tv Meet the Press Film Festival MSNBC December 25, 2021 12:00pm-2:00pm PST
welcome to a special presentation of the "meet the press" film festival. i'm chuck todd and what you're about to see is a little piece of this year's broader festival program. these are the best in class short documentaries, covering the most consequential issues across the united states. in the last five years, the "meet the press" film festival
has showcased more than 100 films from 9 countries. dozens of our films in our festival have gone on to be nominated for emmys and oscars, including the winner of the academy award for short documentary. this year we have some of the best films we've ever been privileged to showcase. they tackle some of the biggest issues of the last 18 months from democracy and covid to race and the teaching of history. you're about to see three films here, plus my conversations with two of the directors. first up is "the facility," directed by seth freed-wesz ler. later in the program, you'll see "meltdown in dixie" and "golden age karate." we hope you enjoy.
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seth, what was interesting about your film is also how you got your access. and in many ways, you made it clear during the film that you had to pay for the video access at times, you made sure we saw that. but explain how you met nilson and andrea, how you got that access. >> sure. so, at the beginning of the pandemic, you know, my plans for reporting were sort of upended, right? i had plans to go report stories for magazines that i write for, and i was trying to figure out how i was going to continue as a print reporter as this pandemic was spreading to develop news stories to cover the pandemic on the beats that i already work on. and so i began making a series of calls through a video app that's installed inside of a set of i.c.e. detention centers that allow people on the outside to call in to people on the inside
to have short conversations, 15 minutes at a time, using these pay-per-minute video apps. they're really made for family members, people on the outside to call relatives on the inside so they can maintain contact. they're pretty expensive, but as a reporter, i decided it was worth it to pay per minute to get this access to try to figure out what was happening inside of i.c.e. detention centers as the pandemic was really turning the world upside down. >> and the facility, did they try to fight you when they realized what you were doing? when did they know that basically some, you know, somebody was doing some detainees were participating in a journalistic exercise? >> so, lots of journalists were using these video apps to report on what was happening inside of i.c.e. detention centers, and in fact, it allowed us as reporters to gain a level of access that's very, very difficult without
that kind of video access. in fact, you know, in a way, the pandemic and the sort of -- this move by all of us to start using video communication tools, it made it possible for me to get inside of an i.c.e. facility that i probably never would have been able to get into otherwise. the detention center at one point, and i wrote about this in "the new york times" magazine story that i published last year, did suffer my access to the video app and some of the people inside lost access to the tablets that they used to have these conversations. i was able to sign back up and sign back in and continue having these conversations. and collecting footage that ultimately resulted in the documentary, "the facility." >> but it allowed you to take us into the facility, which i think made yours stand out. let's take nilson. he doesn't know why he was held for as long as he was held, and he's not quite sure how he was
released or at least as far as the film is concerned. can you fill in some of the blanks? >> i mean, i.c.e. detention, immigration detention, and just to fill in some background here, you know, it's civil detention. it's not prison. it's not meant as punishment, at least as a legal matter. it's a thing that exists to hold noncitizens who are facing the threat of deportation ostensibly so they don't abscond, so they show up in court. it's at the discretion of the federal government, of i.c.e., and so nearly everybody who's detained in i.c.e. detention could actually be released at any point at the discretion of immigration and customs enforcement, and policy shifts dramatically from administration to administration about who's detained, who's prioritized, who's held in detention, who's released and let to stay at home with their families. nilson and andrea, the people in my film, really had no idea when they would be released. they were detained pursuant to policy at the time under the
trump administration that nearly anybody who could be detained would be detained, so nilson had been pulled over for a driving violation and was locked up in i.c.e. detention after an arrest following the driving violation. andrea had come to los angeles from colombia by plane with a tourist visa, intended to enter the country, but when officials at the airport asked her if she feared returning to her country, she was detained and treated as an arriving -- as an arriving asylum seeker and under the trump administration, arriving asylum seekers were summarily detained. she was held for nearly two years without any idea when she would be released. >> but seth, both are still here, right? both are still in america. they weren't sent away. out of country, correct? >> that's right. >> they were held for months, and then let -- allowed to stay. period. >> that's right. i mean, andrea's in court,
proceeding through her asylum case. nilson is waiting for a green card. he's married to a u.s. citizen. he has very clear claims to be able to stay here. he probably was never going to be deported, actually. he was probably going to win his case, but because i.c.e. had the discretion to hold him at the time, they had a sort of policy, as a policy matter, were holding anybody that they could, and so he stayed in detention for close to a year, actually, while he was fighting his case. and through this film, "the facility," i really tried to bring people inside, because for most of the pandemic, for the beginning of the pandemic, the early months of the pandemic, i sort of attached myself to this computer screen in order to have these conversations with people and to observe what life was like inside of an i.c.e. facility that's really built with the intention to separate people from the outside world. >> right. and it's certainly not intended for months, maybe a day or two.
