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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  January 27, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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01/27/15 01/27/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> broadcasting from the sundance film festival in park city, utah, this is democracy now! >> in the south, there have been thousands of racially motivated murders. >> we need your help. >> it is going to have to wait. >> it cannot wait. >> selma it is. >> here's the next great battle. >> today we spend the hour with ava duvernay, the director of the acclaimed new film "selma." it tells the story of dr. martin luther king junior's campaign to draw the nation's attention to the struggle for equal voting
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rights by marching from selma to montgomery alabama in 1965, 50 years ago. while the film has been nominated for an oscar, to the shock of many, ava duvernay was not. she would've made history as the first african-american woman nominated for best director. >> we have to work without permission, especially women in this industry. who are we asking for permission to do what we want to do? that should be eradicated. you need to set a path and start walking. >> ava duvernay for the hour. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. alexis tsipras, the head of the leftist, anti-austerity syriza party, has been sworn in as greece's new prime minister. syriza won a decisive victory in
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sunday's election becoming the first anti-austerity party to lead one of the 19 nations in the euro zone since the economic crisis began. syriza spokesperson panos skourletis said europe should not be worried about the new government's policies. >> europe should not be afraid of parties like syriiza. i refer to dominant policies which have been imposed primarily by the main power in europe and germany. these dogmatic economic policies have driven europe to stagnation. >> yanis varoufakis is expected to be named as greece's new finance minister today. he is an economics professor who once described the eu-imposed austerity measures as "fiscal waterboarding." during an interview on channel 4 in britain, he vowed to destroy the greek oligarchy. >> it has been jeopardized by
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this unholy alliance between bankers, developers, and media owners who become the voice of those who want to sponge off everyone else's efforts. >> what we do to the oligarchy? >> we're going to destroy the basis upon which they have built for decade after decade a system and network that viciously sucks the energy and economic power from everybody else. >> on monday, greece's new prime minister alexis tsipras visited a world war two national resistance memorial in his first outing as the country's new leader. the memorial is located at the site where the nazis executed 200 greek communist resistance fighters in may 1944. during the recent campaign tsipras called on germany to pay
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, greece reparations for damages incurred during the nazi occupation. at a governmental study 2003 determined germany owed greece an estimated $200 billion. states of emergencies remain in place in several northeastern states due to a heavy winter storm. in new york city, a blizzard warning has been canceled after the city was spared the worst of the storm. according to the national weather service, the storm moved further east of the city , resulting in much less snow than previously predicted. the city had taken the extraordinary precaution of shutting down the entire subway system and barring all non-emergency vehicles from the roads. on monday, new york governor andrew cuomo said massive storms are part of the changing climate. >> i believe i have gone through more emergency disasters in quite troy years than any
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governor in history has gone through -- and for years, than any governor in history is gone through. there's a pattern of extreme weather we have never seen before. buffalo sees snow. of low had never seen seven feet of snow before. so you're getting a repeat pattern of these extreme weather situations, whether it is hurricane sandy or seven feet of snow, and that is part of the changing climate i believe that has brought this new extreme weather pattern. and it is something we have to adjust to them a something that is very costly, and also something that is very dangerous. >> nine ukrainian servicemen have been killed while fighting russian-backed separatists. 29 others were wounded. the ukrainian government says rebel groups have carried out 120 attacks on government positions in the past 24 hours. both sides blame the other for the recent outbreak in fighting. russian president vladimir putin has accused the ukrainian military of putting the
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interests of nato over the interests of the ukrainian people. he said the ukrainian army "is not an army, but a foreign legion, in this case a foreign nato legion." president obama is heading a 27-member delegation to saudi arabia to pay respects following the death of king abdullah and to meet saudi arabia's new king salman. officials traveling with obama include cia director john brennan, general lloyd austin, head of u.s. central command forces in the region and secretary of state john kerry. meanwhile, army general martin dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff has established a research and essay competition to honor the late king abdullah. the contest will be open to students at the national defense university. dempsey described king abdullah as a "man of remarkable character and courage." this comes as saudi arabia carried out its first beheading
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under the new king on monday. in a statement, amnesty international said -- "while we recognize that saudi arabia is in a period of mourning, it must also be acknowledged that there are serious concerns about torture and unlawful detention or beheading by the authorities in the past decade." more details have come to light about a u.s. drone strike in yemen monday. the strike reportedly killed two suspected members of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula died in the strike as well as a 12-year-old boy identified as mohammed toiman. the boy's father and brother had also been killed in u.s. drone strikes. in news from iraq, the iraqi military says it has liberated the eastern province of diyala from the islamic state. security forces and pro-government shiite militias took control of about two dozen villages near the border with iran after a three-day assault. meanwhile, an iraqi governor parliamentarian and two tribal chiefs are accusing shiite militias of executing more than 70 unarmed civilians who had fled the fighting with the islamic state. mass graves have been found in the eastern village of barwanah.
