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Filmmaker Talks With Americans, Iraqis: will screen documentaries here

Two new documentaries by filmmaker Mark Manning will be screened at three different events in January, and Manning will take part in Q & A sessions at each screening.

Manning’s film, American Voices, will be presented by Topanga Peace Alliance to raise funds to complete the documentary on Friday, January 6 at Yoga Desa, 120 N. Topanga Canyon Boulevard. The screening will start at 7:45 p.m. To RSVP, call Julie at (310) 455-9389. Admission is $10.

Manning’s documentary, Caught in the Crossfire: the Untold Story of Falluja, will be screened on Saturday, January 14 at 7 p.m. at Frank Dorrel’s house at 3967 Shedd Terrace, Culver City, and on Sunday, January 22 at 11 a.m. at the Laemmle Monica Fourplex, 1332 Second Street in Santa Monica, with special guest Fernando Suarez joining Manning. To RSVP, call Frank at (310) 838-8131.

In the wake of 9/11, Manning was deeply troubled that his country seemed to be headed into war and he traveled across the country, from the Pacific coast to the heartland, through the deep south and up the eastern seaboard, to try to find out what his fellow Americans were thinking.

To that end, he asked the people he encountered four basic questions. 1. How do you feel about the impending war against Iraq? 2. Why are terrorist attacking the U.S.? 3. Can you describe United State’s foreign policy in the middle east? And 4. How do you feel emotionally about the United States going to war?

Manning said, “In every case, people wanted to express themselves. They wanted to be heard above the administration’s declaration that “you’re either with us or you’re against us.”

Manning continued, “I was searching for the goodness in America and I found it. Deep down, people want the best for everyone. They just don’t know how to get there.”

While filming American Voices, Manning met Nadia McCaffrey, a mother whose only son, Patrick was killed in Iraq. “It was amazing to me, how many people thought Iraq attacked us. These Americans were ready to respond with violence. Patrick, on the other hand, was attacked by Iraqis, and yet Nadia had only compassion for the Iraqi people after her son had been killed.”

McCaffrey wanted to meet Iraqi mothers who also lost children in the U.S. invasion. With the help of Global Exchange, the mothers met at a conference in Jordan in late 2004. Joining McCaffrey, Manning filmed the twenty-minute documentary, Journey to Peace of the mothers’ gathering.

At the conference an Iraqi translator suggested that Manning film what happened in Falluja, and three weeks later, Manning was walking down the airport road, the most dangerous highway in the world, on his way to the ravaged city of Falluja.The people of Falluja befriended Manning, in the belief that if the American people knew what their government was doing, they would act to stop the suffering. Caught in the Crossfire: the Untold Story of Falluja chronicles the military’s destruction of an ancient city roughly the size of Cincinnati, Ohio.

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