these are topics that the public tries to look away from sometimes and shouldn't look away. this is all part of our system, all part of our system of whether, and if we don't like it, we should do something about it, and sometimes you've got to see something that's a bit uncomfortable in order to make change. seth, congratulations, and i appreciate you participating in our film festival. >> thanks. ever notice how stiff clothes can feel rough on your skin? it's because they rub against you creating friction. and your clothes rub against you all day. for softer clothes that are gentle on your skin, try downy free & gentle. just pour into the rinse dispenser and downy will soften your clothes without dyes or perfumes. the towel washed with downy is softer, fluffier, and gentler on your skin. try downy free & gentle. recognized by the national psoriasis foundation and national eczema association.
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♪♪ my name is tommy. we're in edisto river creamery. ♪♪ >> big old quarter pounders, all beef. when i bought the creamery, i saw it was in a beautiful park. i said, what's not to like? >> what kind of ice cream, honey, did you want? enjoy, baby. >> thank you. >> but if i could rewind this whole situation, i would have never came to south carolina in the first place. made a little ice cream shop to sell ice cream cones in a park, and here i am in the middle of this crap.
>> battle over a confederate flag in orangeburg. >> the flag flies atop this pole, right next to the edisto river creamery. >> the sons of confederate veterans own the tiny piece of property where the flag stands. >> that flag is not mine. it's a piece of property that the confederate veterans own. >> initially, daras accepted the flag, but that changed in the aftermath of the 2015 church shooting in charleston. >> breaking news. mass shooting in downtown charleston. >> nine people have been killed inside an african american church in charleston. >> white man is under arrest, dylann roof. >> investigations uncovered a photo of him posing with a confederate flag. >> after the charleston
shooting, the confederate veterans came down with a flag that was three times as large as the one they've ever had on there, people screaming at me, calling me a racist. i said, something's got to happen. >> after nearly 20 years of flying, the confederate battle flag is being removed from an orangeburg business. >> he's going to be told not to take it down. >> that flag is coming down. >> no, it ain't. >> we had what we wanted on our property. why should we compromise? >> i would have never said five, ten years ago that i thought that was the most racist thing in the world, standing here, i feel these people's hearts. >> we're going to let a judge decide that. >> fine. >> are you still going to try to take it down? >> absolutely. there will be no stopping me at this point.
♪♪ ♪♪ >> we came down here because of the fishing and the nice people we met. and then my wife debbie and i got bored, and this little restaurant looked like a good opportunity. it belonged to maurice's barbecue shop and it was in need of repair. wasn't worried about the rebel flag. i never deemed that as racist. i mean, it was history to me. and you know, it was cool because it was, like, a rebel flag. that meant to us in maryland that you were against the grain, you know, you were a badass. when i lived in maryland, i was a race car driver. >> here is tommy. >> we had a rebel flag not on the car but we had a flag pole by the race car, especially when
we'd go up north because we were the guys from down south, the guys to beat. i was cleaning out my closets, found it in the closet. i would wear this in public anywhere i went without a problem. when it became what it is today, my wife had said that there was no place for that on a race team. i'm not a racist, by any means, or a hater. the closet was probably the best place for it. >> my name is buzz braxton, and i'm lieutenant commander at rebels bridge sons of confederate veterans camp 842. this is general robert e. lee, probably the greatest man to ever walk the face of this earth. a lot of people don't understand
the sons of confederate veterans. the confederate battle flag is the soldier's flag. our ancestors. that's why we're so proud of it. to you sons of confederate veterans, it is your duty to see that the true history of the south is presented to future generations. and that's what we try to do. and it's a tough job. there's a picture of maurice. we was down there right where the flag pole is, selling confederate stuff. >> i'm maurice bessinger, chairman of the board. the south shall rise again. >> 236. >> mr. maurice was a member of this camp. he owned and operated nine barbecue restaurants in south carolina. and one in orangeburg too. >> after almost four decades and
a bitter debate, south carolina removed the confederate flag from the south carolina state house. >> after 38 years, the flag began its descent down the flag pole. >> july 1st, 2000, the flag was taken off the dome in columbia. >> i raised the flag out here on the big pole to protest the taking down of our heritage flag. >> it went up in orangeburg that same day. mr. maurice called me one day and asked me if we would like to have the little piece of property where the flag is. that was one less thing he needed to worry about. after the incident in charleston, the whole emphasis changed to the flag. i said, if the flag is going to be under attack, bigger the
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you can give people information, but you can't give them courage. >> hey, tommy, what's up, man? yeah. >> tommy reached out and said, hey, look, i'm having some issues on my property. can you take a look? i remember, as a kid, riding to orangeburg with my grandparents, and back then, it was maurice's piggy part restaurant. maurice put a sign up in his restaurant that says the government may say we have to serve -- but we're going to take that money and give it to the kkk. when tommy and his wife bought that property, the flag was there. they knew it was there. what they didn't know was what the culture was like here in
south carolina, more specifically in orangeburg. ♪♪ >> orangeburg is a majority african american town. it's 60% black, according to the 2010 census. that makes me a minority. >> there's a racial divide in orangeburg, and i guess that's got a lot to do with the history. i feel like they sometimes feel like we've done something wrong to them, even though that's happened years ago. >> even though i do see whites and blacks all around and they could be in the same vicinity, everybody knows what's going on. >> after that original showdown at the creamery, we said, let's look at the law. local government, they can't regulate speech, but they can regulate uses of the property.
and it hit. look at zoning. this is the actual zoning map. you can zoom in. and you'll see that's us right here. that entire area is zoned business commercial. that's it. this is the little piece that this fight is over. how is 0.003 acres a legitimate business commercial piece of property? it's not. the sons of the confederate veterans want to use that piece of property to keep maurice bessinger's hateful legacy living on into perpetuity. >> in orangeburg, a battle to remove a confederate flag that flies next to an ice cream shop continues tonight. >> they took their concerns to the city with hopes that the zoning of where that flag sits could be challenged.
>> what's up, man? >> it's you, man. >> in a public way and make it -- just clear the record. >> i was contacted by camp 842. the issues that were being presented were the very foundation of what our american constitution is made up of. and the constitution is very important to me, being an attorney and being an american. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen. we will now call the board of zoning and appeals meeting to order. >> this particular area was zoned b-1 general commercial. the moment that maurice bessinger subdivided that piece of property into two separate parcels, each parcel was then required to comply with you all's zoning ordinance.
this property is intended to be used, and it has been used for well over ten years as a historical marker. zero commercial use. and i would ask that you find that this piece of property, flag included, does violate the city of orangeburg's zoning ordinances. >> i can't keep up with that. >> with all due respect, that was a beautiful argument that was made, but this is not the forum to handle a piece of property that has been deeded to a private entity with no problems. there are being some raised, but uniquely, they're being raised schematically all across the united states of america. this is first amendment speech. it would behoove the leadership of this group to not overturn a well-founded decision by the zoning that falls in accordance with the law. thank you. >> thank you.
