I was pleased to meet and dine with Whalen and Herrman after their film premiered at SXSW, and I join Alan in wishing them luck on their Emmy quest. It's amazing how reverberations from that episode more than a decade later continue to influence drug policy debates and, increasingly, American culture.
According to the folks at Independent Lens, “TULIA, TEXAS shows how America’s war on drugs and its over-zealous law enforcement, combined with racial divisions, have exposed deep-seated animosities and even starker injustices.”
But Whalen and Herrman dealt with a painful subject in a compassionate and understated way. The Independent Lens website now features a “Tulia talks back” section with comments from folks on both sides of the drug sting controversy. The program comes in for some criticism from those who didn’t like seeing their community branded as uniquely racist; but the comments are generally appreciative, even laudatory.
Page Lacey Heisser, a woman who grew up in Tulia, left this comment. “One of the strengths of the film is its plain explanation of how rural economics, politics and small town justice converge to influence decent citizens of a town towards making such bad decisions. I think Tulia—like other small towns—is made up of women and men who are focused on their families, their jobs, local sports, church events and keeping their heads above water.”
Page wishes “Tulia, Texas” was a mandatory part of the school curriculum in her home town.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Tulia documentary nominated for Emmy
Following news that the "Tulia law" requiring corroboration for informants in undercover drug stings is still working as intended to prevent drug convictions without adequate evidence, I'm pleased to learn from Rev. Alan Bean at Friends of Justice (a group founded in 1999 to fight the Tulia raids) that the documentary film "Tulia, Texas" has been nominated for an Emmy. He writes: