Bahai News - Movie starts race talk

Monday, April 13, 1998 / Vol. 133, No. 57

Movie starts race talk

By Gina Szeto
Staff Writer

In conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, President's Clinton's Initiative on Race designated last week "Campus Week of Dialogue: Who Will Build One America?"
As part of Clinton's initiative, the USC Baha'i Club presented "RACE," a film by Ryan Haidarian, Saturday at Norris Theatre, followed by a discussion with USC faculty and the producer.
The film uses powerful images and sounds to depict a present-day story of the love between a Southern black man and a Southern white woman who have been separated by society and family.
"The film has a powerful and moving message in the portrayal of the African American as a hero," said John Charles Scott, a sophomore majoring in art history.
Haidarian, who is Baha'i, made the film with the central principle of the Baha'i faith, the oneness of humanity, in mind.
"I wanted to use the film as a way to send the message that ends my film, `The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are both unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established,'" Haidaian said.
"RACE," critically acclaimed in the past three months since its release and the producer's first film since graduation from the University of Texas at Austin three years ago, was considered for a nomination for an Academy Award in the Live Action/Short category. It has premiered "at almost all the major studios and production companies in Los Angeles," Haidarian said.
"RACE" has also been shown at universities in "an effort to promote dialogue about race relations," Haidarian said. "RACE" has been shown at Haidarian's alma mater and UCLA.
The film's producer was able to attract such big names as Lou Meyers (227, A Different World), Les Robinson ("Congo," "Broken Arrow," "Hot Shots: Part Deux"), Sam Hennings ("Drop Zone") and Alexandra Powers ("Dead Poets Society," L.A. Law), to co-star in his film.
An hour-long intense dialogue, mediated by Shawn Royal, a doctoral candidate in sociology, followed the showing of the film.
The discussion prompted the audience, including the actors of the film, to think about the role of race as a integral influence in society.
"I try not to look at (acting) roles as black or white," Robinson said. "Actually, a lot of the parts I've played have been written for white characters."
The purpose of the program, sponsored by the Discretionary Board and DiverSCity, is part of the Baha'i Club's attempts to help remove "one the most challenging issues confronting America -- racism," said Arghavan Rahimpour, USC Baha'i Club president and a sophomore majoring in sociology.

©Copyright 1998, The Daily Trojan

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