So Sandusky has been found guilty, Paterno grossly negligent, Penn State officials cowardly. We could now include television in all of the above. There is a documentary out there that could save hundreds if not thousands of kids a year from sexual abuse, but no one has the courage to show it. Not PBS, not HBO, not the networks, no one.
``Boyhood Shadows’’ is superbly crafted, intelligent, compassionate and knowledgeable. More importantly, it could help prevent sexual abuse if only by warning parents and guardians of how to spot and respond to the often subtle cries of help from children who are being sexually abused.
I am convinced that if the film had been made and around – more to the point, shown – ten or twelve years ago, Sandusky and Penn State would have been exposed long ago and five or six children spared pain and humiliation. Incidentally, that’s just the kids abused by Sandusky; overall, thousands might have been saved.
Where is public television on this? The commercial networks? Cable? Someone has to have the guts. If you can do something to prevent this, if you have the forum to deliver the message and don’t, then there is guilt involved.
Television certainly doesn’t have the courage of the men who faced the cameras in ``Boyhood Shadows’’ and spoke of being abused as children. That took real courage. They included a prominent newsman, a Latino boxer, and a sheriff’s deputy, among many others. Their identities weren’t disguised, they faced the cameras, they risked careers and ``social standing,’’ and their reward is that television is afraid to show the film.
Pedophilia terrifies and disgusts people, and that attitude helps the predators. And it’s not just television that is afraid to touch the subject. Recently, a man who had been abused as a boy asked his wife to watch ``Boyhood Shadows.’’ She refused, she couldn’t or wouldn’t watch the film. Another woman wouldn’t watch it because she had children and didn’t want to face what could conceivably happen to them. Does the image of an ostrich come to mind?
As I wrote on Red Room several months ago, `Boyhood Shadows' premiered in 2008 in the Steinbeck Forum in Monterey, California with considerable fanfare and several prominent state politicians on hand. The film was generally acclaimed and Marcos Cabrera of the Monterey County Herald nailed it when he wrote that it's ``a gut-wrenching study of heartbreak and redemption.'' Still, when it came to finding a national or even regional venue, the response has been sullen and quiet.
Mac and Ava Motion Pictures, founded by Terri DeBono and Steve Rosen, is the maker of `Boyhood Shadows,' a project that took years of travel and interviews. Rosen and DeBono convinced men who had been sexually abused as youths to step forward and tell their stories.
Most are still undergoing major psychological and emotional problems that have resulted in divorces and wrecked careers. Others are doing better, especially those who have received help.
It seems odd, with the company's credentials, the film has not gotten more attention.
Among Rosen and DeBono’s credits are ``Beyond Barbed Wire,'' narrated by Pat Morita, about the World War II Japaese-American internment camps. The film is in the permanent archive of the National Museum of Television and Radio.
``Accidental Hero: Room 408'' is about a teacher who inspires his inner-city students to national recognition in public speaking. It won best documentary awards from the Cinequest, New York and Ashland Independent film festivals, as well as the Oprah Winfrey ``Use Your Life'' award.
``The Roots of California Photography: The Monterey Legacy'' was narrated by Jack Lemmon and won a CINE Golden Eagle. As a matter of disclosure, I wrote this film and another, also narrated by Lemmon, on art, ``Time Captured in Paintings: The Monterey Legacy,’’ that was produced by Mac and Ava.
``My Name Is Belle'' is on the artist-writer Belle Yang. It was another winner of a CINE Golden Eagle and a screening selection at the Hot Springs Documentary and Pacific Rim film festivals.
``Quest for Excellence,’’ on California schools, was hosted by Dina Eastwood and ``Three by Steinbeck’’ is a trilogy of the Nobel Prize winner’s short stories, `` . . .beautifully photographed and adapted,’’ said John Gross, director of the John Steinbeck Society.
In short, the quality of Mac and Ava’s work cannot be questioned. The courage of television can.
The film's trailer:
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...