Production Notes From the Director:
The heart and soul of this film are the interviews with over twenty of the people who were at Kent State together during the protests and the events before, after and during the shootings on May 4, 1970. The process of making Fire in the Heartland over many years has educated me and provided me with grace, wisdom, camaraderie, fun and more than a little help from my friends. I have also experienced working with a new generation of young people on the film. I am honored to do so. If I have received even a touch of the brilliant light they shine on the world, I am the better for it. They remind me that I need to continue to strive to be forever young. And, at the times when I become disheartened about the possibilities of changing the world, I need only look to them to be reminded that it is still possible. They have the talent, the energy, the wisdom, the courage, and above all the heart to do it.
Fire in the Heartland: Kent State, May 4th, and Student Protest in America is a documentary film about a generation of young people, who stood up to speak their minds against social injustice in some of our nation’s most turbulent and transformative years, the 1960s through the 1970s. On May 4th, 1970, thirteen of these young Americans were shot down by the National Guard in an act of violence against unarmed students that has never been fully explained. Four, Jeffery Miller, Sandy Scheuer, Bill Shroeder and Allison Krause, were killed. Immediately afterward the largest student strikes and student protests in history swept across 3,000 campuses nationwide, punctuated ten days later by the shooting of African American students at Jackson State University. There, James Earl Green and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs were killed. This student protest in America did not arise from nowhere. At the same time that authorities from Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey to Richard Nixon and Governor Rhodes acted as if the protesters were wrong, they were not, and by May 4 1970, the majority of the American people agreed with the views of the students. They represented an active critical voice that questioned the terrible and continuing violence against African Americans and the white students who rose to support them, and the perpetration of a war that killed millions of Vietnamese people and more than 50,000 Americans while the news of the war brought back to students–potential draftees and friends and relatives of the dead and wounded Vietnam veterans–stories of epic corruption. This is their story and a story of all times when human beings are faced with injustice and are asked to choose—to stand by or to stand up, to stay silent or to raise a voice, to stay safe or to put themselves at risk, sometimes at very great risk. This is a story that resonates as much today as it did in the 1960s and 1970s.
Special Limited Engagement – One night only