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some of the victims are said to be children. in libya, five people have reportedly died after militants attacked a hotel popular with foreigners in libya's capital. several gunmen stormed tripoli's corinthia hotel and opened fire in the reception area. a car bomb also exploded outside the hotel. the wall street journal is reporting the justice department has been building a national database to track in real time movement of vehicles around the united states. the secret domestic intelligence-gathering program scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists. the drug enforcement administration created the license-plate tracking program to combat drug trafficking but many state and local law-enforcement agencies are accessing the database for a variety of investigations. high tech cameras placed strategically on major highways
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are used to to collect data about vehicle movements, including time, direction and location as well as visual images of drivers and passengers. vermont senator patrick leahy, the senior democrat on the senate judiciary committee criticized the program saying americans shouldn't have to fear -- "their locations and movements are constantly being tracked and stored in a massive government database." a federal jury in virginian has convicted former cia officer jeffrey sterling of nine felony counts, including, espionage. prosecutors accused sterling of leaking classified information about a secret operation to disrupt iran's nuclear program to journalist james risen of the new york times. risen later revealed how the risky operation could have inadvertently aided the iranian nuclear program. supporters of sterling described him as a whistleblower but prosecutors claimed he leaked the information to settle a score with the agency. sterling is scheduled to be sentenced in he faces a maximum
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april. possible sentence of decades in prison. in election news, the washington post reports a network of conservative advocacy groups backed by the koch brothers aims to spend a staggering nearly $900 million in advance of the 2016 white house election. the amount is more than double the $400 million that 17 allied groups in the network raised during the 2012 campaign. over the weekend, three potential republican presidential candidates -- senator marco rubio, senator rand paul and senator ted cruz -- faced off in what some dubbed the koch primary, a closed-door gathering organized by the billionaire brothers. in news from latin america argentine president cristina fernandez has announced plans to disband the nation's intelligence agency amid suspicions that rogue agents were behind the mysterious death of a state prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of a jewish community center that killed 85 people.
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the prosecutor, alberto nisman had accused the president of helping iran cover up. he died a gender 18 just a day , before he was due to appear in congress. president fernandez said on monday night she would send congress a bill creating a new security body that would be more transparent. >> essentially, we have seen in these days of sort of permanent revolving door between prosecutors, judges, journalists, media, intelligence services who handle judicial documents or who handle prosecutors or who handle judges . clearly, this has been revealed in recent moments, and it is necessary to pull out the route, which is why i've taken the decision to dissolve the intelligence ministry in the federal intelligence agency. >> former cuban president fidel
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castro has appeared to lend his support to talks with the united states in his first comments since both countries agreed last month to restore diplomatic ties. in a statement published in the cuban newspaper "granma" and read aloud by a student on cuban tv, castro said he doesn't trust the policy of the united states but doesn't reject a peaceful solution to the conflict. >> it is the duty of all. any peaceful or negotiated solution to the problems between the united states and the peoples or any people of latin america that doesn't imply force these of force should be treated in accordance with international norms and principles. we will always defend cooperation and friendship with all the peoples of the world among them, our political adversaries, is what we're asking for everyone. talks in mexico city, thousands of protesters marched monday to mark the four-month anniversary since the disappearance of dozens of 43 students in september. the students were allegedly abducted by local police working
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with drug gangs, and according to one report, possibly federal forces, as well. mexican authorities have said the students were incinerated at a garbage dump by drug gang members, but forensic experts say they have been unable to match incinerated remains found in a dump with the dna of the missing students. only one student's remains of them positively identified. hilda legideno, the mother of missing student jorge tizapa said she did not trust the government's claims. >> these are not our children. these tests they're doing, we don't believe in them. our children are our lives because the police took them and the government knows where our children are. we don't believe in these tests. science has squashed the attorney general's office and we don't believe them. >> in news from costa rica, a judge has acquitted seven men of murder charges in the killing of a young sea turtle conservationist named jairo mora. in may 2013, mora was attacked by armed men shortly after an expedition to the beach to
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collect leatherback sea turtle eggs to rebury them safely away from the poachers. mora was 26 years old. he was a member of the group widecast which coordinates efforts to protect turtle eggs across central america. in other environmental news, the obama administration is expected to propose today to open up coastal waters from virginia to georgia for new offshore oil and gas drilling. this comes just a day after he announced a plan to protect some of alaska's arctic national wildlife refuge from drilling. the natural resources defense council criticized allowing offshore drilling in the atlantic. bob deans of nrdc said -- "it would ignore the lessons of the disastrous bp blowout, the need to protect future generations from the dangers of climate change and the promise of a clean-energy future." a record 125 people were exonerated in the united states last year. 33 of the exonerations came in the houston, texas area where 33 individuals had drug convictions dismissed after lab tests determined they never had illegal substances.
