LIU Post Alumnus Creates and Directs Documentary Examining “Junk Food News”
Critically acclaimed Project Censored winning awards on film festival circuit
Rita Langdon,Associate Provost for Communications, Public Relations & Marketing
Long Island University, LIU Post
Brookville, N.Y. – In this age of information, when news can be delivered instantly and sometimes overwhelmingly at the touch of your fingertips, how do you know what you are reading and watching is true?
Christopher Oscar, who graduated from LIU Post in 1995 with a B.F.A. in Journalism, set out to examine mainstream journalism and the role that it plays in our fast-paced, ever-changing society.
“Project Censored: The Movie,” is a scathing indictment of today’s media, charging that mainstream news outlets report nothing more than sensational and “junk food news.” Featuring interviews with social activists and public figures like Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone and Dan Rather, the movie questions the choices of stories that news outlets report on, as well as their motivation, encouraging viewers to seek out independent news sources, ones that do not have an agenda.
Oscar, who served as co-creator and co-director of the film, said the inspiration for the project came from a media research program at Sonoma State University, also called Project Censored, whose mission is “to teach students and the public about the role of a free press in a free society – and to tell the News That Didn’t Make the News and Why.”
“It’s so important to understand what is really happening in the world,” said Oscar, who moved to Sonoma County in 1996. “Stories that are being censored by the corporate media have the most impact on the working class. Reporters investigate, but it winds up they are looking into the owner of the corporation that owns their news organization, which is their employer. So we are bombarded with news stories about Tiger Woods and Lindsay Lohan, but not the important stuff. It’s purposeful.”
Former reporter and Sonoma State University Professor Carl Jensen founded Project Censored in 1976. Each year, students investigate and report on the 25 most censored or underreported news stories of the previous year. A book detailing their findings is published every September. According to the program, the most censored news story of 2012 was “Signs of an Emerging Police State,” which looks at the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act and its far-reaching consequences.
Oscar, who also works as a realtor, said working on the film and with the students of Project Censored appeals to his passion for social justice and combines his loves of filmmaking and journalism. At LIU Post, he was a member of the Pioneer student newspaper staff where he originally started as an investigative reporter.
He met his partner, Doug Hecker, an alumnus of Project Censored at a real estate event. They shared their common interest in the program and spent the next few years recording footage and conducting interviews through their production company, Hole in the Media Productions.
The film debuted in April at the Sebastiani theatre as part of the Sonoma International Film Festival and was awarded “Most Viewed Film.” At the Madrid International Film Festival it was awarded Best Director of a Documentary Feature and was nominated for Best Editing of a Documentary Feature and the Prestigious International Filmmaker Award.
Oscar and Hecker plan to keep applying to film festivals and hosting screenings for organizations, schools and groups. By the fall, “Project Censored: the Movie” should be available on DVD, complete with special features including extended interviews that didn’t make it into the film and never before seen footage.
“We are looking to take the message to the masses,” Oscar said.
For more information, visit www.projectcensoredthemovie.com.
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