>> i'm david, zoning administrator. the current use is flying the confederate flag and maintaining a monument. the city of orangeburg does not regulate the location of flags or the display of flags there owned by zoning or any other regulation. therefore, the property is in compliance. >> okay. >> thank you. >> all in favor of upholding the motion of our zoning administrator, let it be known by showing of your right hand. any opposed? so the zoning board has agreed upon the decision that the zoning administrator made. >> thank you, this meeting is adjourned. [ applause ] >> we lost for an issue that is this contentious, i would be hesitant to rule against the sons of the confederate veterans. >> pass the word. >> already have. >> okay. >> already have. >> love you, brother. >> love you too, man. >> they went to the path of least resistance. >> i think they got it wrong,
personally, but we'll deal with it. >> a confederate flag flying beside a south carolina ice cream parlor is igniting new concerns. >> the creamery received this racially-charged letter. >> his business has been vandalized multiple times. his employees have been harassed, and a riot nearly started outside his shop. >> keep that flag flying. ♪♪ >> this peg is where their property line is, and that peg there, when you stand out here for a moment, they're hollering, take it down or leave it alone or, you know, f.u.
>> my wife, debbie, thinks the sons of the confederacy are going to burn our house down. she's up all hours of the night looking out the damn window. it's aggravating to me she's going through all this suffering. >> so, i guess you know in this big old world it's not perfect these days, is it? >> no, ma'am. >> but miss debbie tells you that jesus what? >> loves you. >> like, so much. >> i was in the doctor's office one day and a lady said to me, i heard you people beat up black people. that's the kind of rumors that went around. she had some of her grandchildren with her. i said, you bring those babies to my bible study on wednesday night and you're going to know what we're about. you need to have what? >> faith. >> faith. >> what's so stressful, and it's so sad because i want to please everybody. i want to love everybody. sometimes i often wonder, god, why did you bring me to this place?
why did you bring me to this town? why? >> the confederate flag with affection, reverence, and undying devotion to the cause for which it stands. thank you, you may all be seated. for those of you who have not heard or do not know, we did have a wonderful victory in orangeburg. our flag will continue to fly. i hope it will continue to fly forever. >> you can't pay a lot of attention to what you see in the news media. don't read any modern books, because they're -- they're extremely slanted. but if you read the original accounts, you'll find the real reasons that both sides fought. ♪ i wish i was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten, look away, look away,
look away dixieland ♪ ♪ in dixieland ♪ >> the second coming of the klan used the battle flag, and then some groups now carry a swastika and a battle flag. it got misappropriated. but that does not mean that it wasn't honorable and those men from 1861 to 1865 carried it. >> this heritage, this symbol of the south, it's part of dixie. >> segregation has been over for a while, and something like that to still be appearing in a small town like this, it's still creating division. >> why take it down? the blacks ought to be proud of that flag that they fought
under. just like the whites. >> it needs to come down, along with all these other statues and symbols of supremacy. they need to come down. >> good morning, may i help you? good, how are you? right. uh-huh. >> i can remember maurice barbecue. they betrayed an image of prejudice and making racial slurs towards us. i wouldn't dare go in there. when it changed to the creamery, we were glad, because, you know, we wanted a positive image there. the owner told us that he was trying to get the flag down. we all was excited to bring it down, but he didn't have the proper paperwork. there's nothing we can do. we're going to step outside of our scope of authority. >> i think that most people in
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you don't really be comfortable with. i try not to use the n-word, but if there's somebody out there just doing everything wrong in their behavior and their conduct, i might say that word. and i can't say that i would apologize for it. >> the day i filed the zoning challenge, that next morning, my dogs were barking.
and i go and look out my door and there's a pickup truck pulling into my driveway in the back. did somebody come to the wrong house at night? i don't know. but when you pair that with what was going on, it makes you a little nervous. that's my babies. i've had conversations with people, they see the fight that we're in with the sons of confederate veterans over the zoning, and they literally are, like, wait. isn't orangeburg, like, 60% to 70% black? why is bringing down that flag even a topic of discussion? it should have been down. and you just have to let them know that white supremacy has its roots everywhere, orangeburg, it's no different.
