On the street

audio only

Published: February 2007

When he was in high school, Matthew Porter ’09 learned about journalism while working on a newspaper for a Boston youth program. His introduction to film occurred last summer when he took the family video camera and traveled to Washington, D.C., to make a documentary about political protest. For nearly four weeks he roamed the streets of what he calls “America’s capital of activism,” interviewing political protestors of every stripe, and capturing on film their demonstrations and interactions with the general public.

A University Advanced Study Grant, which encourages first– and second–year students “to acquire skills that will make more sophisticated research and study possible during their junior and senior years,” underwrote the trip. Annually, the program awards $500 to $2,000 to 30—35 undergraduates to support them in projects as varied as studying Gaelic to conducting scientific experiments with dopamines. Program Director Donald Hafner, professor of political science, says the grants “get students up and running more quickly than would otherwise be the case.”

“Protestors struggle to find an adequate way to convey their message,” Porter observes in the film’s narration. “How do they attempt to make an impact? What makes them successful?” The film explores these questions through scenes of activists at work, from planning protests to putting on grim reaper garb or a George W. Bush face and later reflecting on their experiences. “Without demonstrations from both sides, America’s true voice can never be heard,” Porter concludes.

This feature was posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 and is filed under Videos.