Thursday, April 3, 2008

Food Fight!!!

"The last time I talked to documentary filmmaker Micki Dickoff, we were standing on Center Avenue in my hometown during the Edgar Ray Killen trial. I was yelling at her for trying to own the story of long-overdue justice and the people who had fought for it for so long..."

How old were you Ms. Ladd? Past 40 at the time?

Don't feel too bad Micki. I've gotten emails from her based on some Google alert that had her name in one of my posts and she took it completely out of context because she didn't bother to read the whole post. See comments section below. There are so many things I could say about this exchange.


Kingfish said...

You have a lot of nerve to criticize a film you have not seen. Is that what a good journalist does? Jerry Mitchell chose to write about a very small part of the film which does call for the prosecution of all the men who participated in the murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. However, our film is much more complex than that. Ultimately, our film is about healing and racial reconciliation, and about bringing people together; it is definitely not a one-dimensional story.

I started researching this film in 1999 when I met Carolyn Goodman and the Chaney family. Both families asked me to make a film that would tell the truth about how a mob of Klansmen, who bragged openly about killing three innocent, unarmed kids, could get away with murder for 40 years. In 2004, I teamed with my friend and colleague Tony Pagano to make NESHOBA. Tony and I funded the entire film out-of-pocket, using our credit cards, taking second mortgages on our homes and writing grants. We worked without salary for four years and did every job ourselves including all the pre production, production and post production. We shot 300 hours of footage and made 20 trips to Mississippi during 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Since we had been filming for a year before the trial began (and did not know when we started filming that there would be an indictment or a trial), Tony and I became very close with the victims’ families and with heroes like Florence Mars. I spoke with Florence, Carolyn Goodman and Fannie Lee Chaney every Saturday since 2004, until each passed away. They were my friends and I miss them dearly. For the record, Tony and I did not own anybody’s story nor did we have exclusive contracts with anyone. Florence and the families took it upon themselves not to give interviews with other filmmakers, as they were concerned by all the film crews who showed up at the trial who had big budgets and quick turnarounds. We, of course, appreciated their loyalty.

I also resent your accusation that we pretended to be bigots to get interviews with anyone, including Killen. We lied to no one. We merely asked people to tell their own stories. All anyone has to do is Google my name to see who I am and the kinds of films I’ve made over the past 30 years. I even gave the Killen family some of my films, so they could see my work. I wasn’t hiding from anyone. Our goal was to tell the story from many points of view, including Killen’s, in order to get at the truth.

You also insinuate that I am an “outsider,” but did you know I have a personal connection to Mississippi too? My father grew up in the Delta, in a small town called Itta Bena. I spent much of my childhood in Mississippi, including the summer of 1964. I begged my parents to let me participate in Freedom Summer, but because I was only 17 at the time, they would not give me permission. The murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner haunted me my whole life. I only wish my father was still alive to see the film. This is not just your story, Donna, but my story too! In fact, it is America’s story. Your use of the word “outsiders” has echoes of the “us against them” mentality that prevailed in Mississippi when the Freedom Summer volunteers arrived. Since you haven’t seen the film, Donna, how do you know we got it wrong? We believe our film finally tells the unvarnished truth – the good, the bad and the ugly! -- Micki Dickoff, filmmaker

Posted by: Micki on Apr 03, 08 | 4:28 pm

Anonymous said...

You might want to post all the comments as Ladd will likely get out her pruning shears anytime to clip out anything, and everything, that doesn't reflect most favorably on her own behavior and motives.


Kingfish said...

In this day of Youtube, there is nothing to stop her from making her own documentary.

In fact, if her paper hadn't written that little hit peice on Tougaloo's land deals (never mind DJP and its land deals downtown) around the Civil Rights Museum, she probably could have worked out a deal with the people that will operate it to sponsor a documentary produced by the JFP in an area in which she has true expertise.

I don't blame the exclusive contracts at all on the filmmakers. They work their asses off, have a vision and try to bring it to fruition. Its called business and they want to protect their leads and sources. Its not a flattering part of the business but I do understand it even if I don't like it.

Kingfish said...

by the way Micki, if the film winds up on youtube, I'll post it here.

Anonymous said...

It takes money to make even a bare-bones documentary. Ladd and Stauffer have no money. They couldn't pay their taxes. If it wasn't for the DJP bailout they'd still be deep in the red-ink bucket.

Kingfish said...

That is why I said the Civil Rights Museum probably would have been interested in sponsoring a similar type film.

Anonymous said...

What "land deals" does DJP have downtown? My understanding was that that particular entity isn't "in" on any "land deals" directly, although it represents/works with entities/businesses that are.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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