Tag Archives: Yun Suh

3 New Day Films Stream for Free in Response to the Orlando Tragedy

By Briar March

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A National Tragedy

On June 12, 2016, an attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, became the worst mass shooting in modern US history. For three filmmakers at New Day, the tragic massacre was deeply personal. Having worked previously on films about hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ community, they felt compelled to take immediate steps to engage others in discussions about homophobia and the process of healing.

When New Day member Tami Gold heard of the attacks, she was devastated. She writes, “It was a heart-wrenching reminder of the escalating levels of violence gay, lesbian, queer and transgender people face throughout the United States.” For Gold, the incident brought back painful memories of a hate crime that she had documented in her film Puzzles: When Hate Came to Town. Co-directed with David Pavlovsky, the film documents the impact of a 2006 shooting in a LGBTQ bar in New Bedford called Puzzles. The young perpetrator attempted to shoot three bar patrons and later killed himself and two others. Gold and Pavlovsky purposefully include a wide range of voices – from members of the perpetrator’s radical gang, to victims and their families, as well as gay and straight patrons of the bar. These multiple perspectives viewed over several years allow Puzzles to reveal how a culture of hate and fear can eventually lead to violent acts.

After the Orlando tragedy, Gold decided to make her film available for free online. She says the broad reach achieved, including two local broadcasts and several media interviews, has been very encouraging. Gold has also invited audiences to share their responses on her website and Facebook pages. She explains,

“If there was ever a time to tackle this crisis, it is now, and we want to be part of this discussion.”

Viewers have expressed immense gratitude: “Watching Puzzles was the antidote to the sense of despair I felt,” says one woman on Gold’s Vimeo page. Another remarks, “I still hurt over the people murdered in Orlando, but it helps me to talk about this with friends everywhere… it’s a great way to generate a conversation.”

Another New Day film that explores the impact of hate crimes on a community is New Day member Beverly Seckinger’s documentary Laramie Inside Out. In it, Seckinger returns to her hometown to make sense of the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student who was brutally beaten and left to die in 1998. The murder put Laramie into the media spotlight and sparked a nationwide debate. As Seckinger confronts her own closeted youth in Laramie, she interviews different community members. While the “God-hates-fags” Westboro Baptist Church continues to condemn Shepard and all LBGTQ people, Seckinger is heartened to see that many people have started speaking out and taking action.

“I realized then that a history lesson was in order, and that my film might provide some desperately needed perspective and inspiration.”

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“Angel Action” activists take flight in Laramie, Wyoming

While Puzzles and Laramie Inside Out document the aftermath of LGBTQ hate crimes on communities, Yun Suh’s film City of Borders provides a hopeful message about peace and unity. Set inside the only gay bar in Jerusalem, Suh introduces us to five Israeli and Palestinian patrons who have found common ground and a sense of community.

Shortly after 9/11, Suh noticed a growing trend in the media to demonize Muslims, who were often depicted as violent fanatics. Compelled to show another perspective, Suh chose to follow Israeli Palestinians who are proud to be gay and Muslim. She writes, “I was so inspired by the courage of the young people who chose to break the cycle of hatred and violence that they were taught and chose to love and laugh in spite of all the threats that surrounded them just outside their sanctuary.”  

In the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy, Suh was struck by the media’s focus on the gunman’s alleged connections to terrorism and radical extremism. She notes, “The Orlando tragedy surfaced the widespread Islamophobia and xenophobia that exists in this country. When the shooter, Omar Mateen, was identified as Muslim, the mainstream media and politicians were quick to push their anti-Islam bias and label this massacre as an act of terrorism rather than a hate crime.”

Amidst all the incendiary headlines and rhetoric, City of Borders provides a voice of reason, reminding viewers that it is possible for a community to find peaceful connections despite war and differences in religion and ideology. As with Gold’s and Seckinger’s films, there is still a chance to take action and inspire social change. Suh writes,

“There is far greater power and beauty in our diversity and unity that remains untapped.”

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Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike find refuge in a bar in Jerusalem

While many of us are still trying to recover from Orlando’s tragedy, these three powerful films offer up a glimmer of hope. From now until September 1, view them online for free. Simply click on the appropriate film below, add a 3-day streaming license to your shopping cart, and apply the following promo code:  NEWS716.

Puzzles: When Hate Came to Town

Laramie Inside Out

City of Borders

Learn more about the rest of New Day’s award-winning LGBT titles here. And for ideas on how to teach LGBT issues in the classroom, have a look at this excellent blog post by New Day filmmaker Nomy Lamm.