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many of the individuals had pleaded guilty before the lab work was done. samuel gross of the national registry of exonerations said -- "one of the reasons people plead guilty for a crime they have not committed is they can't make bail and have to wait in jail while waiting for trial. if they are convicted, they might get decades in prison. they plead guilty if they are offered a deal that is too good to resist." and police in denver, colorado have shot and killed a teenage girl. police say the girl was driving a stolen vehicle and struck and injured an officer, although it's unclear whether she did so on purpose. the girl has been identified by iends as6-year-o jessica hernandez. accoing to the denver post, a video captured by a neighbor showcedcd and appeared to search the girl after she was shot, rolling her on her back and stomach as she lay limp and motionless. police took the other teenagers who were in the car with hernandez into custody. monday night, residents held a vigil in the alley wre the shooting took place, holding placards, including one that said, "girls' lives matter,
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too." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from park city, utah, where the sundance film festival is underway. today we spend the hour with one of the stars of the film world , ava duvernay, the director of the incredible new civil rights film, "selma." it tells the story of dr. martin luther king, jr's campaign to draw the nation's attention to the struggle for equal voting rights by marching from selma to montgomery, alabama in 1965. this is the trailer. it also highlights the young activist of the student nonviolent cornet in committee, as well as mathematics -- cordoning committee as well as mathematics. the show has drawn criticism. i sat down with ava duvernay for
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the hour, but we began with the trailer of "selma." >> he has got supporters. detroit, new york, los angeles inciting large scale arrests and sympathy marchers. >> i am very aware of that, mr. hoover. >> what i do know, the nonviolence. what i need to know right nowmartin luther king about to do next? >> mr. president, dr. king is here. >> mr. president, in the south there have been thousands of racially motivated murders. we need your help. >> it is going to have to wait. >> it cannot wait. you have one big issue, i have 101. >> here's the next great battle. >> selma is the place. >> dr. king. >> that white boy can hit. >> we will not tolerate agitators.