you know, orangeburg is home to the orangeburg massacre, one of the worst things that's ever happened in terms of civil rights in south carolina. students were protesting for the integration of the local bowling alley. fearing violence, the governor sent in the south carolina highway patrol. one night, the patrol broke out in gunfire, killing three students and injuring 28 others. it was 50 years ago, but that's not something that people in town have forgotten. it's kind of like the shadows of a dark era are constantly on you. and i think some people just don't want to think about the confederacy or think about what
it means or what it meant. you would have this expectation that when you do have black leaders in a city, that on issues like this, they will be very bold. they will be very outspoken. and a lot of times, they aren't. not everybody in government or in politics is comfortable with what comes with bucking a system that's been in place for 400 years. as long as there are confederate monuments everywhere, white supremacy will always be here. ♪♪ >> i just don't know what to do. the community, the city council,
the city administrator, none of them are helping to get this thing going. i think they've got someone telling them, make sure it don't come down. but i don't know if i'll ever get to the bottom of that. >> it sucks. >> the controversy over a confederate flag continues tonight. >> justin and i have tried to exhaust all reasonable avenues, and it's just not working. >> tommy daras is now threatening to remove the flag and confederate marker himself. >> maurice bessinger planned it just so he could shove that flag up everybody's ass in the city of orangeburg for eternity. >> daras says he sent the sons of the confederate telling them if they want their flag and marker, they need to come and get it. >> what if i donate this whole property to the sons of the confederacy and they put flags and swastikas and what the hell ever, is the city going to be okay with that?
no. so they better get their asses on board. >> dig right around the monument. i'm just getting it ready for pickup. the sons of the confederate. i've donated it to them. >> no days go by without something happening. okay, since we were here last, you can see where he's been digging around the monument. he is undoubtedly trying to cause so much chaos that somebody will overreact. i just don't understand. i just don't understand. ♪♪
>> i want people to know that our ancestors were good people, most of them didn't have slaves. i've told people all along that was the best thing that ever happened to folks that came over. they would not be driving bmws today had their ancestors remained in africa. because they would have been eaten by other tribes or eaten by lions and tigers. i know that ain't politically correct to say, but it's true.
>> my father had a grocery store in washington, d.c., in 1968. i was about 12. my father was working his store, and they were expecting a riot. about 10:00 that night, we had a phone call. the store burned to the ground. i'll never forget this. my father stood in front of the store and cried. my father was a huge man. and in the meantime, i saw black people lining up over here, and it was like, you know, dad, these guys are -- all these people are lining up. my father said, i know them people. i'm not worried about them.
the first one walked up to my dad and said, big john, i owe you money and i would like to pay you. and i said, ma'am, i have no idea how much you owe me. she said, i think it's $12 and some cents. she paid him within minutes, a line grew and the people paid my dad money. and we left. and my father never had a racist bone in his body. i wanted people to know that i'm not no racist bastard standing holding that flag. do i need to pretreat my laundry? nope! with tide pods, you don't need to worry. the pre-treaters are built in. tide pods dissolve even when the water is freezing. nice!
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this morning, new details over a dispute over the confederate flag flying near an orangeburg restaurant is unfolding before a circuit court judge. >> we are continuing here at an appellate hearing today. i'm standing before martin luther king jr. quote which says injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere and i feel that too on my heart. there's a real assault on our traditions, our history, and particularly the confederacy. >> jury duty. >> tommy daras vs. city of orangeburg. >> when i ride by there and i see that flag, i think about the fact that, as a kid, i used to ride by there and be afraid. this is not a challenge to just the flag on a flag pole. we are challenging the underlying use of the property. and now as a man, i get to ride by there and think, i could play
a role to make it go away. that's a pretty dope dream. >> so the judge, she's going to review? >> she's going to go through the argument that was made today, she's going to look at the record and then she's going to reach a decision. we're going to have to wait. >> sometimes i wonder if old maurice isn't up there chuckling. he's doing all right. >> the sons of confederate veterans have staunch feelings about the fact that some of their ancestors fought in the civil war for the confederacy. but if you were to give half of those members the original documents of south carolina seceding from the union, most of them probably either haven't
read it, refuse to read it because they know what it says, or will read it and say, yeah, but that's not why my ancestor fought. >> thank you. thank you. >> i'm not going to say that slavery was not in any way, shape, or form involved in the decisions about secession. but those men did not leave their families and their homes and their warm beds to go to fight so somebody could own a slave. declaration of the immediate causes which induce and justify the secession of south carolina from the federal union. a geographical line has been
drawn across the union. and all the states north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of president of the united states whose opinions have purposes are hostile to slavery. the slave-holding states will no longer have the power of self-government, and the federal government will have to become their enemy. if you want to come at me and say that its sole purpose was slavery, so be it, if that's your desire. but if we agree to disagree, that will be all right, you know? because i admitted that slavery played a part in it. slavery was a factor. but there was other things involved.
