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IDA Awards Weekend is GOOD to Go

By Tom White

The IDA Awards closed out its 2008 edition with a screening of Stefan Forbes' Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story at the new headquarters for GOOD, the media platform that produces a magazine, a website, films and live events-all in the spirit of doing good, in a progressive, innovative way. GOOD December is a nearly monthlong series of happenings from nonprofits throughout the LA community, and IDA helped inaugurate GOOD's new space with the screening and Q&A. Other films coming up include Jason Pollock's The Young Candidate and Aaron Roses' Beautiful Losers.

Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
The ever-eloquent Forbes held court for a good hour following the screening, discussing the need to be non-partisan, how Atwater might have fared in a Web 2.0 world, the politics of fear, and the reaction from both sides of the aisle. According to Forbes, Republicans loved the film because Atwater doesn't come across as a villain, while Democrats liked the film because it affirms his villainy. "It would have been such a cop-out to say, ‘What an evil guy,'" Forbes explained. "I wanted us to be implicated."

I recall a screening of The Fog of War, and Errol Morris quoted writer Philip Gourevich, who, in referencing his extensive reports about the 1994 massacre in Rwanda, remarked, "It's easier to condemn evil than it is to understand it." Evil characters are always more interesting, whether in literature or in film, and in Boogie Man, Forbes has created a fascinating figure, informed as much by the rich and troubled history of his native South as by the take-no-prisoners bloodsports that is American politics. Here's an article about the film that appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Documentary.