A battle for the times

Sandy Gotham Meehan’s journey in filmmaking has taught her patience.

With her latest project, “Barney’s Wall: Portrait of a Game Changer,” she learned a lot about herself.

“This film began in early 2014,” she says. “I had no idea that it would take as long as it has. I could give a TEDx talk on 10 reasons why you are insane to produce an independent production.”

All kidding aside, Gotham Meehan is proud of the documentary, which will premiere at the Santa Fe Film Festival at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14.

The film probes the lasting political and cultural impact of Barney Rosset, radical Grove Press publisher, free-speech warrior and political activist, one of the most influential cultural impresarios of the last half of the 20th century.

Rosset’s fierce midcentury battles against literary censorship, government surveillance, racial bigotry and the Vietnam war blasted open America’s conservative culture and birthed the ’60s counter-culture rebellion, paving the way for today’s unfettered artistic expression.

Gothan Meehan says the film makes the case that Rosset’s unflagging battles against inequality and an intolerant culture make him a contemporary model for today’s political and cultural activists who seek to keep the country open and the First Amendment intact.

“Perhaps the closest equivalent today of Rosset’s feisty, abrasive, principled and visionary politics is Bernie Sanders,” she says.

Gotham Meehan had access to Rosset’s estate.

“Barney never threw anything out,” she says. “We had a lot of trouble finding the story arc. He was known for his publishing brilliance and his legal battles that he waged in the mid-1950s against government censorship.”

Gotham Meehan served as director alongside Williams Cole. It was produced by FoxHog Productions based out of New York City.

She worked with 415 pieces of archival material.

“Getting everything pared down was one of the most difficult things for this project,” she says. “We’ve been able to privately screen the film and the conversation it started is great. I wanted to premiere the film in Santa Fe because the city has a great reputation of being open and accepting. I think the counter-culture angle will resonate with the audiences there. It’s going to be amazing to be part of the community for the time that I’m there.”

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango


"

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Second act: Cory Murchy finds joy working with las ...
Arts
It's 4 a.m. on a weekday.Cory ... It's 4 a.m. on a weekday.Cory Murchy wakes up hours before most to get his day started ...
2
Actress jumped at the chance to star with Clint ...
Blogs
Fernanda Urrejola jumped at the opportunity ... Fernanda Urrejola jumped at the opportunity to work on "Cry Macho."Not only did the st ...
3
Major ABQ road's name has ties to WWII
Arts
One of the most satisfying parts ... One of the most satisfying parts of writing this column is hearing from the readers, e ...
4
New Mexico gives 'Cry Macho' a different feel
ABQnews Seeker
'Cry Macho' was one of the ... 'Cry Macho' was one of the first productions to film in New Mexico when the film industry got the green light last fall. The ...
5
20th century heavyweight: Ken Burns documentary looks into life ...
Boxing/MMA
Ken Burns is one who stays ... Ken Burns is one who stays busy.During the pandemic, the acclaimed filmmaker was worki ...
6
UNM Art Museum exhibit showcases the works of Transcendentalist ...
Arts
Raymond Jonson spun visual harmony from ... Raymond Jonson spun visual harmony from instinct and intuition.His eyebrows dancing li ...
7
Heavenly hummus: Alquds Mediterranean Grill sets itself apart
Dining Reviews
Hummus is going through an identity ... Hummus is going through an identity crisis. Supermarket shelves are crowded with bastardized forms o ...
8
Virtual vision: Albuquerque Film + Music Experience goes online ...
Entertainment
Sixty-six films.Eleven center stage conversations. ... Sixty-six films.Eleven center stage conversations. ...
9
COVID-19 safety stars in NM films
ABQnews Seeker
Strict virus protocols are credited with ... Strict virus protocols are credited with helping in reboot of industry