Trio turn 9-11 issues into a blockbuster for local theater

By Peter Duveen

PETER'S NEW YORK, Sunday, November 30, 2008--Frustrated with the lack of accountability for what happened on September 11, 2001, three concerned upstate New Yorkers recently joined forces to see if they could mobilize the public to critically examine the government's version of the events of that day. One of the three managed to convince the proprietor of a local theater that a showing of the controversial documentary Loose Change Final Cut, a film critical of the government's version of 9-11, would draw a sizable crowd. The others teamed up in a supportive role to publicize the event. The result was a screening of the film last Tuesday at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls, New York, with a personal appearance by the film's producer, Korey Rowe. Attendance far exceeded that of any other film shown in the theater's history. 

"That was a record," said the theater's executive director, Bill Woodward, of the 143 paid attendees who passed through the theater's doors. The previous high grosser was a film that brought out about 100 people, Woodward told Peter's New York.

Corey Rowe fielding questions after film
                                                                                                                                                                                            Peter Duveen Photo
Loose Change Final Cut producer Korey Rowe fielding questions after the screening of the film at the Charles R. Wood
Theater in
Glens Falls, N.Y.  A new feature is in the hopper, he told the audience.


The event was the brainchild of Dave Nicholson, a committed activist on behalf of a variety of causes, both local and national in scope. A Vietnam War veteran, he had concluded. along with many other Americans, that individuals high in government circles staged the 9-11 events to justify in the eyes of the public the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that followed. The government-promoted scenario of 19 Middle Eastern men who were said to have hijacked airliners that day and to have flown them into each of the the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, and into a field in rural Pennsylvania, was merely a smokescreen full of contradictions, Nicholson contends. Nicholson said his aim is to save as many lives as possible by unmasking the government's perfidy and bringing to a halt the nation's aggressive military actions abroad, which have led, by some estimates, to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq and thousands of U.S. servicemen, not to mention the injuries, both physical and psychological, wrought on survivors.

Dave Nicholson
                                                                                           Peter Duveen Photo
Dave Nicholson, Vietnam War vet and local activist, pulled the
showing
of Loose Change Final Cut together with the help of associates. Nicholson
wants to
put a stop to the death and destruction of the U.S. invasion and
occupation
of Afghanistan and Iraq.


Nicholson points to recent government reports showing that the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, which was used as a justification to escalate the Vietnam War, never really happened as it was represented to the U.S. Congress. If the truth had come out at the time, the Vietnam war could have ended earlier, Nicholson argues. "Now you have 9-11 with this information coming out right now as we're fighting," he said. "If enough people were able to be aware of how we're being manipulated again, we can stop more deaths," he said.

Nicholson had been meeting for the past three or four months in restaurants or other places of mutual convenience with two other concerned citizens to share ideas and formulate ways to better inform the public of government malfeasance. The tentative name they have given to the group is "Wake Up Now," the very phenomenon they hope to generate. Each of the group carries out his or her own activities to promote their shared goals, but this time, they managed to pool their resources in mutually supportive roles.

Nicholson said he approached Woodward with the idea of screening Loose Change Final Cut in the belief that it could draw a larger crowd than other film showings he had attended at the theater. After Woodward gave Nicholson some possible dates, Nicholson contacted Rowe, who agreed to make a personal appearance, waive speaking fees and answer questions after the film. "It kind of all came together miraculously," Nicholson said.

Nicholson's two associates, Marian Jesmain and Jeff Tackett, helped with publicity. They penned letters to the Glens Falls Post-Star describing the upcoming event, both of which made it into print. They and Nicholson then set to work telling everybody they knew about the film. The day before it was to happen, the Post-Star itself managed to place a blurb about the screening.

Marian JesmainJeff Tackett
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Peter Duveen Photos
Marian Jesmain introduced guest speaker Korey Rowe, director of Loose Change Final Cut. Jeff Tackett helped with publicity.


On the night of the program, people began streaming into the theater a full half hour before showtime, and by 7 p.m., much of 300-seat auditorium was filled. As the evening began, Jesmain, decked out in formal garb, introduced the guest of the evening, Corey Rowe, who spoke briefly before the screening and for a longer stretch after the film ended.

The Loose Change series of documentaries summarizes the view that the U.S. government is lying about and covering up its role in the events of 9-11. The first film, written by Dylan Avery and produced by Rowe and Jason Bermas, was released in 2005.  Loose Change Second Edition was devised to bring an increasing number of people into a knowledge of 9-11 issues, Rowe told Peter's New York. The last of the series, Loose Change Final Cut, tightens the argument for government complicity with hard facts while leaving conclusions to the viewer. David Ray Griffin, an author who has written seven books on 9-11, the most recent being A New Pearl Harbor Revisited, helped the filmmakers tighten arguments and improve sources. The result is a substantially different movie that runs two hours and nine minutes. It has a decidedly intellectual tone, and one must listen carefully to follow the train of the many arguments made to demonstrate government culpability.

\Corey Rowe mixing after show
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Peter Duveen Photo
Loose Change Final Cut producer Korey Rowe chats with members of the audience after the showing of the film.


At the end of the film, Rowe took questions from the audience, all of which were asked in a favorable context.


One member of the audience asked if he should worry about being tracked by the government if he watches Loose Change films on the internet. "Absolutely," Rowe said. Rowe added that any group that is making progress in challenging the government's storyline on 9-11 will be watched. "If you're making noise, they'll know," he said.

Another asked why William Rodriguez, among the last to have escaped from the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center and who has been an adamant critic of the government's version of events, did not appear in the film. "We didn't use him in the third edition because he wanted a huge bag of money," Rowe said, while describing him as a "great guy." "I just couldn't afford him."

Asked about the recent death of Barry Jennings, who reported explosions in 47-storey Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex the morning of 9-11, some eight hours before its mysterious collapse, Rowe said he pulled an interview with Jennings from the film at Jennings's request. He said Jennings was concerned about the effect the airing of the interview might have on his job and pension. "The fact that he passed away is extremely disturbing," Rowe said.

Rowe said lack of government assistance to those who worked at the World Trade Center site to clean it up after 9-11 was appalling. "Our government has not spent one dollar--one dollar!--on the treatment of these men," Rowe complained.

Asked whether information was available as to the specific roles government officials may have played in implementing 9-11, Rowe said a film was in the works that would answer that question. The film, which he said was being produced by the group "Loose Change Colorado," would underscore the role of  "50 of the most influential people" believed to have been connected with 9-11.

Woodward, who briefly addressed the audience before the screening of Loose Change Final Cut, was not complaining the morning after the show. But he distanced himself from any public declaration in support of the film's content. "I'm apolitical," he said in a telephone interview. "I'm a business guy."

He said anyone could rent the auditorium and show a film as long as the film's content did not offend community standards of morality. But Nicholson said he did not have to put up any money for the showing, indicating that Woodward underwrote the event and, like any good businessman, reaped the harvest of an educated gamble.

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