tv Meet the Press Film Festival MSNBC December 26, 2021 2:00pm-4:00pm PST
♪♪ welcome to a special presentation of the "meet the press" film festival val. i'm chuck todd. 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 nine countries. dozens of our films in our
festival have gone on to be nominated for emmys and oscars, including the winner of the 2020 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 wesler. later in the program, you'll see "meltdown in dixie" and "golden age karate." we hope you enjoy. ♪♪
the country's jails. they have proven to be a breeding ground for contagion. >> how is everybody doing? how are you thinking about what's happening out here, this coronavirus thing? >> everybody is here under a lot of stress. we see what's happening outside and how fast it's been moving. once it gets in here, we're all in complete risk. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> the guards, they only wear their face masks on monday, and now they don't even have it on at all. as you see, she's going up there. she's going up there checking through the rooms. >> they are not practicing it, which is the social distance, the six feet. we're 32 people in here. there is no way we're going to practice that. [ speaking foreign language ] >> i got three problems for what i am treat the, which is high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. this is the medicine i have to take every day. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> i am concerned because at this point, my health is at high risk. it's not easy to be here right now. >> they are telling us to put ourself together so committee can move to alpha. but what we know is they're going to put usness a more worse condition. if they trying to use force, there is going to be a big issue. >> we all did. we all said we're not moving. >> you think we all fit in the hole? we don't fit in the hole. >> they can't put us all in the hole.
[ speaking foreign language ] >> the warden make a declaration saying that there was somebody here who tested positive for coronavirus, and he's here. >> i'm really scared i'm going to die. [ speaking foreign language ] >> the woman that communicated with us, they sent us a note through the laundry bag. they send a letter saying that they're going to go on strike. [ speaking foreign language ]
what they're going to do. >> i try to be strong. it's really hard. there is so much going on outside. they've been forgetting about us. >> if you can call me after the break? >> can you just keep it running? zblr there is nobody infected in this facility. >> okay. let me tell you something. my name is nilson barahona. i put a lawsuit, okay, to this facility? both of the wardens were in the federal court on thursday, and they declared that they have tested three people, and one came positive.
>> the people responsible are nowhere to be found. they're all sitting at home somewhere, barking orders, telling people like me what to say to you. it's a fucked up situation. it really is. the facility is going to continue addressing issues as they arise. what that entails, i have no idea. okay? >> hello. >> hi, tishante. it's seth. what's going on with your husband? >> at this point they retaliated against all the people that are participating in the hunger strike. and so now he's in isolation.
>> hey, have you heard from nilso ]. >> today he's still in the hole in delta, in the shu. i am so worried about nilson because he got a really weak health kwd. >> and with him refusing medication, one of the i.c.e. ladies said they're going to get a permit from the judge to force feed us. >> hello. >> nilson barahona --
>> is calling you from -- >> irwin county detention center. >> hi, nilson. how are you? >> i'm -- i'm okay. i mean, you know. i haven't eaten for five days today. nothing. we haven't drink any water also, taken any of my medicines. when i get up, you know, i get dizzy. honestly, i'm feeling weak. this is very unhumanitarian, and i mean we haven't committed no crime. we are not hurting nobody. we didn't behave aggressively in any way whatsoever. so it's really hard to understand why they are treating us this way. [ speaking foreign language ]
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can you see me? >> i can. nice hair. >> let me show you really quick, okay? >> oh, wow. and they're, like, all over the place, huh? >> basically, they just them around. it says, please practice social distancing and maintain a distance from each other, big letters. >> do you know when thisspection is going to happen? >> week and a and a half, man. i mean, they have been running this place for years, and they haven't cleaned it up properly. look. there is all kinds of stuff in there. i mean hair, everything. it's not sanitary. >> they're transferring me. >> what? >> yeah, to stewart. >> when? >> they're take meg from here to stewart tonight.
