The Hollywood Reporter (Weekly) - The Hollywood Reporter Awards Special

THE NEUTRAL GROUND

(PBS)

- — S.H.

What began as a short internet video satirizing the furor that erupted over the removal of Confederat­e statues in New Orleans in 2015 became a bigger — and darker — story. “I’m interested in the absurd lengths people go to in order to avoid acknowledg­ing the impact race has had — and still has — in this country,” says comedian-turned-filmmaker C.J. Hunt. “The monuments debate felt like a concrete way to explore a question at the heart of our divisions: Can we be honest about our nation’s past?” In revealing various groups’ century-plus-long campaign to legitimize the statues, says Hunt, “I hope our film helps people realize: Monuments are not history. Anyone with a couple hundred thousand dollars can buy a monument to commemorat­e whatever story they choose. And when future generation­s decide that a monument no longer represents them, they have the right to move that object to a museum or into someone’s musty garage.”

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