Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 19 May 2017

You Should Seek ‘The Searchers’


 
My wife and I had the great pleasure on May 18 to view the East Coast premiere of The Searchers, the award-winning documentary film by Randolph Benson. The audience at Chapel Hill’s Varsity Theater seemed unanimous in their admiration of the film’s quality, and the vital slice of American history it has preserved so heroically.

Winner of the 2017 Orson Welles Award at the prestigious Triburon International Film Festival, The Searchers calls itself “a portrait of researchers of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.”

Randolph Benson

Randolph Benson

Fourteen years in the making, the film uses never-before-seen interviews, archival footage and recently declassified documents to chronicle the past and present of these ordinary citizens and their contributions to revealing the truth about the crime of the 20th century.

Suffering ridicule, and being labeled with the intellectual scarlet letter of conspiracy theorists, these individuals have challenged the institutions of power for over 50 years. They have fought against great odds to, as they often proclaim, “take back our history!”

The film features a literal “Who’s Who” of those who have given most to the investigation: Cyril Wecht, Robert Groden, Josiah Thompson, Mark Lane, John Judge, Jim Marrs, Jim DiEugenio, Debra Conway, Gary Aguilar, Lisa Pease, Rex Bradford, Walt Brown, Andy Winiarczyk and John Kelin, among many others.



A “great strength of the film is that it is made for an audience that is not necessarily expert in all things JFK,” noted film critic Joseph Green. “The director made it, in his words, for ‘himself, before I got into all this.'” These researchers were at first scorned, then completely shunned, by the mainstream media — having the effect of caricaturing the people and censoring their message. This film “counters that by simply letting the critics speak about the case without being interfered with. . . . The great achievement of the film is to humanize the researchers themselves.”

Randolph Benson (whom I am fortunate and honored to call friend) is an award-winning, Durham-based filmmaker. His films have garnered the Gold Medal in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Student Academy Awards and a Kodak Excellence in Filmmaking Award at the Cannes Film Festival, among others. His work has been featured on the Bravo Network, the Independent Film Channel and UNC-TV as well as several international channels.

A graduate of Wake Forest University and the North Carolina School of the Arts, Benson has taught at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for more than 10 years. He is author of the article “JFK, Oswald and the Raleigh Connection,” as well as the highly intriguing and informative “13 Documents You Should Read About the JFK Assassination.”

As is, alas, the case with all too many highly deserving documentaries, The Searchers is not currently set for national release. That is all the more reason you should haunt its Official Web Site to keep track of scheduled showings. Find one near you, and go. Even if you do not know much about the JFK assassination, you need to see the human drama of these men and women unfold in Benson’s deft telling. Seriously.
 


THE SEARCHERS by RANDOLPH BENSON (OFFICIAL TRAILER)
 

(1:25)   ●   COPYRIGHT 2017 THE SEARCHERS DOCUMENTARY LLC
 

 
The SearchersThe Searchers

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Responses

  1. […] this year include Judyth Vary Baker herself, my friend Randolph Benson (who will be screening his highly engaging documentary film The Searchers), Dr. Jim Ftzer, Robert Groden, St. John Hunt (son of the late E. Howard Hunt), Beverly Oliver (the […]


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