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>> it is unacceptable that they use the power to keep us voiceless. those who have gone before us say, no more. >> they are going to kill our children. they will try to get inside of your head. >> enough is enough. >> we built a path, rock by rock. >> it is probably a bust. >> it probably is. >> we must march. >> you march those people and rural alabama, it is going to be open season. >> may have a word? >> there is no word to be had. >> the people. the people. the people. the people. >> to our 70 million people watching. these pictures are going around the world. >> we must make a massive
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demonstration. >> white, black, and otherwise come to selma. >> i could not just stand by. >> it looks like an army out there. >> ♪ this revolution goes on and on >> mine eyes have seen the glory, glory, glory, hallelujah. >> stands up and says, enough is enough. that is the trailer for "selma." it has been nominated for an academy award for best film in 2014. we're joined by the femmes director, ava duvernay. congratulations on the nomination. >> is the nomination gets me sitting here with you, than for ray. i love you and love the show. >> congratulations for the golden globe. but you did not get nominated, and a lot of people all over this country who have seen this film and are shocked that you
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are not nominated for best director. your thoughts on this? >> i did not expect to be. i actually knew it wasn't going to happen. i have been telling people since october and no one listen to me. i am serious. old interviews coming up now friends who said, yeah, you did say that. i just knew it wasn't going to be the case. i never took it into my heart so never really bothered me. i was more upset by david not being nominated. >> david oyelowo. >> yes, he plays dr. king. the film was chosen in some categories, best picture, best song, and it wasn't chosen and others. >> and best picture, which is nothing to sneeze at. >> you know the twitter hashtag #oscarssowhite. so many people shocked that your name was not announced, and
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david's as well. oscar voters are 90% white 76% male, the average age is 63 years old. do you think that has anything to do with it? >> i think folks see films, see history, see art, see life through their own lens. when there is a consensus that has to be made by certain group the consensus is most likely going to be through a specific lens. unless you're's diversity amongst the people that are trying to come to a consensus then there will be a lack of diversity what the consensus is, if that makes sense. being here at sundance is a great example of a group of organization that is made a commitment to diversity. that have considered diversity is one of the talking points. i won best director here in
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2012, but i was the first black person to do so. it was a long time coming. >> that was for "middle of nowhere." >> there is been a real articulated mission by the institute, by the sundance institute's sake, regardless of awards, we're going to be a platform for voices of all kinds all over the world. they have articulated and executed that mission. talk about the academy or this industry in general, the studios -- everyone needs -- if we really care about it, not to say we care about it, but work towards it. so perhaps all of the coup plot this year will trigger some action, but maybe not. >> no person of color, not only for best director, no person of color for best actor, best supporting actress, best supporting actor -- >> this year. in past years we have had it. i don't think the question is about the awards but why was "selma" only in the running for
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people of color for the award? i mean, why are there not -- not just black, brown people, asian people, indigenous people, representations that are more than just one voice, just one face? for me, it is much less about the accolades. the next your, no one cares. i can't even tell you who won the award for whatever three years ago. >> what are the obstacles? >> it is systemic. system set up in a certain way times have changed, ideas have matured, and the system might not have caught up or state up with that. very conscious people, very liberal people very progressive people within the academy. i am a member. i black cinematographer was invited this year. it is an attempt, but it needs to be articulated and followed up on. the thing that is challenging that should happen, but then there's no follow-up. the hope is with the new
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president of the academy and others who are really intentional about wanting to see an opening up -- it is not about "selma." maybe they just didn't like it. it is more about "selma" should not have been the only hope for faces of color in this kind of celebration. >> your clearly self-deprecating because "selma" has been received with critical acclaim. speaking of obstacles, let's go back 50 years to the man in the movement, the many people that you portray in "selma" which is in a documentary, but a feature film, taking on a massive obstacle in the united states the fact african-americans were not voting, could not vote. tell us the story. >> i don't feel like i'm self-deprecating. i feel like i stayed in the shadow of giant, real, bold, brave americans of color, all caps of people, who marched for something that was really
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important. when we get to the statues and patting each other on the back isn't as important as dismantling the voting rights act is very much an emergency. working with "selma" and thinking about what it represents, even now, with policing and police aggression in our community, i can't get worked up about the other. "selma" is the story of everyday people. it wasn't called "king." it is called "selma." it is about the power of the people, voices risen and amplified through this one man. one thing i love about our approach to "selma," was, we did not show king and isolation which i think has been so much a part of this really homogenized view of him -- which i think he would've hated. it was for a much always trying to amplify the people around him. he was always differential to
