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Monumental Myths (2009)

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Monumental Myths unveils the perpetuated myths told at several American monuments and historic sites. Carved in rock or cast in bronze, America’s monuments are intended—by those who commission them—to impart a sense of authority and an unquestionable truth about the people and events they commemorate. Director Tom Trinley traveled across the country in a borrowed 1965 Airstream trailer and visited several sites to provide the untold, alternative viewpoint of those whose experiences have been left out of history and the landscape.

Among others, he visited Fort Pillow in Tennessee, The Purchase of Manhattan monument in New York City, Lincoln’s Birthplace Log Cabin in Kentucky, the Christopher Columbus statue on Chicago’s lakefront and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Along the way Tom interviewed local residents, tour guides, park rangers and tourists to better understand their perspective of American history and to find out who protects America’s myths and why.

The idea for the film was inspired by the book, Lies Across America, written by best-selling author and sociologist Dr. James W. Loewen. Dr. Loewen was the project’s content advisor and appears on-camera to provide information relevant to each site. Other on-camera experts include Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States and Lonnie Bunch, President of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African American History.

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Goal: To rapidly transition to a just, ecologically sustainable, holistic way of living as fast as possible.

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Although Films For Action is centered around film - its true objective is the transformation of the world. This means moving away from the unsustainable paradigm we have now to a regenerative paradigm, as fast as humanly possible.  

Film is the medium of delivery -- the catalyst, the metabolizing agent to speed up, amplify and multiply the effects of every transition movement on the planet. And of course, "transition" contains it all - social justice, ecological regeneration, true democracy, egalitarian economics, universal empathy, less cultural insanity and more happiness and well-being.

All of these movements need a media ecosystem that supports this transition, rather than the media we have today which marginalizes it, ignores it, sanitizes it, suppresses it, or actively fights it. There is certainly good coverage across many different news outlets, and the quality and depth varies, but in terms of volume, the good stuff is easily lost in the deluge of superficial concerns.

Watch any network TV channel for 24 hours or read the newspaper for a week, and you will see what we mean. The dominant narratives which drive the national debate and become "common knowledge" is more often superficial, focused on symptoms rather than root causes, and reinforces the conventional "two sides" within the status quo. The lies and spin promoted by figures in power become well known, while voices that challenge and expand the range of debate rarely get heard. But most importantly, the level of repetition and volume of coverage is what counts. What gets covered day after day, and what gets covered once and is forgotten, or not covered at all? That's why we need a media movement that's dedicated to elevating the voices that aren't getting heard. We need media alternatives that make social change its primary focus. That's why Films For Action exists.

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