>> you know a dream that i have. it happens a lot. i'm walking on sand. i'm walking, and it feels like a nice breeze. it feels really nice. but then, the sand, it just starts like, creating waves. and then it becomes like huge mountains. and then i see like if the mountain is going to fall over me. and thenvy to run away from these waves, and it's a bad feeling. i don't know. thinking about it, it makes me think like on unstable ground.
in six years, he said something to me that he had never said before. he said, daddy, can we speak in english, please? speaking spanish, it was our thing, you know. this was a bond that we had together. i just feel like i am losing that bond, you know. i just want to be able to be with him. >> america has been and still is the greatest country in the world. we are the shining city on the hill. now it's up to us to protect what the rest of the world envies -- economic opportunity for everybody, individual liberty for our children and our grandchildren. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> we heard about it on the news, spanish tv. somebody who was detained by i.c.e. in the facility of stewart passed away. it was shocking, you know, because we know there are people sick, but we all hope that nobody dies. you know what i mean? >> we're asking as a threshold matter for these 11 pe tissuers to be released. >> i've already ruled on that and i haven't heard anything terribly persuasive to change my mind on that.
>> a whistle-blower, a nurse, working at a georgia immigrations and customs enforce i.c.e. facility leveling honestly ghastly allegations. the complaint alleges the facility lacked protection against coronavirus for detained immigrants. >> we didn't have anything to sanitize with. we didn't have the proper ppe. the first case of covid in the facility, it was covid is not here in the facility. [ speaking foreign language ] >> women in that facility, migrant women, say that a doctor was performing procedures for which no medical indication existed.
>> they said i was going to gynecology. >> they say you're going to do a surgery. i said, nobody informed me that i'm going to do a surgery. all of a sudden i get up, that's when i know they went through my belly button. i got three big holes. he never explained anything to me, and i never agreed. [ speaking foreign language ] >> that's outside irwin? when did that happen? >> now.
>> abolish i.c.e.! >> they're saying, abolish i.c.e. >> we're just leaving this irwin county detention center. there was one woman in particular. she described the experience here as torture. >> what's going on? >> not much. >> i see your shirt. >> we just feel like we got to do something, man, to feel froud of it you know. there's too much going on outside, and we can't ignore it. even though there is nothing we can do, but at least like this, we feel like we are part of it. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> free them all! free them all! >> today i can tell you that i am sure people on the inside are feeling what we're doing over here on the outside. they told me, you need to leave this country because you are a threat to the community. who were they talking about? my wife, a person who was born here, somebody who was suffering because i wasn't next to her? were they talking about my son, a united states citizen? they were protecting my son by taking me away from him? were they protecting my sisters? my mom? who were they protecting? that's what i wonder up to today's date.
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seth, what was interesting about your film is also how you got your access. in many ways you made it clear during the film that you had to pay for video access at times. you made sure we saw that. explain how you met nilsson, how you met 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. >> mm-hmm. >> 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 -- and 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. 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 moved 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. >> right. >> 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 sever 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 in some ways to at least briefly take us into the facility, which i think made yours stand out. let's take nilson. he doesn't know why he was heald for as long as he was held, and he's not quite sure why he was released, as least as far as the
film is concerned. can you fill in some of the blanks? >> i.c.e. detention, immigration detention, 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 non-citizens who are facing the threat of deportation, ostensibly so that they don't abscond, so they show up in court. it's at the discretion of the federal government, of i.c.e. so nearly everybody who is detained in i.c.e. detention could actually be released at any point at the discretion of immigration and customs enforce. and policy shifts dramatically from administration to administration about who is detained, who is prioritized, who is held in detention, who is 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. >> right. >> intended to enter the country but when officials at the airport asked if she feared returning to her country, she was detained and treated as an arriving asylum seeker. and under the trump administration, arriving asylum seekers were summarily detained. >> right. >> 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. >> so they were held for months, and then let -- let -- allowed to stay, period. >> that's right. andrea is in court, proceeding through her asylum case. nilson is waiting for a green
card. he's marries 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, from 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, 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. i appreciate you participating in our film festival. >> thanks. firefighter maggie gronewald knows how to handle dry weather... ...and dry, cracked skin. new gold bond advanced healing ointment. restore healthy skin, with no sticky feeling. gold bond. champion your skin. hi susan! honey? yeah? with no sticky feeling. i respect that. but that cough looks pretty bad... try this robitussin honey.
