Lone Pine High School graduate Ash Seiter is attempting to open up some dialogue about how the world is evolving.
To accomplish that task, Seiter is hosting a series of controversial films exploring national politics, the food industry and the all-important struggle over the world’s dwindling oil reserves. Each film showing is followed by a discussion where all in attendance are encouraged to share their opinion and point of view.
Seiter’s series features films by Michael Moore, Al Gore, Peter Joseph, Dylan Avery and other provocative filmmakers.
Following each documentary, those who are in attendance are invited to stick around for a discussion about the film and how it relates to people’s lives locally.
“I wanted to cover the widest range of topics to bring as many different opinions as possible,” Seiter said. “And I wanted the films to be controversial.”
The idea to begin showing the documentaries and holding a discussion came about after several talks Seiter had with friends. Eventually, he decided he wanted to broaden the discussion and find opposing points of view.
“We’re going into our fourth week, and the discussions have been getting better and better,” Seiter said. “The last film we showed was ‘Food Inc.’ and one of our local cattle ranchers came, and he was able to point out some of the misleading information from the documentary. He had some really good points because he is familiar with the industry, and I’m glad he came.”
Those differing points of view and insight from people who are familiar with the various topics are exactly what Seiter said he is looking for.
“I wanted to appeal to all different types of people from all different walks of life,” he said.
Since the first film and discussion on Jan. 10, Seiter said attendance has grown to about 30 each showing. He said participants have ranged in age from 13 years old to residents in their 70s who are interested in sharing their point of view, or just hearing what other community members think about some of the controversial topics.
“Right now pretty much everybody who has been going is starting to talk about organizing to tackle some of these issues locally,” Seiter said.
The group has also discussed broadening the discussion even further by starting another film series in Bishop.
Seiter said he is really hopeful that he can take the program on the road to Bishop, and maybe even Mammoth Lakes, but, as of yet, he has not found a venue for the film series.
If there is interest in starting the film series and discussions in Bishop, Seiter said he may expand the list of documentaries being shown to create a wider view of the issues.
“I think almost all the films we have shown have a counterpart, with a different point of view or different information,” Sieter said.
Seiter’s film series will continue today at the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History. The whole series is scheduled to wrap up April 17.