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his comrades, fellow soldiers in the fight. i think he would be, because at the time he was bothered by the fact he was the one lifted up. >> why did you choose to take this on? >> it is king. know what i mean? i said in past interviews, why do we always have to see black people in hindsight? wire the hollywood movies always historical? what about the contemporary image of black people? but then someone brings you the king's story and you're like, ok. no enemy? it has not been done in 50 years. we have aisle picks on all kinds of ridiculous -- we have bio pics and all kinds of people, but nothing on king that is meaningful and centered. it was something that i cannot pass up. my father is from the county between selma and montgomery,
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alabama. he watched the march pass at 11 years old. it is part of my family history. >> that is ava duvernay director of "selma." her film has just been nominated for an oscar for best film. coming up, i asked the director about the controversy around some as per trail of president lyndon johnson -- selma''s portrayal of president lyndon johnson. the film predicts him as a reluctant come even obstructionist, politician who had the fbi monitor and a rescue. we also talk with ava duvernay about her plans for her next film. onall of that and more coming up. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now! democracy, the war and
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peace report, i'm amy goodman. we're broadcasting from park city, utah, at the sundance film festival. today we spend the hour with ava duvernay, director of "selma." the film begins with the death of four young girls -- denise mcnair, carole robertson cynthia wesley and addie mae collins -- on september 15 1963. they were killed when the ku klux klan bombed the 16th street baptist church in birmingham alabama. the bombing came less than a month after the march on washington. i asked duvernay why she opened "selma" with this devastating attack. >> for me, our approach to violence in the film was one that we considered very carefully. i am an independent filmmaker so this is my first film. there's so much violence in this era were talking about, but i wanted it to be something
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reverential and respectful to the lives lost. in trying to figure out how we brought people into the story and how we established a reference -- reverence for these black lives that mattered at that time, that we approach it in a way that got you right at the top. four little girls was the catalyst for so much of what happened in selma, the very visceral shaking of the leaders of the civil rights movement to do something off the beaten path, out of the box with a push toward selma. but also in the way we designed those shots with real intention to get you stuck in your seat and make you watch this thing in a way that you don't really watch historical dramas, really at a distance when we see these things. >> we meet these little girls. >> you have respect for their life. you know they should have had more conversations like that a more growth in womanhood and all that follows. so to have that snuffed out was
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a salute to them, but also to really invite people to be with us in the story. >> and then you take us on a journey to selma. dr. king, hearing from ralph abernathy and diane nash, tell us to diane nash was. >> she deserves her own film. she was a freedom fighter who is still alive and kicking. she was one of the leaders of the desegregation of nashville basically. she was a student at fisk university who was one of the founding members of snic. and she along with others did amazing work around the freedom rides. stanley nelson, a beautiful documentarian, and in any way
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she became aligned from sncc and started work with king closely. it was really her idea to really launch a full skill voting rights campaign in selma on the invitation of -- >> so they are driving the car for the first time to selma. >> in the scene, ralph abernathy, diane nash, andrew young, and james orange are driving with dr. king into selma. they're trying to convince king this is the place we need to be. >> and you hear nash and abernathy. >> that's right. >> oh, my lord. what you got us into? we have 128 miles to come to our senses. >> hush. this is the place we need to be. this right here is the next great battle. >> i can only imagine.
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decent look at place to die, though. >> that was ralph abernathy and diane nash in the film "selma." those were the figures who are per trade well -- portrayed well by the actors. >> fantastic. >> king is right in there and he is going. so they get to selma. talk about the violence that they faced and the challenges there. >> dr. king, upon arriving in selma, was immediately assaulted by members of the white citizens council and the hotel albert. we show that incidents. also it is very early in the film that you see encounters at the dells can a courthouse, very famously you see vivian shouted down and kind of preach to jim clark -- >> the sheriff.
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>> the sheriff in selma. about the protesters rights to be there. and so we are trying to show the wall of aggression and were up against as they went in. what is so fascinating and interesting, king was are ready a national figure and had are ready won the nobel, had already given "i had a dreaave a dream." he could've done anything. you could've said, i hand this off to someone else, but he got right back in their into selma and that is what was so fascinating about this era to me. it is not a man becoming a leader, you're watching someone lead and what that takes. it takes people who want to be led and comments were supporting it. >> you talk about the adversity outside. what about inside? you have this amazing clip when he is debating with, well, now commerce min john lewis, but a very young guy. >> yes, yes, there is a scene in the film -- it is important to really recognize the civil
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rights movement and the people who participated were not a monolith, they were not monolithic and i thought of how to achieve it. with as many people fighting for freedom, there were that many ideas about how to do it and how to approach it. i thought was so important to show everyone was not in lockstep. a lot of smart people with a lot of smart ideas had to be synthesized into one action, but ultimately, i was fascinated by the process, and that is what this scene shows. >> so you have james gorman, john lewis and king asking them to describe selma sheriff jim clark is rob abernathy -- ralph abernathy looks on. >> john? james? answer me one question. i've been told the sheriff in this town is it like in albany. is a big, ignorant bully like in birmingham. well, you tell me.