>> if you stand for an institution that supported slavery, and you don't denounce that, and you choose to ignore it, i think that implicitly means that somewhere in you, you were okay with it. ♪♪ >> new developments tonight. a circuit court judge agrees that the confederate flag in front of the edisto creamery does not violate the city of orangeburg's zoning ordinance. the owner of the creamery now says because it affects his business, he closed that shop and is now selling it. >> here's my closed-down little store. it is all gone.
it's just -- it's uncomfortable to be here. >> i feel sorry for him. i think that people couldn't differentiate between this property being someone else and this property being a creamery. >> i think it's sad. nothing that lands there is going to be successful as long as that is not solved. ♪♪ >> i do feel like i've been pushed out. but we knew exactly what happened when they put that bigger flag up, when the people were killed in charleston. we knew exactly what was going on and that wasn't our heart. >> now that it's closed and it's
over, i'm very relieved. at the end of the day, getting my family away from here and moving back to familiar people and places is just a plus-plus. >> shop closed. >> shop is closed. >> the shop is closed. >> our success in orangeburg has inspired other people to stand up. >> everybody else is taking them down, and we're putting them up. >> today, we're raising the first confederate battle flag on i-95 in south carolina. >> when a liberal, also known as a libtard, comes down the road and it offends them to see a
battle flag, that's what we want. because they don't have anything to do with our heritage. they can have their heritage. we want to keep ours. >> do you worry that there will be a day when the confederate flag does not fly in orangeburg? >> yeah. how can you help not to worry about it? i don't dwell on it, but there are times when i can foresee, and i worry about that there may not be a confederate flag flying in the city of orangeburg. or the majority of the united states. >> no justice, no peace.
>> anger, frustration, pouring into the streets of america. >> george floyd. >> huge numbers of people coming up in every single state in the country. standing together to say, this is not acceptable anymore. black lives matter. >> black lives matter. black lives matter. >> african american ahmaud arbery is seen running. >> no justice, no peace. >> george floyd repeatedly cried, my neck hurts, i can't breathe. >> i can't breathe, i can't breathe. >> breonna taylor, shot eight times and killed by police. >> hands up, don't shoot. >> here in south carolina and all across the nation, community members have been challenging their local and state governments to take down confederate statues. >> what do we want? >> justice. >> when do we want it? >> now.
>> today, at noon, city council members in orangeburg will vote on a resolution to remove a confederate statue. >> during the protests outside city hall, members want the 127-year-old confederate statue at courthouse square removed. >> when people say, it's our heritage, it's not my heritage. when i think of confederate anything, i'm in fear. it's been one of those things where you can't talk about it or you don't say anything about it, but we're now in a time where they have the voice. >> we're here today because, of course, the mayor and city council are meeting on the resolution in regards to the statue. >> we just hope that the city will remove the statue from downtown square, along with renaming john c. calhoun drive. >> we live in this community. >> where do you live? >> i live in orangeburg. >> no symbol or a part of the symbol of the oppression against my people. >> our first goal is to remove the racist statue and racist street names in orangeburg. and then of course the
confederate flag that the creamery, we've called the mayor's office, we've called the city council members. >> i'm excited to see what's going on in orangeburg. we are seeing people who want change, and they're not asking for change anymore. they're demanding it. as we continue, we've got to do a much better job collectively of being willing to fight the fight when it ain't the popular thing to do. and if we can keep doing that, keep pushing for change, and we can keep standing up to people who stand behind institutions of bigotry and hate and slavery, under the guise of heritage, we will get there. >> and i look forward to the day when i jump in my car and come into orangeburg, that confederate flag's no longer flying there.
