6 questions with War Authority director, Matthew Palmer at the half-way mark.
Thursday, February 16th, 2017
1Hey Matthew! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, how did you hear about the AUMF bill and what made you want to make a documentary about it? Hey! Thanks for featuring War Authority! Love Fandependent.
I heard about the AUMF on a Radiolab podcast. Originally, the film was simply about Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the sole member of Congress to vote against the 2001 AUMF. After interviewing her, however, I decided that more people had to know about the AUMF and its implications. Then, the 2016 election happened, and the matter became even more pressing.
2It's crazy to think that Barbara Lee was the only congress woman who was opposed to the AUMF bill. Why do you think it was so unanimously approved? Did you ask Barbara why she thought she was the only one opposed to the bill? I think, after 9/11, people were understandably upset and scared, including politicians. Our representatives wanted to act as a unified whole as they came up with our country's response to the terror attacks of that day. A response was totally, 100% necessary, but, as Congresswoman Lee said to me, our country was still in mourning and shock when the AUMF was proposed, so everyone loved the gist of it, which was "let's retaliate," but the specifics were overlooked and, ultimately, gave the President far too much leeway (in my opinion).
3It seems like this could easily be expanded into a feature length doc. Do you have any plans/desire to do so? Why or why not? Nah...I'm not well-versed enough politically to do the subject justice in a feature. Talking to the interview subjects of War Authority gave me a small amount of knowledge that I thought I should share, but my understanding of the AUMF, war, terrorism, politics, and so on is certainly limited. The film should be made, but not by me!
4Your feature doc, Friends Of Mine is also on our site and won 3rd place in our first film festival. I'm curious, strengths to short films have over features and vice versa? Hmmm...I guess the obvious thing would be that a feature allows for more exploration of a given subject. But a film should be the length that the story demands. My goal in making War Authority was to give an overview of the subject, so a few minutes was enough. When I made Friends of Mine, I wanted to show a subtle, but profound development in the characters and that meant that I had to make a longer film. So, yeah, features allow you to dive into a subject more, but shorts are super accessible, which makes them effective for getting certain things out there. Not sure that answered the question...
5This doc does an incredible job of pointing out how vague this bill is and how through it, president Bush and Obama have been able to use it to suit their interests and attack organizations and groups that had nothing to do with 9/11. What do you think will happen under a Trump administration? Hard to say. Since he's demonstrated that he has pretty thin skin, it's scary to think about what he can do when upset. Hopefully the AUMF is repealed or amended, so that it is taken off the table for him. But his amount of power would still be alarming (in my opinion). I just have to say, please, march, make films, write essays, take photos...just do your best to be heard so that those who are elected really do represent the people and their interests.
6What's next? I'm SO close to finishing a short documentary called One Week In April. It is about four toddlers in the U.S. who accidentally shot and killed themselves over the course of six days this past April.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time. The film is about the evolution of a couple's relationship, and was shot in three different countries over the course of a decade.
The film with the most fans wins $1,000
For 2017 we are moving on from screening feature films and will be showcasing shorts.
For our Winter 2017 Festival, we are giving away $2,000 in prizes to the top three films.
The film with the most fans.
The film with the most views.
Our favorite film.
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Please share War Authority with your friends and help this filmmaker win!