By Matthew Black
Special to the Rappahannock News
A new series of topical films followed by post-movie discussions, presented by RAAC and revolving collaborators at the Little Washington Theater, debuts at 7 p.m. Friday, June 22.
RAAC’s inaugural Film-Talkback event features the Academy Award-nominated film The Post followed by a discussion led by two local luminaries: First Amendment attorney Jay Ward Brown and noted journalist and editor Andy Alexander. The nonprofit Foothills Forum joins RAAC (the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community) in the upcoming Film-Talkback event. In lieu of tickets, the cosponsors will collect donations for the nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
The new series builds on the popularity of previous RAAC film and discussion events and will revolve around selected themes. Film-Talkbacks will take place throughout the year and be held on one or two successive nights. RAAC has partnered in the past on screenings with Scrabble School Preservation Foundation, Foothills Forum, Rapp at Home, and the Rappahannock Historical Society. Upcoming Film-Talkbacks will involve the Farm Tour and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. RAAC will continue showing its First Friday-at-the-Movies.
The Post stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. As reviewed by The New York Times, “Steven Spielberg’s exhilarating drama … revisits The Washington Post’s decision to publish portions of the Pentagon Papers, [and] that decision becomes a tick-tock thriller about the freedom of the press, the White House’s war on that constitutional right, and [publisher Katherine Graham] who defended [that] freedom.”
Two local experts will guide the post-movie conversation. Jay Ward Brown is one of the nation’s premier First Amendment attorneys. He has successfully defended publishers and broadcasters against restraining orders and injunctions attempting to stop delivery of news to the public. He has litigated libel, privacy, copyright, subpoena, and access matters in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal and state appellate courts, and trial courts around the country.
Award-winning journalist and editor Andy Alexander was a former Post ombudsman as well as Washington bureau chief for Cox Newspapers. He has written and spoken extensively about the public’s right to know, and helped launched national Sunshine Week to focus attention on freedom of information and the dangers of government secrecy. He is the Scripps Howard Visiting Professional at the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, a former member of the board of the American Society of News Editors, and he chaired its Freedom of Information Committee.