Report from premier screening at Clinton Street Theater July 3rd, 2016:
Paying the Price for Peace
Tonight a documentary biopic of Anti-war activist and veteran, and Portlander, Bill Wilson filled the Clinton Street Theater in SE Portland. This new film covers the context and history of direct action that lead up to Bill Wilson's brutal and meaningful assault by train that amputated his legs while protesting the movement of arms to the Contras in Nicaragua from Concord military base, in California in 1988. Well-produced and thoughtful, with lots of archival footage and information, at times harrowing, the film covers many moments and situations along Wilson's path working as veteran against War, including testimonies from various anti-war activists, many of them veterans active in revealing the lies surrounding war and the real devastation it produces. Highlights include a biographical overview of Wilson's war experience, his return home as a veteran against the war, his campaign in DC fasting with other vets to remove funding to Contras, several vets of all eras sharing their stories of becoming peace activists, a tour of solidarity in Nicaragua at the height of the conflict, interview footage with Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega about Wilson's work, his assault, footage of the amazing call to action the assault against him produced and more.
The film was followed by an at-first reluctant Q and A with Wilson, the director Bo Boudart and associate producer Frank Dorrel. Conversation shifted from the serious to the light-hearted but fundamentally touched on the need for all of us to decide for ourselves how we as individuals decide to resist the military machine and all racism and classism that create the illusion that some lives are worth more than others. There was talk of getting the film out there and editing it down to 60 min. At one point a young man shared how his high school had a consistent military recruiting presence and asked how he should go about resisting that. Dorrel and Wilson suggested among other things bringing in some veterans for peace to share an alternative perspective on joining up. The night ended with in the words of his ex partner and fellow activist "love, outrage, and commitment all at the same time" (paraphrased).