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the monument in town is still there. and no one has purchased the property, so tommy is still looking for a buyer. >> so, tell me how you decided to do this. you're from the area. and i think that probably gave you a little bit more credibility to get people to talk. how important was that? >> i think it made all the difference. being from orangeburg, i just knew the landscape of the town, and there was just so much more credibility that i had, reaching out to everyone involved. they were much more willing to speak with me, and you know, i also really care about the issue because this is my hometown, and i really cared about how the town and the people in it were portrayed. >> i loved how much you didn't feel the need to include a narrator. in fact, correct me if i'm wrong, i think we only hear your voice once in the entire documentary towards the end there, correct?
>> that's right. yeah. i just -- i feel like the power of documentary is that you can take people into different communities and just introduce them to people where they're at. and so i just didn't feel like there was a need to editorialize because i think audiences can draw their own conclusions from seeing things as they are. >> how did you get the trust of the sons of the confederacy? because they're not, you know, look, i think it did help that you were from there, but not every journalist could have gotten that sitdown. not every journalist could have handed him the original secession papers and gotten him to read it. >> right. yeah. i was very nervous when we filmed that. to be honest. and ultimately, i have no idea if, you know, buzz and the sons of the confederate veterans were going to want to participate, but i just felt like when i was starting the project, i had to reach out and find out, and so you know, i sent off some facebook messages and really had no idea if i'd hear back.
and a couple days later, i got a phone call. and buzz was, you know, very cautious, and i was very cautious, but over the course of filming, it was a three-year process, and i was really up front about what i was trying to do, up front that i was filming with tommy and the ice cream shop and i think buzz just felt like he wanted -- he knew i was going to make the film, and he wanted to -- he'd rather be able to present himself himself than have, you know, me draw my own conclusions. >> has he seen your finished product? have -- has everybody seen your finished product? i'm just curious. >> everybody -- yes, everybody has seen it. >> can i confess to having a few ideas that i'm curious as to why the shop owners didn't try this. so, idea number one is, did they think about putting up, like, six surrounding flag poles,
giant american flags, to basically make it impossible for you to see the confederate flag? >> yeah. tommy actually really wanted to do that, and that was part of why he was starting to dig up the monument, because he wanted to build something around it. but then, he doesn't own that land. it's not his land. so, there was very quickly a stop work order from the city, and i think he just ultimately felt like he was going at it in every issue and just wasn't succeeding, and eventually just decided, i don't want to be here anymore. and you know, closed the ice cream shop and left town. >> did he think about filing a civil lawsuit against the sons of the confederacy and essentially because he could make a claim that their mere presence, the flag's presence, hurt his business. and therefore, they were actively hurting his business. and they should be financially liable. has he thought about pursuing that? did he? >> i mean, maybe you're going to
give him the idea when he sees this, but i think ultimately, you know, he bought the property with the flag there, so they probably could have come back and said, well, you knew this was here. you purchased the restaurant anyway. but ultimately, i do think -- i mean, this was really straining for tommy and his family, and i think ultimately, they just -- they're exhausted from this fight and really just want to try and rebuild and move on as best they can. >> well, in the final idea, selling it to some activists to create a civil rights museum on hate. >> and there's been talk of that in the town. there are people that are interested in doing that. it's about figuring out how to make it happen and who has the money to be able to support something like that. orangeburg is, you know, really has an activist history at heart, and i was really excited that at the end of the film, we are able to kind of touch on
that with this new group of younger residents that want to see change. but we'll see. i mean, that's -- that would be great. i think everyone would be excited and that could be a really good option. >> final question. what do you hope to do next? is tremendous success in telling this story? >> wohl, i'm actually working on another south carolina film. i filmed with jaime harrison for senate campaign last year, so i'm working on making that into a documentary. >> emily herald, the film, just a wonderful portrayal, i think, of the debate on a local level. thank you very much. >> thank you. all right, folks, up next is -- you're watching the "meet the press" film festival on msnbc. nbc.
