Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Some PBS stations air "September's Children": in NYC after 9/11, Afghanistan, Gaza

On July 17, Howard University PBS station WHUT aired the one hour film “September’s Children”, narrated by Judy Woodruf.

The film covered on the efforts to protect and guide fifth graders at a public school (234) near the World Trade Center site on 9/11.  Many of them saw or heard the planes hit and towers fall.  The kids were taken to a different PS, and it took some time for all the parents to arrive to pick them up.  Teachers faced the daunting task of explaining to elementary school kids why the attacks had happened.  At the end of the film, in June 2002, the class graduates to middle school in a world with a “new normal”.

Later the film moved to Afghanistan, and covered the way families in areas ravaged by the Taliban had children and tried to educate them in secret.   There had been no schools at all in many areas, not even for men.

The film also covered conditions in Gaza, and a teenage boy with multiple shrapnel wounds. The boy says he has no desires and lives every day for the present.

Georgia Public Television has a link for the film here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

HBO airs Sundance documentary "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"

The 40-minute HBO short “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”  (dir. Lucy Walker) starts with the most graphic video of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan that I have ever seen. As people watch and then scream from a bluff,  the “last wave” approaches from the distant ocean, then encroaches, and finally comes to the foot of the bluff, washing away buildings and people on camera.  People trying to rescue patients from a nursing home themselves are washed away.

Gradually, the film turns to rejuvenation, the late Spring in northeast Japan, as symbolized by the cherry trees (some quite large) and blossoms.  But there are no festivals this year. “Plants don’t give up, people do.”
Disasters can wipe out people who don’t participate in building social capital, who are totally invested in “themselves”.

The tsunami was 133 feet high at this particular town.  It is conceivable that a volcanic eruption and landslide underneath the Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands could send a tsunami to parts of the US East Coast 200-300 feet high, with about eight hours warning. We are not prepared!

The film won a grand jury prize, short-film non-fiction, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

HBO’s link is here.

Wikipedia attribution link for animated diagram of tsunami. 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Open Minds interview of Travis Walton (1975 UFO abductee) compares his account to "Fire in the Sky"

I stumbled across some YouTube videos of a 57 year old Travis Walton describing, with articulation, his abduction on Nov. 5, 1975 by a UFO from a group of other loggers on a forest road about the Mogollon Rim near Snowflake, AZ. 

The most detailed interview that I could find is with native American host Alejandro Rojas of Open Minds Radio, the interview ("Travis Walton Discusses his Abduction Experience") taken on Jan.  3, 2011. The link for OMR is here

The first thirty minutes of the 90 minute “film” have him discussing other UFO-related issues, including a discussion with someone from SETI claiming that red dwarf star Gliese (about 20 light years from Earth) seems to have at least two planets (however tidally locked) within its Goldilocks zone. Walton talks for the remaining hour (sometimes is voice is very low and hard to hear).

Walton’s account is quite vivid (and it tracks to Wikipedia, here

Walton says the evening sky was illuminated oddly around 6 PM (after dark that time of year).  The video simulates the illumination. The crew thought that the light might becoming from flares from hunters.

Walton says he was struck by a bluish bolt (rather like ball lightning) and woke up feeling very weak on a gurney on the craft, with medical gear attached to his head and chest.  He describes seeing “people” looking the “the Grays” before being taken to an indoor hangar where he would encounter a few “normal” humans who tried to continue the medical experiments.

The most interesting fact is that Walton was gone for five days, but returned to Earth on a road near Heber AZ five days later.  Search parties had found no evidence of him, although I recall claims at the time that there was someone he knew that he could have stayed with.  Nevertheless, it would be rather incredible that the entire logging team would have been in on a prank.  All passed the polygraph tests, and Walton’s medical tests were normal (no drugs).  Walton did not have the bruises that might have resulted from the initial trauma of the encounter.  No one has mentioned whether any of the alien medical tests left significant changes on his body (like hair removal).

Walton says that the real account is quite different from the Hollywood account directed by Robert Liberman for Paramount in 1993, “Fire in the Sky”, written by Tracy Torme, based on Travis Walton’s own book, where Walton was played by D.B. Sweeney.  I saw that in Pentagon City in 1993 when it had a theater complex (I don’t know why it didn’t do well enough to stay open).  The film was a bit hokey as I recall.
I did make a rental car vacation trip to northern Arizona in December 1975, talked to a journalist in Heber myself (he believed the story), and then went to Dan Fry’s Understanding “Saucer City” near Tonopah AZ for the first time.  (It’s no longer there, now a cotton plantation, last visit in 2000.)  I saw one large object over the sky in the Mogollon area on that trip, and in 1978 (at an Understanding “convention” called “Man in Space”) a lot of us saw a triangular object with flickering red and green lights in the sky for about an hour.  Would a chopper hover that long?

Other films about abduction cases include “Roswell” (1994, dir. Jeremy Kagan, with Kyle McLauchin (who else?), Paramount) and “The UFO Incident” (1975), about Betty and Barney Hill.  

Would Walton's story make a good Dateline investigative report now?

Is it just possible that there is a civilization in the Gliese star system that has overcoming tidal locking (probably seeded from elsewhere, as in Ridley Scott's "Prometheus") and is capable of the 20-light-year journey? Could a "hangar" really exist somewhere else in our solar system, an hour or so at the speed of light away? One of my own screenplays is "69 Minutes to Titan".