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The Fire Next Time
May 8, 2010

RealFilms presents the documentary The Fire Next Time. This film follows a deeply divided group of Montana citizens caught in a web of conflict over growth, the environment, and the power of talk radio. It is a story with erie relevence to today's headlines. Director Patrice O'Neill will be in attendance.

The Fire Next Time - 86 minutes

Director: Patrice O’Neill
Date: Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Location: Houston Community College, Spring Branch Campus
Performing Arts Theatre
1010 W. Sam Houston Pkwy N. Houston, TX 77043
Tickets: $10.00 online or $10.00 cash/check at the door ($5.00 for HCC students w/ID)
Ticket price includes free refreshments: soft drinks, water, and popcorn
O’Neill Reception: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Screening Time: 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Q&A: 9:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Door Prize: A signed DVD of the film

The people of the Flathead Valley in Montana were used to thinking they lived in “the last best place in America.” Kalispell, the county seat and valley’s largest town, means “prairie above the lake.” But as revealed by Patrice O’Neill’s new film, The Fire Next Time, the last best place may become the next worst flashpoint in the country’s running battle between the forces of economic development, environmental activism, and anti-government extremism.

Green swastikas were burned to protest environmental laws. A radio talk show host regularly called for the “eradication” of “green slime” while broadcasting the addresses of local environmental activists. Lug nuts were loosened on a car belonging to an anti-hate campaigner’s daughter. While loggers and mill workers were facing lost jobs and rising living costs, right-wing extremists plied them with racist and anti-government rhetoric. Most ominously – in news that flashed across the nation and even around the world – a shadowy terror group called Project 7 was discovered with a cache of arms and a hit list of local government officials, police officers and their families.

It was the unmistakably rising tension in the town that led ex-police officer Brenda Kitterman to invite Patrice O’Neill and her company, The Working Group, to bring its grassroots anti-hate program, “Not in Our Town,” to Flathead Valley. The Working Group ended up staying two years, earning the trust – or at least the willingness to speak candidly on camera – of antagonists on all sides of the Flathead Valley land wars, while documenting the valley’s increasingly tense confrontations, intimidation, and public invective. From the outset, the filmmakers were able to show they were not “strike a match” documentary makers. Far from heating up the action for dramatic effect, the filmmakers aimed for the drama of a community seeking to restore its sense of kinship in the face of mounting stresses from within and without.

About the Director:
Co-founder of The Working Group in Oakland, Calif., Patrice O'Neill has produced national series on PBS for 15 years. Before launching The Working Group in 1988, O'Neill was a freelance television producer, with credits including KQED's "Express" and KRON's "Weekend Extra." O'Neill continued her documentary work with a series on farmworker issues including "Voices From the Edge of the Dream" and a profile of the dramatic 1984 copper mining strike in Arizona, "High Stakes in Morenci."

Not in Our Town, The Working Group's 1995 story of how Billings, Mont., responded to a rash of hate crimes, which O'Neill co-produced with Rhian Miller, struck a chord nationwide. What began as a half-hour PBS special turned into a ten-year-long national outreach campaign used in over 100 communities across the country. In addition to the follow-up special, Not in Our Town II, O’Neill recently completed the first-ever regional special in the series, Not in Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here, a co-production with KQED-TV in San Francisco.

As part of The Working Group, O’Neill was executive producer/producer of Livelyhood, the ten-part PBS series that explored workplace change. She was executive producer for Test of Courage, a PBS special on diversifying the Oakland Fire Department, produced by Kyung Sun Yu and Gary Mercer. Her other award-winning documentaries with Rhian Miller for the We Do the Work public television series include: Family Fuel: A Coal Strike Story, This Far by Faith and Leaving Home.

“Riveting...by patiently exploring both sides, the filmmaker hopes to have a cooling effect."

For More Information:

To View a Trailer: www.pbs.org/pov/thefirenexttime

Sponsored by: KPFT