Thursday, December 10, 2009

96 Tears in the Closet

The Legion of Decency, 1934

Here’s a tiny SOCCCD “Land o’ Neanderthals” tale:

A few months ago, I caught wind of some kind of 21st Century “Legion of Decency” investigation, requested by a trustee, concerning films (or a film) produced by Saddleback College’s Communication Arts program, which (I have since learned) prides itself on its “hands on” instruction. I waited for something to materialize, but nothing ever seemed to pop up. Dang!

Well, one thing happened, I guess. Several months ago, Trustee Nancy Padberg requested a report on Saddleback’s communication arts/film program. She didn’t explain what she was looking for, as I recall.

Well, I just looked, and the report was in fact provided at the Nov. 17 board meeting. It was listed on the agenda as item 7.1. I checked the super-agenda (a fat pdf file available online) and I went to the page for 7.1. Here’s what I found:

Gosh, no wonder nothing popped up. What kind of “openness” is that? Have you ever tried to get passed the sentries to room 334? They shoulda just put this report inside a black box inside another black box inside a bucket of ATEP ground water!

So I asked around, and somebody told me that the Communication Arts program (or a student in the program) produced some sort of film about a lesbian who had “come out.” The film had received an award at a film festival somewhere.

I did some looking, and I came across a 26-minute (10 minute?) documentary called “88 Years in the Closet,” evidently made by Saddleback College student Peter Shafron. Back in ’07 or ’08, it was submitted to numerous film festivals and was accepted as an entry in many of them, including the International Film Festival on Aging in San Francisco, Toronto’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the Big Bear International Film Festival, where it won an award.

Here’s the trailer:

Since then (I gather), Shafron and Jane Lehmann-Shafron co-founded a “boutique documentary” business. (See Your Story Here video biographies.) Jane, too, has taken courses (in voice acting, she says) at Saddleback College.

Evidently, the Shafrons’ company has produced other documentaries, including one concerning a Jewish woman in Nazi Germany:

According to the blurb at YouTube, the film concerns Inge Papich:
Inge Papich just wanted to fit in. Growing up in Berlin in the 1930s, she learned the Hitler salute, sang the Nationalist songs and dreamed of joining the Hitler youth. The only problem was, Inge was a Mischling – a kind of Jewish half breed under the Nuremberg Race Laws.
Is it possible that this little documentary about an 88-year-old woman on a freakin' cruise caused the fuss about Saddleback's Communication Arts program? Gosh, I don't see how.

Well, the November board meeting was several weeks ago. As near as I can tell, there’ve been no further developments.

These documentaries do seem interesting, though, don’t they?

What does it all mean?

• Fame follows an O.C. senior who came out of the closet (OC Reg, 3/14/08)
• Film about 88-year-old lesbian honored (OC Reg, 9/15/08)
• 96 Tears (Pumpkin Times, 1966)


Anonymous said...

Great stuff - some smart students.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I've seen the film. I think it's about 30 minutes long. It's in the nature of a biographical sketch; the Shafrons' business is putting people (generally older folks) on film speaking about their life and times, for the kids or for whomever. This woman's story was interesting in a broader historical context; her perspective on the 1950s was certainly one I'd never heard. The blogger doesn't say what the mysterious report was about, but this is a very mild documentary which focuses on one woman's personal experience and doesn't glorify or promote anything other than tolerance. I found the film is interesting and well-done. The fact that it won an award at a film the Southern California area, which is crawling with filmmakers...should bring credit to the people behind it, and to Saddleback College which helped to educate them.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story. I'm just happy she's free.

In "an FBI zone"

     Got home late last night. There were two messages on my phone answering machine.       One was from the FBI. On the recording, a ...