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you know selma and you know sheriff jim clark. is he pritchett or o'connell? >> he is bull connor. >> bingo. >> talk about the decision made at that point, what direction they would take, what king decides and what sn decidescc. >> they decide to move forward in widescale protests in selma. we show one march on the courthouse, but there were several marches on the courthouse. teachers march, which was huge, children's march, which was massive, clergy march. but it was all really focused on the black community. it was very insulated within the black community at that time.
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later as jimmy lee jackson is killed, a local alabama native who was doing these local marches, did they -- did that murder trigger an idea about national mobilization. that is where bloody sunday and turnaround tuesday come into play. not just a mmarch. >> this is in just one march. >> people think it is just one march. most people don't know. someone said to me at a screening, thank you so much. i said, thank you. she said, i thought oprah was playing a character named selma. i didn't even know. >> oprah is in it, but she is not a woman named selma. >> that is correct. these marches, yeah, there are three attempts to do it. the first two are unprotected by
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the federal government opposed by the state government, local government, local law-enforcement against them and beating them and out to get them. at all levels, there was no protection to think about walking out. we watch now and we raise our voices and we know, you know, we will not be harmed as a mass. but walking out there knowing the local sheriff is out for you , the governor has ordered state troopers to physically harm you, in the federal government and the president have not sent troops to protect to order protection? that is astounding, and something we should not forget. >> john lewis sits in congress today, had his head bashed in on bloody sunday. >> that's right. he was on the front lines of that march. when i see john lewis now -- >> king wasn't there. >> no. >> let's go to the final clip from "selma" where dr. king is
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calling all people of conscience to come to selma after that first march. >> dr. king, can we get a statement, please? >> while rageful violence continues toward the unarmed people of selma, while they are assaulted with tear gas and batons like an enemy in a war no citizen of this country can call themselves landless because we all bear responsibly for our fellow man. i am appealing to the men and women of god and goodwill everywhere white, black, and otherwise, if you believe all are created equal, come to selma. join us. join our march against injustice and inhumanity. we need you to stand with us. >> that was a clip from the academy award nominated film "selma." we're talking to the director
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ava duvernay. we're here in sundance. ava, that moment were he calls on all good people to come to selma. talk about what happened. >> i love that moment because that was the blossoming in my mind, the moment were there was an open invitation to people of all faiths, to join the fight. if you believe in justice and dignity, come stand with us. that call is so moving. >> were those kings very words? >> we could not use his for a worse. i had to approximate because another fell maker has the rights to his exact words. >> i don't understand. >> king was a private citizen. his public statements, most of them are copywritten. so the estate has licensed those words to another filmmaker that is not me. >> and that filmic or has made a film? >> know, but he will be an who is when to be beautiful.
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>> so you cannot quote king at all? >> no. so do you not tell the story or do you try to get underneath what he meant, with the ideas were? i tried to listen closely to everything he was saying in the speeches. everything you hear him say was trying to approximate what he actually said. the ideas are so bold, so fresh so outstanding that it felt wrong to let them be locked away without trying to capture them. >> ava duvernay, director of the oscar made dominated film, "selma." we talk about pushing president johnson to push the voting rights act. rosalind about carotid caught king -- karen scott king and we talk with ava duvernay about her newly revealed plans for her next film, all coming up on
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democracy now! stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from park city utah, from park city tv as we return to my interview with "selma" director ava duvernay. so king is in battle here in selma, but now let's talk about the controversial backdrop around the film, which is his relationship with president johnson. talk about his relationship with president johnson, the meetings he would have with him, the phone conversations he would have with him. >> the relationship between mlk and lbj wasn't a skip in the
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park. i don't care how many people try to rent a down my throat. i'm not here to the custodian of anyone's legacy. from what i read and what i have learned and listen to and no and talked to many of the people who were there, it was a relationship that was one of respect on the part of them, but they were constantly pushing and pushing and pushing and the time we come into our film, they are asking the president to fully support a protest around putting rights, to not even approach it. they asked him straight out, will he make this so. the timing wasn't right. it wasn't that he didn't think it should happen, but it was the wrong time. he had had to sign to 64 act -- >> the civil rights act. >> the civil rights act. king comes along saying, wait, one more thing. at that point, the president is like, well, get to it, but not now.