>> imagine, five, ten, moves ahead, how slanted his shoulders are. what way is his elbow facing right now? i put all those together and just time it perfectly. when i first started martial arts, i was 6 years old. the first time i went into the dojo, i did, like, a little straight up high kick and then the instructor was like, yep, this is definitely for you. >> he was already jumping off of everything that he could jump off of, so, it was not that really that big of a surprise that he fell into martial arts. >> from 6 to about 9 years old, i went to a lot of tournaments and i won all of them. >> we had to sit down with him and tell him, jeffrey, you're not batman. when people are being pushed around in school, because we'll loose our home if you break somebody's nose, okay? and he's like, okay. then i get a call from the
principle, jeffrey's in the office, he's rescuing somebody again and we had to tell kids' parents, please tell your kids not to call on jeffrey, he's not a superhero, he's in the third grade. >> when i was 10 years old, i was inducted into the martial arts hall of fame. >> he was growing really, really fast. he was doing really well in martial arts and then when he started getting close to getting his black belt, he's like, mom, i'm going to teach other people. and i'm like, well, who do you want to teach? >> my grandma, she lives by herself and every weekend that i could, i would be over there. >> he would probably live there if we let him. every weekend, he's like, can i go over grammy's? can i go over grammy's? she's making him grilled choose. she's got the fruit snacks. we're like, oh, that's why you're always there. >> i was like, oh, since my grandma feels like she's very lonely, maybe others feel that way, too. where could i go?
and i was like, oh, the nursing home. so, i started working with seniors because i felt like they weren't getting a lot of love and attention. my first class, i took it easy with them. didn't expect them to do as well as they did, honestly. one of my students, she was doing pushups, like, going all the way down and coming up and i was like, if you don't mind me asking, how old are you? she was like, oh, i'm 95 years old, sweetie. i was like, huh? we're doing stretching and exercises, get their arms working, their stomachs working when we do the situps. just giving them the physical strength they need. also, it gives my students confidence to step out the house. >> one of miss students said, i have dementia, but i write my karat tooe class on my door. i think that's such a big deal to keep their bodies and their minds active. >> one of my students, she had diabetes and sthe was taking
medication, like, four times a day. that was before she started. after, she said, now i'm only on one pill. my doctor said, i could keep doing the class. and she walks, like, seven miles a day. she said it's motivated her so do better. >> the favorite part of class, typically, is at the end of class, he lets them beat him up. and some of them that are really vocal and excited, it's my turn! can i kick him? i'm like, sure. >> don't hurt him. >> my b-paw came down and look classes. he's amazing as a student. he listens very well. his smile is huge when she's doing it. i never seen him smile so much. we posted pictures of him, too, and he was like, i look like a big tank. i was like, yes, you do, big paw. our karate dojo, the most important value is to respect your elders. i think it's a great thing, because you're never too old, never too young to learn something new. >> we need more kind humans and
when i see those seniors run up to him, that lets you know that, okay, i did something right. my favorite thing about teaching the seniors is just the excite. that they get when they start class. they're like, hurry up, i'm ready. they're just so hype and it's just amazing to know that i'm impacting their lives like that. the transformation is just, like, you see them grow in ways you just wouldn't expect. it just makes me feel good, just making other people feel better makes me feel, like, 30 times better. that's it for this year's special presentation of the "meet the press" film festival. we'll be back with more of the best in class documentary shorts. thanks for watching. ac,
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growing up in a little red house, on the edge of a forestaid no in norway,son, there were three things my family encouraged: kindness, honesty and hard work. over time, i've come to add a fourth: be curious. be curious about the world around us, and then go. go with an open heart, and you will find inspiration anew. viking. exploring the world in comfort.
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