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my name is tommy darris. we're at edisto river creamery. big-old quarter pounder, 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. >> the battle over a confederate
flag in orangeburg. >> the flag fly as top this pole right next to the sign for the edisto river creamery. >> but the flag is not owned by this ice cream parlor. >> 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, da are, ris 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. >> a 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 the
large the one that they've ever had on there. people screaming atmy, 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. >> told not take it down. >> that flag is coming down. >> no, it isn't. >> we have what we wanted on our property. why should we compromise? >> i would have never said five, ten years ago that that was the most racist thing in the world. standing here, i feel these people's hearts. >> we want our flag. >> we're going 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'd 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. i 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 bad ass. when i lived in maryland i was a race car driver. we had a rebel flag not on the car, but we had a flag pole by the race car. and especially when we 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 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 veteran camp 842. this is general robert e. lee. probably the greatest man that ever walked the face of this earth. a lot of people don't understand the sons of confederate
veterans. the confederate battle flag is the soldiers' flag, our ancestors. that's why we 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. here is a picture of maurice. we were down right where the flag pole is, selling confederate stuff. >> i'm maurice bessinger, chairman of the board of pinkie park enterprise incorporated. 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. >> after almost four decades and
a bitter debate, south carolina removed the confederate flag from the 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. >> how the flag got here on the bean 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 are the little piece of property where the flag is. that was one last 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, the bigger the better.
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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 park restaurant. maurice put a sign up in his restaurant that says the government may say we have to serve niggers, but we're going take that money and give to it the kkk. when tommy and his wife bought that property, the flag was there. they knew it was there what they didn't know is 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 make a might be a minority. >> there is 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 can 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 the zoning.
this is the actual zoning map. we 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 confederate veterans want to use that piece of property to keep maurice bessinger's hateful legacy living on in to 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 the hopes of where the zoning where the flag sits could be challenged.
>> in a public way and just clear it, clear the record, right? >> i was contacted by camp 842. the issues that were being presented were at 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 upton, 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 therein by is onning or any other regulation. therefore the property is in compliance. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> all in favor of upholding the motion of zoning administrator, let it be known by showing of your right hand. any oppose? so the zoning board has agreed upon the decision that the zoning administrator may find. this meeting is adjourned. >> 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. >> i already have. i already have. >> i love you, brother. >> love you too, man. >> they went to the path of least resistance. >> i think they got it wrong, personally. but we 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, down, f-u.
>> my wife debbie thinks the sons of confederacy are going to burn our house down, and she is up all night looking out the window. it's aggravating to me she is 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 the 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. >> it's so stressful, and it's so sad because i want -- i want to please everybody. i want to love everybody. and sometimes i often wonder, god, why did you bring me to this place? why did you bring me to this town? why?
>> -- confederate flag, reference, and undying devotion to the cause to which it stands. >> thank you. you may all be seated. for those who have heard or 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 followed. ♪ i wish i was in the land of cot top, old times there are not forgotten, look away, look away, look away dixieland ♪
>> second coming of the klan, use 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 was an honorable and those men from 1861 to 1865 carried it. >> this heritage, this symbol of the south is part of dixie. >> segregation has been over for a while. 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 followed 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 you? right. uh-huh. >> i can remember maurice barbecue. they portrayed 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 we want a positive image there. the owner told us that he was trying to get the flag down. we all decided to bring it down, but he didn't have the proper paperwork. there is nothing we can do. we got to step outside of our scope of authority. >> i think that most people in orangeburg want to move forward. not everybody is willing to
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try pepto bismol with a powerful coating action. for fast and soothing relief. pepto bismol for fast relief when you need it most. today we are actually going to appeal the decision. and appeals go straight to circuit court. it removes that political element that is realistically there on the local level. >> the world is very much changing around me and everybody else. it's just you see a lot that you don't really be comfortable with.
try not to use the n-word, but if there is somebody out there just doing everything wrong in their behavior, their conduct, i might say that word. i can't say that i would apologize for it. >> the day i filed the zoning challenge, that next morning, my daughters are working, and i go look out my door, and there is a pickup truck pulling in 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 is no different.