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that is public record. >> critics of the film's sake yard he had his attorney journal working on writing the legislation. does that undercut what you have said? you can have legislation written for years and not ask lee to reduce it. >> absolutely. the fact it was being written and thought about was a completely separate issue to the fact people were drying -- dying in the streets for it. these are two different issues. a lot of rhetoric that is unfortunate because in our film, we don't talk about vietnam. we don't talk about the president's 20 years of voting against desegregation legislation before he got into the oval. we don't talk about that. we talk about a man who believed that it quality should be, but the timing was not right at the time we pick him up in our movie. by the end of it, he's had a reversal and makes the very triumphant "we shall overcome" speech. >> were you able to quote that?
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>> yes, because he's the president of the united states and it is public domain. if he wanted to make johnson a bad guy, we could have. that was not our intention. our intention was to show a leader who was under pressure from a bunch of sites and have a relationship with king that was remote a push and pull, which is what it was. >> i was talking to stanley nelson, asking him about the controversy around "selma" it did you overly villain eyes obj -- villain eyes lbj. he went back to the summer of 1964 in atlantic city, the whole issue of the mississippi freedom democratic party, the of for to integrate the mississippi democratic party. and the role that president johnson played in undercutting the whole movement even to family humor giving a speech and he called for the press to come
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to him just a bullet cameras away from her. >> many instances. but also many instances of our proclamation and signing of legislation. it is fascinating. it was a fascinating man but in a lot of ways he was a reluctant hero. i don't think that is a bad thing. if you are the custodian of a legacy in your world and your income and employment around the uplift of a certain legacy, then i can see how this is exactly what you're pushing, you push against it -- this isn't exactly what you're pushing, you push against it. it is unfortunate, but if you really want to talk about the legacy of johnson we should be talking about how the voting rights act has been dismantled. if you really care about the legacy and not what it looks like and what it feels like, but what it actually did -- and no one is talking about that. >> let's talk about j edgar hoover and what he was doing. >> if we have to.
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>> which you certainly dealt with in "selma." >> stanley nelson in his documentary, did this pitiful overview of the countercharges program, the fact -- did this beautiful overview of the counter intelligence program. the fact that people were public enemies ending surveilled and manipulated and are being dismantled by the fbi. you say it and it sounds very conspiracy theorist into the really check to look record and no judge -- to edgar hoover did run a program that was authorized and reauthorized during the kennedy and johnson and nixon administrations. it is a real thing, and it really is the reason why you have the black power movement and the civil rights movement it was really snuffed out in a lot of ways. >> and the recording of king, using it, sending it to coretta
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his wife? >> she speaks about that in her autobiography. this is real stuff. >> the meeting of malcolm x and coretta scott king, while king is in jail is real? >> yes. i fought to have that in the piece. it is so moving to me that malcolm x just weeks before his assassination, actually sought out king and went to selma with an offering of himself, of his reputation to say, they will be afraid of me so much that they may do what you want as an alternative, so let me be here to represent what can happen if they do not work with you i'm a the sclc. there's something emotional about that because i love malcolm and i love king come to think they were so close to maybe having some alignment, but it wasn't to be. >> he would be killed.
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and dr. king as well just a few years later. let's talk about the dismantling of the voting rights act. this 50 years after the selma marches. president obama has announced he will be going to selma. what your thoughts about that on the 50th anniversary? >> i celebrate him going anything that can bring more attention to this. real tragedy, american tragedy is what this is. so many people at risk of losing their right to let their voices be heard. it is a shame. i thought that was going to be the primary conversation around "selma." i hoped that is what people would talk about. then you have the murders of michael brown and tamir rice and eric garner in the non-indictments, and it turns out to be something else that is wonderfully troubling, and many have protests. our film speaks about protest and resistance. that is another conversation. they have diversity, inclusion and exclusion, and that is another conversation.
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every month, the film is morphing and taking on new issues, for whatever anything else is going on, just your talking you, if i think about it too much, i will get emotional but it is a good thing. >> you screened the film for the obama's at the white house? were the kids there? >> no, they just finished exams and they were out with friends. we were able to have a grown-up evening. it was lovely. the children have seen it month though. it was beautiful to be in the white house. in 2015 with a film like "selma" knowing in 1915, the first film to evernd split the white house was "a birth of a nation." >> explain. >> "birth of a nation" -- do i have to explain it? >> a lot of young people were yet born. >> it is a very innovative filmmaker who craft, wise, was at the vanguard of filmmaking.