ASA Conference, Day 3

By Vanessa Warheit, New Day Member

Today, Debbie Lum joined the New Day team at Booth 301 – and a lot of ASA attendees were delighted to meet the celebrity star of “Seeking Asian Female”!
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Debbie Lum with a “Seeking Asian Female” fan from Connecticut

We had another whirlwind day of conversations on a wide range of topics. Among the many visitors to our booth, we chatted with Josh LePree, a PhD candidate and sociology instructor from CU Boulder, who teaches diversity, race/ethnicity, and classes on gender, race, and the state. Josh told us, “I love showing films in my classes – and I feel so blessed to know there are filmmakers like you who see the world the same way we do! And my students really love it when I show films – I think it’s one of the reasons why I get such good teaching scores.”

Photo 2“I’m so happy that New Day exists!” says Matthew Eddy, assistant professor of sociology at Minot State University in North Dakota. Shown here with New Day filmmakers Yun Suh and Debbie Lum.

Photo 3Vanessa Warheit with Ted Cohen, Professor and Chair of Sociology & Anthropology at Ohio Wesleyan University, who told us: “I’ve never used a New Day film I didn’t love!

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Vanessa Warheit with Boaz & Eva Kahana, a husband-and-wife team from Cleveland State University.

Our crew also sat in on a few of the many relevant panel presentations – including sessions on gender, diversity, and indigenous populations. And we’ve finally got the discount code sorted out! Hooray for the New Day web team!
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Debbie Lum, trying to sort out the ASA discount code…

ASA Conference, Day 2

By Vanessa Warheit, New Day Member

Greetings from San Francisco! New Day filmmakers Regan Brashear, Yun Suh, and Vanessa Warheit have been here for the past two days, representing New Day at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. The theme of this year’s conference is “Hard Times: The Impact of Economic Inequality on Families and Individuals” – and we’ve got a LOT of relevant material. Some of the sociologists visiting our booth already know about New Day (particularly those who have been working on reproductive sociology since the 70s), but for a lot of them our booth is their first glimpse into the wide array of films we have on offer.

photo 3Regan and Yun chatting with sociologists at ASA14.

photo 4Regan and Vanessa at the New Day Films Booth #301

For instance – Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez, of U.T. Austin, whose work focuses on sexual violence. When she first came by the booth, she looked skeptical, and didn’t even want to put her card in our drawing (we’ll be giving away a free DVD to one lucky winner at the end of the conference). But after talking with us for a while, and learning that we are a collective formed out of the feminist movement, and learning about the range of films we have on offer, her whole demeanor changed – and we’ve now got a new fan.“I’m so glad you guys exist!” she told us. “And yes, you can quote me on that.” We are super glad that Gloria exists, too!

photoYun Suh, Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez, and Regan Brashear at Booth #301

The hours have flown by, talking with a lot of really interesting people like Gloria, who are teaching and researching a wide variety of social topics. In addition to inequality, visitors to Booth 301 have shared their interests in race, climate change, deviance, families, addiction, healthcare, and transnational movements – as well as the ever-evolving “social problems.” Sociology is an incredibly rich and diverse field, and we’ve had fascinating conversations with a diverse range of people – from grad students to tenured faculty, coming from institutions right here in the Bay Area and places as far-flung as Australia and Portugal. (“Do you have any films that are subtitled in Portuguese?” asked a woman visiting our booth this morning. Vanessa and Yun started to shake their heads in dismay, when Regan piped up with “Oh, yeah, my film is subtitled in Portuguese – the science museum in Lisbon provided it when they screened it.” Who knew?)

Which brings up an interesting dilemma for those of us representing the collection as a whole. We made a huge effort to see as many New Day films as possible prior to the conference – and to spread the viewing out so at lease one of us would have seen any given title – but with so many titles, and more arriving every day, it’s hard to keep up. Nevertheless, we’ve managed to get a pretty good handle on the collection – and it’s exciting to come up with films that satisfy a  particular need. (Disability & sexuality? How about Sins Invalid?! Environment and development? Try Taking Root! Families and disabilities? Read Me Differently! and more!)

We also got a visit from the Deputy Editor of the Teaching Sociology journal, Michele Kozimor-King, who was interested in finding films to review. The journal often pairs films with books on a relevant topic. We sent her away with a catalogue, postcards, and a few DVDs – but other New Day filmmakers should contact her if they are interested in having a specific new title reviewed!

The smallest visitor to our booth was Goby Greene, a Chihuahua service dog. Her mom – sociologist Dana Greene – told us that Goby is on Facebook (she is), and gave us one of her cards. We dutifully entered her into our drawing to win one free New Day film. If she wins, what will she pick? The Shrimp? Eating Alaska? Or maybe Bag It?

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Goby and her owner, Dana Greene
photo 1 goby card

 Goby’s business card