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 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 it. 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 darris 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. >> what if i donate this whole property to the sons of confederacy and they put flags and swastikas or whatever. is the city going to be okay with that? no. so they better get their asses on board.
see it right around the monument. i'm just getting it ready for pickup. the sons of confederate. i 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 get 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 huge man. and in the meantime, i saw black people lining up over here. it was like, you know, dad, these guys, all these people are lining up. and my dad, oh, i mow these people.
the first one walked up to my dad and said i owe you money, and i'd like to pay you. my father said, i have no idea how much you owe me. it all burned in the store. and 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 want people to know that i'm not no racist bastard standing there holding that flag. riders, the lone wolves of the great highway. all they need is a bike and a full tank of gas. their only friend? the open road. i have friends. [ chuckles ] well, he may have friends, but he rides alone.
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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 by martin luther king jr. quote wish where there is injustice anywhere, there is injustice everywhere. i feel that too in my heart. there is a real assault on our traditions, our history, and particularly on the confederacy. >> tommy darris versus the 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 a 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.
>> the judge is going to review. >> the argument that was made today, she is going to look at the record that's up on appeal, and then she is going to reach her decision. we're going to have to wait. >> sometimes i wonder whether maurice up there in that bed chuckling. in hell now, 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. >> i'm -- i'm not going say that slavery will not in any way, shape or form involved in the decisions around succession. but those men did not leave their family and their home and their warm bed to go to fight so somebody could own a slave. declaration of the immediate causes induced and justified in the succession 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 that 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 the -- 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 admit it. slavery will play 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 are okay with it. >> new developments tonight. a circuit court judge agrees that the confederate flag in front of the edisto river creamery does not violate the city of orangeburg's zoning ordinance. the owner of the edisto creamery now says because it affects his business, he closed that shop and is now selling it. >> here is my closed down little store. it is all gone. it's not comfortable to be here.
>> i think that people couldn't differentiate between this property being someone else and this problem being the creamery. >> i think it's sad, because nothing that plants 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 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 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. >> yep. >> today raising the first confederate battle flag on i-95 in south carolina. [ applause ] >> when a liberal, also known as a libtard comes down and it offends them to see a battle flag, that's what we want. because they don't have anything
to do with our hedges. they can have their hedges. we want to keep ours. >> do you worry 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. >> police! >> no justice, no peace. >> no justice, no peace! >> no justice. >> no peace!
>> anger, frustration pouring into the streets of america. >> say his name. >> 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! black lives matter! >> african american ahmaud arbery is seen running. >> no justice! >> no peace! >> no justice -- >> no peace! >> george floyd repeatedly cried "my neck hurts and 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! >> hands up -- >> don't shoot! >> here in south carolina and all across the nation, community members have been challenging where local and state governments to take down confederate statues. >> what do we want? >> when do we want it? >> now. >> 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. >> the protest outside city hall. members want the 127-year-old confederate statue from 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 and you don't see anything about it. but we're now in a time where we have the voice. we are 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. >> those symbols are a part of the symbol of 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 at 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're seeing people who want change, and they're not asking for change. they're demanding it. as we continue, we 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 is no longer flying there. ♪♪ ♪♪
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welcome back. you just watched "meltdown in dixie." joining me now is the director of the film, emily harold. emily, tremendous film. and not the happiest of endings here. let's start from right there. any updates since you made the film on that flag? >> unfortunately, no. the flag is still there. 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 -- 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 so much more credibility that i had reaching out the 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 love how much you didn't feel the need to include a narrater. correct me if i'm wrong, we only hear your voice once the entire documentary towards the end there, correct? >> that's right. i feel like the power of documentary is you can take
people into different communities and just introduce them to people where they're at. and so i 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 -- look, it did help you were from there. but not every journalist could have gotten that sit-down. not every journalist could have handed him the original succession papers and gotten him to read it. >> right. i was very nervous when we filmed that, to be honest. and ultimately, i had no idea if, you know, buzz and the sons of 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 sent off some facebook messages and really had had no idea if i would hear back, and a couple of days later i got a phone call.
