Rod Webber’s “A Man Among Giants” 3/27 at The Somerville Theater

In 2006, Doug “Tiny” Tunstall, a four-foot, seven-inch former wrestler and toy store elf, set upon a quest to become the mayor of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He did so running as a Republican against the Democratic incumbent James Doyle. It truly was “the little man challenging the system”.

Boston filmmaker Rod Webber‘s documentary A Man Among Giants is Tiny’s strangely fascinating story. The film will have a special advance screening Friday, March 27th, at the Somerville Theater.

Tiny will be in attendance. He’s one of the most high-spirited people you’ll ever meet, so expect to be entertained before, after, and perhaps even during the movie – a live, running commentary is well within Tiny’s uninhibited range abilities.

Webber will also be in attendance and ready to answer any of your questions.  He also put together this promo video for the screening.  (Warning: Language) …

Also check out the trailer …


Northern Light’s “Scarred Justice” at Harvard

On the night of  February 8th, 1968, students from  South Carolina State College at Orangeburg  attempted to (perhaps, needless to say, peacefully) enter the (largely Black) town’s bowling alley.  Before the evening was through, three students lay dead and at least twenty two more were seriously wounded in an attack by law officials on a student body which wanted nothing more than to be allowed to be treated, in practice , as equals to the white students who, though in a minority themselves in that particular town were treated  as  (to paraphrase Geoge Orwell’s Animal Farm) “more equal”.   Though the legal rhetoric of the time supposedly protected them by  insisting on the students’ right to be served its’, presence ,  (in the written word),  on the books drawn up after the mass protests and law suits of the early sixties culminating in the 1964 civil rights act, it did nothing in actual fact to protect these students from being brutally assaulted and murdered.

While the two students killed two years later at  Kent State in Ohio in response to the, protests of the Vietnam war    (similar only to Orangeburg in the sense that the students were involved in  non-violent activity)  is often remembered as a moment in history when the nation ‘lost its innocence’, the Orangeburg massacre, while occasionally mentioned  in an academic text in  the context, perhaps, of a college history class it has never received the reverential attention paid to the, (as the Neil Young song goes) “two dead in Ohio”.

Scarred Justice was conceived by Northern Light Productions as a way to rectify this near-silence.   Some southern law officials now assure the public that, given there is now a plaque in place in Orangeburg which memorializes the students, that all necessary truths about the flagrant abuse of justice which was Orangeburg have been aired.  While the governor at the time, Robert E. McNair later publicly claimed responsibility for the deaths, one wonders how much of this claim was for the sake of positive publicity, and is not supported by any restitution,  made to the former students and their families.

Judy Richardson, the narrator, writer and co-director (along with Bestor Cram) of the movie mentioned in the Q + A portion of the movie’s showing at the Harvard Film Archive that it took six years to get an interview with some of the law officials who were directly responsible for the incident.   The officers have never been punished.   As she put it, in response to those in the audience who may have thought that the incident was best left in the past, unexamined, “You gotta have the truth before you can have the reconciliation.”

– Sarah Pearlstein

From David’s Vast Library: “The 400 Blows: A Film by Francois Truffaut”


A book recommendation for today: It’s The 400 Blows: a Film by Francois Truffaut from a Screenplay by Francois Truffaut and Marcel Moussy.

Facts: Published by Grove Press in 1969. Edited by The New Yorker‘s David Denby (then, “a recent graduate of the master’s degree program in film at Stanford University”). The series editor is Robert Hughes.

What does it offer? … The full screenplay for The 400 Blows including a chapter devoted to scenes omitted from the film – notably, its original ending. An introduction by Robert Hughes. A collection of articles from Cashiers du Cinema concerning the making of The 400 Blows. Two interviews with Francois Truffaut. Four critical responses to the film. And more than 100 photos, most of which are frame enlargements taken from a non-Cinemascope print of the film.

The book’s objective, writes Hughes, was to offer “information not otherwise readily available concerning the creation and reception of this film” and to “further study how the film relates to the director’s work and/or to film history.”

“Real Orchids”

Are those real orchids,
in the café?
If they are warm
to the touch,
from the air
of the espresso machine
back-drafting into them,
are they merely
hot-house flowers?
The café socialists
in a world of new
barbudos, bearded orchids
rifling through the jungle
snaking up the pole in the
wafts of aromatic
mysore café.
Have they the room
to breathe?

– Sarah Pearlstein

Hey There!

We’re Local Sightings, a Boston-based organization that is committed to supporting independent filmmakers and the independent film community at large by offering a wide variety of services that help projects get made, sold, and seen. In addition to the services we provide, our goal is to act as a conduit of information, connecting people and resources in the New England independent film community.

– Sarah Pearlstein