Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 52 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
Life Arts    H4'ed 5/24/18

ACORN and the Firestorm (Film Review)

By       (Page 1 of 4 pages)   1 comment
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Michael McCray
Become a Fan
  (4 fans)
Left to Right: Derek Horne , Moderator, HSDFF Zach Polett, Former ACORN, Political Director John Atlas, Author / Producer Neil Sealy, Head Organizer for Arkansas Community Organizations
Left to Right: Derek Horne , Moderator, HSDFF Zach Polett, Former ACORN, Political Director John Atlas, Author / Producer Neil Sealy, Head Organizer for Arkansas Community Organizations
(Image by Michael McCray)
  Details   DMCA

A jazz band was playing like the house band at an old time speakeasy on Central Avenue. I walked into a bar and ordered a whiskey sour from a smoothing talking bartender named Robert. Rob has a way with phrases and reminds you of a young Steve Buscemi. The Ohio Club is one of the old-style taverns in Hot Springs that dates back to the turn of the century. It was a favorite of Al Capone and a life size manikin sits outside. Gangsters and gambling were always associated with the Ohio Club. It originally opened as a speakeasy (illegal gaming house) that fronts as a tavern--after prohibition, it was a speak easy that fronts as a tavern, fronting as a cigar store. So, I was sitting at a bar, eating a bacon double pepper-cheese slider made just like Al Capone had his--drinking whiskey, served by a bartender who sounds like "Nucky Thompson" from Boardwalk Empire. This is the type of experience you have when you attend the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Program Book
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Program Book
(Image by Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute)
  Details   DMCA

I attended the 26th Annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival--unlike most film festivals like Sundance or Tribeca, which cater to Hollywood power brokers; here the Documentary Filmmakers are the stars. I was drawn to see the screenings of "ACORN and the Firestorm." This was a documentary about the rise and fall of ACORN--which was originally, Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now. The film is based on a book called "Seeds of Change" written by John Atlas.

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Poster
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Poster
(Image by Michael McCray)
  Details   DMCA

John Atlas is the first journalist that has been given full access to ACORN board and staff meetings. He was imbedded in ACORN for five years. This is unique access to a notoriously secretive organization, but it also makes his reporting susceptible to bias or influence. It is easy to be seduced by Wade Rathke--as a seasoned organizer, that is what he does best. The movie was written and directed by Reuben Atlas (his son) and Samuel Pollard. John Atlas was a Producer--and attended the film festival. He also brought other ACORN acolytes with him to share in Questions & Answers. I like to attend all things about ACORN, because I am a former ACORN Board Member and whistleblower. I also wrote a book about my inside experiences with the association called "ACORN 8--Race, Power & Politics: Memoirs of An ACORN Whistleblower."

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Ticket Stub
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Ticket Stub
(Image by Michael McCray)
  Details   DMCA

I watched the movie"

The film starts with Travis from Orlando who is a Confederate Flag owning Republican who joins ACORN to save his home from foreclosure. The film focuses on the exploits of Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe, two conservative activists who orchestrate an elaborate media hoax that ultimately destroys the once venerable association with the help of Andrew Breitbart. The film is a cautionary tale of how easily the media can be manipulated to disastrous ends. And how ACORN became the first casualty of the "fake news" by Andrew Breitbart.

The film juxtaposes the story of Bertha Lewis, an African-American community organizer who rises up and becomes the first Black CEO of ACORN, with the story of Hannah Giles, a wannabe student-journalist who desires to destroy the group. The film also includes interviews with Wade Rathke, the putative "founder" and Chief Organizer of ACORN, Madeline Talbott, Head Organizer for Chicago ACORN, and Maud Hurd, former National President of ACORN.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Michael McCray Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Michael McCray is a public interest advocate who combats racism and corruption in the government and other institutions which deprive individuals of their basic civil rights, human rights and constitutional liberties. McCray is co-chair (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

CBC Chair Marcia Fudge, Senators Ron Wyden, Rand Paul and OpEdNews / Rob Kall honored with the Pillar Human Rights Award

ACORN Whistleblower / Anita Mailroom MonCrief

Shirley Sherrod / Sister Soldier

Blowing the Whistle on Mortgage Fraud

Senator Charles Grassley Opens Whistleblower Summit and Recieves Prestigious "Pillar Human Rights" Award

Georgia House Representative supports Mortgage Fraud whistleblowers all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court.

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend