Film advocates student activism
December 3, 2009 1:50 PM
This fall five SF State students and one faculty member joined forces to produce "Speak Out," a documentary film protesting California State University budget cuts and providing options on how to fight back.
Currently, 1,000 copies of the film have been distributed in an attempt to promote activism in schools across the state and in the surrounding communities.
"I want the film to introduce students to student activism, in short, all the while I also hope that California's legislators get a chance to watch our film and see real students being pushed away from graduating because of the constant fee hikes," said Cory Wong, 21, Asian American Studies and Cinema major, co-producer of "Speak Out."
The 27-minute film cost over $4,200 to produce, and was paid for by the California Faculty Association SF State chapter and the statewide CFA, as well as SF State student and co-director Max Hamilton, 19, Cinema major, who donated close to $15,000 of studio time through his production company, Blackbird Productions.
"Being a student, I have noticed how angry everyone is but no one seems to know what to do about it," Hampton said. "So, we are hoping we are going to start the ball rolling and that campuses, not just SF State, will use the film as a tool in getting the word out."
The message of the film is how students are struggling to get an education and to question the priorities of the people running the state of California.
"The film does not just present information about the budget cuts, but also cites the historical trends of California's spending," Wong said.
Facts throughout the film show viewers that California is ranked 49th in the country for education funding, that 600 classes were cut from SF State this year and that fees were increased by $978.
The team of students are using the film, along with a Web site, to educate the public about changes they feel need to be made to Proposition 13, no longer providing a break on property owners tax to commercial property, and also tries to raise awareness about proposed bill AB656, which would allow California to tax oil companies to fund public education. California is the only oil providing state in the country that does not enforce an extraction tax on oil.
"I think the biggest problem is the chancellor and the trustees of the CSU, because they voted 17 to one against AB656 and those funds are used for public education," said Philip Klasky, ethnic studies lecturer and co-director of "Speak Out." "AB656, if passed, would generate a billion dollars, which would cover the $584 million budget shortfall to the CSU."
In response to the Ethnic Studies Student Resource Center closing this fall, Klasky encouraged students to form a team and produce "Speak Out," along with a Web site and blog that would document the severity of the crisis and get other students involved.
"In 2010 the CSU, all 23 campuses, will not be accepting a single freshman or transfer student," Klasky said. "They are going to turn away over 40,000 students. This is a crisis."
"What is happening right now is suicide economics and it doesn't make sense," he said. "For every dollar the state spends on a student, it gets four dollars in return because of the difference in salary of someone who does not graduate from college and someone who does."
View the documentary at http://www.speakout4edu.com.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University