and buzz was 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 ice cream shop. i think buzz just felt like he wanted -- he knew i was going make the film, and he wanted to -- he would rather be able to present himself, himself, than have me draw my own conclusions. >> has he seen your finished product? has everybody seen your finished product, who was involved? >> 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? idea number one is did they think about putting up 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 every issue and wasn't succeeding. and eventually just decided i don't want to be here anymore. and 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. as he thought about pursuing that? did he? >> i mean, maybe you're going give him the idea when he sees this. but i think ultimately he bought the property with the flag
there. so they probably could have come back and said you knew this was here when you purchased the restaurant any way. but ultimately, i do think -- 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 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 has 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 at the end of the film we are able to touch on that with this new group of younger residents
that want to see change. but we'll see. 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 after what i think is a tremendous success in telling this story? >> well, i'm actually working on another south carolina film. i filmed with the jaime harrison for senate campaign last year. so i'm working on making that into a documentary. >> well, that will be very interesting. emily harold, the film again "meltdown in dixie." just a wonderful portrayal i think of the debate on a local level. thanks very much. >> thank you. all right, folks. up next is golden age karate. you're watching the "meet the press film festival" on msnbc. >> when i'm in a match, time slows down. imagine thinking five, ten moves ahead like how slanted his
shoulders are, what way is his elbow facing right now, and i just put all those together and 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 the instructor was yep, this is definitely for you. >> he was already jumping off of everything that he could jump off of. so it was not 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 lose our home if you break somebody's nose. okay? and he is okay. and then i get a call from the principal. jeffrey's in the office. he's rescuing somebody again.
and then we had to tell kids' parents please tell your children not to call on jeffrey. he's not a super hero. he is 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. then when he started getting close to getting his black belt, he was like, mom, i'm going teach other people. well, who do you want to teach? >> my grandma, she lives by herself. and every weekend they could, i would be over there. >> he would probably live there if we let him. every weekend, can i go to over to grammy's? can i go over to grammy's? can i go over to grammy's? and we find out later she is making him grilled cheese. she's got the fruit snacks. we're like, oh, that's why you're always at grammy's. >> i was like, oh, since my grandma feels like she is very lonely, maybe others feel that way, too. where could i go? 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 look it easy with them. didn't expect them to do as well as they did, honestly. one of my students, she was doing push-ups like going all the way down and coming up. i was like, if you don't mind me asking, how old are you? she said, oh, i'm 95 years old, sweetie. i was like, huh? we're doing stretching and exercises, get their arms working and get their stomachs working. we do the sit-ups. it's just giving them the physical strengths that they need. also, it gives my students confidence to step out the house. >> one of his students said, i have dementia, but i write my karate class on my door. i think that's such a big deal to keep not only their body active, but their minds active. >> one of my students, she had diabetes. and she was taking medication like four times a day. that was before she started.
and then after she said, now i'm only on one pill, because my doctor said i should keep doing this karate class. and she also walks like seven miles a day. she said it's motivated her to do better. >> and then their 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 are excited are like, it's my turn. can i kick him? and i'm like, sure. >> don't hurt him. >> my b-pa came down and took karate classes. he is amazing as a student. he listens very well. his smile is huge when he is doing it. i've never seen him smile so much. we posted pictures of him, too. and he was like, i look like a big tank. yes you do, big pa. yes, you do. and 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 or 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 excitement that they get when they start class. there is like hurry up, hurry up, i'm ready, i'm ready, i'm ready. they're just so hyped in this amazing to know that i'm impacting their lives like that. the transformation is just like -- you see them grow in ways you wouldn't expect. it just makes me feel good, just making other people feel better makes me feel 30 times better. >> that's it for this year's special presentation of the "meet the press film festival." we'll be back next year with more of the best in class documentary shorts. thanks for watching. feeling sluggish or weighed down? it could be a sign that your digestive system isn't working at it's best
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