What Happens At Sundance Does Not Stay At Sundance

By Sophia Anguilla

I’m angry. I saw so many documentaries in the last ten days that absolutely outraged me. Most recently I saw 3 ½, a documentary depicting the Jordan Davis case in Florida where, a young black man was shot by an older white man enforcing the stand-your-ground law. I was disgusted by the shooter’s lack of remorse and the outright hate he exhibited. This was an interesting parallel to Fruitvale Station where Oscar Grant, another young black man, was shot by a white BART officer. If Fruitvale Station didn’t get me fired up enough, 3 ½ Minutes sure did.

I then realized how many documentaries I had seen at Sundance depicting hateful crimes, the people they affect, and the people who get away with them. I began with The Hunting Ground and Hot Girls Wanted, which told the stories of survivors of campus rape and girls who entered the amateur porn industry respectively. Next I heard the story of Warren Jeffs, the leader of the FLDS who is currently in prison, in the documentary Prophet’s Prey. Jeffs married a multitude of young women, took money from his followers, and molested the children. After that I saw Welcome to Leith, a documentary about Craig Cobb, a well-known white supremacist who move to the small town of Leith, North Dakota in attempt to take it over and create a safe haven for other white supremacists. Just before seeing 3 ½ Minutes, I watched The Amina Profile, the story of a Syrian girl who wrote a blog called “A Gay Girl In Damascus” and started a relationship with a French Canadian woman. It turns out that Amina did not exist, rather the person writing the blog and involved in this relationship was a white man living in Edinburgh. While the media was covering Amina’s story, they failed to cover the disappearance of a real gay Syrian activist.

All of these documentaries brought to light the tragedy, hate, and ignorance present among the citizens of the United States and beyond. I don’t want to live in a world where parent have to talk to their daughters about how not to get raped and where school administrations blame survivors and cover up cases when they do occur. I don’t want to live in a place where 18 year-old girls feel that going into the amateur porn industry is the only way out of their small towns in order to make it big. I don’t want to live in a place where men abuse women and children and steal from their families and get away with it. I don’t want to live in a country where people believe entire races and religions should be exterminated. I don’t want to live in a place where the media would rather cover a hoax than the actual tragedy occurring in foreign countries. And I sure as hell don’t want to live in a country where one person can shoot another just for talking back to them. I’m disappointed to live in a place where all of these things are allowed to happen regularly and where we still need to be making documentaries about these tragedies. I’m disappointed to live in a place where people care more about their favorite TV characters than the people they live next to.

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