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but politically and culturally was a complete racist, made a film that was epic entry widely embraced in 1915 called "a birth of a nation," which was -- my be the worst piece of film you'll ever see if you believe in the equality of all people. that was the first film to ever be screened at the white house and that was in 1915, exactly 100 years ago from the are now in 2015 that we sit there and show "selma" directed by a black woman about the triumph and tragedy and the forward movement around what is selma. >> president obama says -- the committee wants him to come on march 8 when it is celebrated? >> i did not know about that. >> where did you film selma? >> in atlanta and selma and montgomery.
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to bring the film back to selma. >> what was that like? >> it was two days -- that thursday of that week was the last day. friday we were in the white house. sunday, we brought it back to selma. we shot "selma" with real extras from selma. all the people that walk across the bridge when he see the film are from that area. we did not ship in hollywood extras. we's people who live there -- we asked people who live there to reopen this wound. >> had some marched 50 years ago? >> there were some survivors there. to bring the film back to them, and to do this commemorative march from the city hall to the bridge, and then have john legend sing "bridge over troubled waters" at sunset over the water of the alabama river and for common and legend as the "glory," it like a rallying call called action for people in the community, call to the refreshment of their intention to let some of the more than
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something that is locked in the past but legacy that really drives them forward. >> so what do you hope will happen with this film now? in new york, kids from nine to 13 or whatever, were able to go to the film and whatever movie theater to see it for free? >> yes, that is how it started. 27 black business owners -- black business leaders pull together their money organically -- no one asked them to do it -- just in 27,000 new york city kids, seventh, eighth, ninth grader to see the film at any per dissipating it or. walk in with your report card or id. since then, 27 other cities have given free screenings to kids over one quarter million kids. as much as people want to talk about all bj and oscars, it is like this is planning seeds for
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seventh, eighth and ninth graders to see the story, others to understand that martin luther king is more than a stamp, more than your school name, more than a street name, more than that holiday we get a couple of days off, what he really stood for is a seed planted that i hope will bear fruit. >> and for young people, women people of color as a young african-american woman director, what words of wisdom do you have to share, as you not look back on your career, but continue to go forward? >> that is what it is, it is to go forward. we have to work without permission especially women in this industry. who are we asking for permission to do what we want to do? that should be eradicated. you need to set a path and start walking. and that is what i have tried to do and what i encourage folks to do, walk with me, walk with you walk with each other. so much of the industry's
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permission based. once you get out of your mind you have to ask anyone to do it you want to do, you will be better fort. >> what is her next project? >> an exciting project, a love story and murder mystery set against the backdrop of hurricane katrina. i was really interested in examining how intimate relationships are created during chaos and to really look at the chaos. i really embraced the idea and "selma" of this epic story, but the intimacy of the relationships in it and a want to do that looking at hurricane katrina. we're coming up on 10 years of that since it happened. as artists, it has not been dealt with. i want to do it in the context of all the things that matter most, our lives, and our love can against that. that is what i'm working on. >> you are in another major film that is just came out called "life itself" about roger ebert. what affected he have come the film critic, on your life? >> if i had not come across
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roger ebert, i would not be with you right now. i had made a film called "i will follow" with my own money that was going nowhere. no one was reviewing it or booking it. it was going to sit on my shelf. it was a very intimate story about a woman who recently lost her aunt and is packing up the house they shared together. it is about grief and moving on. it is a rare film very small and quiet, not a lot going on like we usually see from films with black protagonists. it was different. i sent it to him. i asked him if you would look at it. the nerve, the audacity, and he did. and he wrote one of the most beautiful reviews i have ever read for anyone, any wrote another one and he tweeted 27 times and braved and told friends and did a tv review about it when he was using but
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chris's voice for his voice -- bill kurtis's voice for his voice. he lifted the film from nowhere and the jimmy up with that, i had the confidence to make "the mill of nowhere" that went to sundance and that brought me to "selma." i can say definitively one person can make a difference and he made a difference for me. i hope you would be proud of this now. -- i hope you would be proud of this now. >> ava duvernay, director of "selma." special thanks to our new york team. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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