Emmy-nominated director brings it to the table

Category:  News
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at 6:35 PM
Emmy-nominated director brings it to the table by Gabriel Hypes
Photo: Gabriel Hypes

The Friends of Baron-Forness Library hosted an Emmy-nominated director and producer on Oct. 12 when Edinboro welcomed Julie Winokur to campus. Winokur is known for her directing and of “Aging in America: The Years Ahead,” a story she was inspired to capture during her father’s battle with dementia. Besides that, her work has been in publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic, MSNBC and many others. 

Winokur came to campus to show a project she started five years ago called “Bring it to the Table”, a film that was started after her son called her “politically intolerant.” Winokur stated, “I always tried to be an honest and genuine storyteller.” To try to better herself and prove her son wrong, she set on a goal to change her liberal way of thinking and listen to what both sides had to say, whether it was something she agreed or disagreed with. 

With a small team, Winokur traveled around the country with a small table during the 2012 election. The team would set up the table in towns all across America in an attempt to sit down and talk politics with citizens from all walks of life. 

The “interview” would start with a flower in the middle of the table. Winokur would immediately ask her interviewee to move the flower in the direction their political biases fall: right for Republican and left for Democrat. From there, she would focus on anything from immigration, to welfare, to religion, and anything in between. At times, Winokur’s liberal bias would show, but the team made it a point to stay as unbiased as possible. 

At the end of filming, Winokur felt she had seen America from multiple perspectives. “The American people all want the same thing in the end (food, shelter and safety),” Winokur stated. “Disagreement comes from how to get there; in the end...we need to remember we are all on the same side.”

At the end of the screening of her film, Winkur relied on audience interaction. She treated the audience as if they were being filmed for the same project they just watched. She brought out the same table, with the same tablecloth and the same little yellow flower in the middle. Winokur then brought students on stage to sit and talk politics with her. 

The three students brought on stage all identified themselves as far left, moving the flower to the edge of the table. Winokur then sat and talked with each student for about 10 minutes each, getting their perceptive of what is wrong in the world today.

Through this screening and lecture, Winokur took Edinboro all across America to hear what the “little guy” has to say. Whether you disagreed with what was said or not, Winokur left the audience with this message: “It is not about being heard, it is about hearing. We can not continue to ‘talk at others.’”

Gabriel Hypes can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

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