TOWN DESTROYER

World Premiere


MIND THE GAP | DOCS

US 2022, 55 min, Director: Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman

Is art’s role to provoke or placate? What happens when it no longer reflects current societal views? These questions and many more were the subject of hot debate when Victor Arnautoff’s thirteen-panel mural “The Life of Washington” became an object of local controversy, then a media firestorm. On display since San Francisco’s George Washington High School opened in 1936, it offers a view of the Founding Father both celebratory and critical, referencing his involvements in slavery and Native American genocide. (The Iroquois dubbed him “Town Destroyer.”) But some present-day students, parents, and observers found those depictions racially offensive, calling for the work to be removed or destroyed. Would doing so be a “redaction of history,” “identity politics gone off the rails”—or a justified blow to a lingering American “colonized mentality” as well as ongoing “traumatization” of young minds? Longtime Bay Area documentarians Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman interview historians, artists, activists, and GWHS students to probe a fascinating microcosm of today’s culture wars. —Dennis Harvey

The first screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and special guests to be announced.

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Showtimes

In-Person


8:00 PM — Sequoia 2

1:15 PM — Rafael 3

1:45 PM — Roxie Theater

Virtual


Oct 6, 12:00 AM — Oct 16, 12:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Director

Deborah Kaufman’s films include BLACKS AND JEWS (1997), SECRETS OF SILICON VALLEY (2001), THIRST (2004), BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (2011), and COMPANY TOWN (2016). She founded the San Francisco Jewish Festival and served as its director for 13 years. With Deborah Kaufman, Alan Snitow directed BLACKS AND JEWS (1997), SECRETS OF SILICON VALLEY (2001), THIRST (2004), BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (2011), and COMPANY TOWN (2016). He also made the documentary short DRONES IN MY BACKYARD (2013). For 12 years, he was a producer at KTVU News. Prior to that, he was the news director of KPFA-FM, and won the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award for Best Local Newscast.

Film Info

countries:

Year:

2022

Running Time:

55

Director:

Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman

Producers:

Deborah Kaufman, Alan Snitow

Cinematographers:

Ashley James, Ulli Bonnekamp, Marsha Kahm, Vicente Franco, Phil Geyelin

Editors:

Gregory Scharpen

Cast:

Dewey Crumpler, Judith Lowry, Barbara Mumby, Robin Kelley, Jessica Young, Paul Chaat Smith

sections: