb Christina, lifelong resident and longtime business owner in Westfield; Beth Robson of the Watchfire Alliance; Marvin Henchberger, executive director of Western New York Gay and Lesbian Youth Services; Bob Reider of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays); and Father Gordon De La Vars of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

According to directors Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer, a geneticist and author of "The God Gene," "The aim of 'Out in the Silence' is to expand public awareness about the difficulties that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people face in rural and small town America and to promote dialogue and action that will help people on all sides of the issues find common ground."

The film has won wide recognition for its respectful treatment of both sides of a controversial issue. It covers Joe Wilson's dramatic journey as he is drawn back to his home town by a plea for help from the mother of a gay teen being tormented at school. It is a story about the unique challenges of being different in a small town, and the potential for change when the environment for dialogue is created. A subplot is the economic necessity in modern day rural America for tolerating and even encouraging diversity in order to attract and keep talent.

According to Patterson Library Director Eli Guinnee, the film fits perfectly with the public library goal of promoting knowledge, understanding, and mutual respect.

"The film follows a story of firestorm and controversy, but at its heart is a message that when we take the time to get to know each other positive change can occur," Guinnee said. "The organizers of this event have done a great job of assembling a distinguished panel and I think the panel will do a great job of carrying on the conversation started by this film."

The free event is scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m. The film runs less than one hour and will be followed by a panel discussion. For more information, call Patterson Library at 326-2154.

1 comment:

Steve-Dave said...

Do you expect a lot of protest?
Or will this quietly pass in this quiet little town.

It is, after all, a "controversial film".

Me, I'm hoping that it quietly passes, maybe well-attended by like-minded people from the region.

Either way, I honestly doubt that this will "end bigotry". If it could do that, it wouldn't be controversial. LOL