Saturday, December 9, 2023

Student film on media literacy to debut at Sebastiani

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Censorship and media literacy will be the theme of a night of film presented at the Sebastiani Theatre, including a new debut and the return of a locally produced documentary.

“United States of Distraction: Fighting the Fake News Invasion” was shot and produced by students with the help of Project Censored, a nonprofit organization that “opposes news censorship and promotes independent investigative journalism, media literacy, and critical thinking,“ according to its website. The film was edited and narrated by Abby Martin.

The topic is especially relevant for high school students. A recent Stanford study asked students to spot election fraud in a video. “Despite access to the internet’s powerful search capabilities, just three of the study’s more than three thousand participants — less than one-tenth of one percent – were able to divine the true source of the video, which actually featured footage of voter fraud in Russia,” researchers shared.

Alongside the student film, the 2013 documentary “Project Censored The Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News” will also be screened that night. Produced by Valley residents Christopher Oscar and Doug Hecker, the film earned Best Directors of a Feature Documentary at the 2013 Madrid International Film Festival and was the most-watched movie at the 2013 Sonoma International Film Festival.

The double feature includes a Q&A with guest speakers and filmmakers on Thursday, March 16. Hear from the people behind “Project Censored” at 3 p.m. with the film screened at 7 p.m. The Q&A for “United States of Distraction” takes place at 5 p.m., with a screening at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and include a glass of wine. Buy tickets in advance at

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