Michael Selditch

Documentary filmmaker Michael Selditch created and produced Sundance Channel’s ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL [www.sundance.tv], a 6-part series that follows Tulane Architecture students as they compete to have their designs chosen and built in Louisiana.

1. What’s your favorite political movie?

My favorite movie of all time is actually quite political at its core — Chinatown. Corruption, conspiracy and privatization fuel this complex story set in Los Angeles in the late 1930′s loosely based on a local water-rights scandal of the early 1900′s. The ecological rape of our land is nothing new to our current millennium. What was once thought of as a plentiful natural resource — water — has been abused for years in disgraceful land-development schemes concocted by the greedy exploitations of rich and powerful businessmen.

2. What role do you feel art plays in politics?

I wish more. Art is about free expression. And therefore, I wish politics played a lesser role in art. When thinking of the two together, I am reminded of the Supreme Court battle of the N.E.A. 4; or a pre-911 Mayor Giuliani who tried to censor the Brooklyn Art Museum’s “Sensation” exhibit and halt the museum’s public funding. If only the First Amendment were as holy to the conservative right as the Second Amendment; we’d live in a much more beautiful world.

3. What do you think is the biggest issue for the next generation of Americans?

Our planet. We can’t keep trashing our grandchildren’s home.

4. Who was the first political candidate you were excited to vote for and why?

Bill Clinton was the first politician that [for me] spoke from the heart.

5. What factors are important to you in choosing a president?

The candidate’s effectiveness in repairing our dismal economy and salvaging what little is left of our middle class.

6. What issues would you like to see politicians focus more on?

Unfortunately, both parties are guilty of succumbing to the perverse stronghold the special interest groups have on our government and our lawmakers. Nothing will ever get done for the people, as long as greedy corporations are pulling the strings of our puppet-politicians.

7. What issues would you like to see politicians focus less on?

Abortion. Guns. Gays.

8. Which candidate’s initiatives do you feel better address environmental concerns?

Certainly, Obama’s plans are overall more hopeful than McCain’s. But it is sad to see that even Obama supports domestic drilling. Even if the US could magically become 100% self-sufficient in the production of oil, it doesn’t take away the simple fact that gas-run cars pollute. Why do so many voters have such a hard time distinguishing between special interest actions and genuine solutions?

9. This is your soapbox – shout it out! What do you need to get off your chest?

Organized religion has hijacked American politics! And politicians have encouraged, and in most cases manipulated this unconscionable trend. The blatant disregard for the fundamental legal and political doctrine that is the separation of church and state is [for me] the source of much of the hatred and divisiveness found in this country today.

10. Do you have any recommended links, books or movies so people can learn more about the issues you care about?

Infidel, the courageous memoir by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is a chilling account of growing up female in a Muslim family in Somalia. Regardless of whether one’s politics are left, right or center, Ali’s spirited story makes one feel incredibly lucky to be an American.

Extra Credit: Fill in the blank. _________ for change.

TRUTH for a change.