Who Wants You?
National Service and Democracy
Directed by Vital Pictures
Visit Film Site: vitalpix.com
At the inception of our democracy, George Washington insisted that “every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government owes not only a proportion of his property but even his personal service to the defense of it.” Surprisingly, a recent survey of customers at middle and working glass big box store Cosco found that close to 70% of Americans might agree. They voted overwhelmingly for some sort of mandatory national service. But what kind of service? Military service?
Now with multiple front wars, the question is regularly raised: is an all-volunteer army enough? Should the draft be reinstated? The question is met with fear and loathing. The history of mandatory conscription in America is rife with problems and injustices; its end in 1972 was welcome. What do we as citizens owe our country, beyond taxes? Scandinavian countries offer models, a new Administration is calling for service and sacrifice from all its citizens. What form should, or could, it take? These are the question this new two part series will tackle.
Llewellyn M. Smith, President of Vital Pictures, Inc, contributed as a writer/producer to such celebrated PBS series as Eyes On The Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years and the critically acclaimed PBS history series American Experience, where as Series Editor he played a key role in origination, development and acquisition of more than 70 programs on American history. For the acclaimed 3-hour PBS series RACE: The Power Of An Illusion, Smith produced the program The House We Live In. Smith was also co-executive producer for the duPont Columbia award winning PBS series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? Most recently, Smith was the director/producer for Herskovits At the Heart Of Blackness.
Christine Herbes-Sommers, Vice President of Vital Pictures, Inc., has produced a wide range of PBS documentaries and dramas, earning her an Emmy nomination, a duPont Columbia Award for her ground breaking documentary Joan Robinson-One Woman’s Story, several Cine Golden Eagles and many other awards. She is Executive producer of Herskovits At the Heart of Blackness; was Senior Series Producer for Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?, the duPont Columbia award winning four hour PBS series and major outreach campaign on health and social injustice broadcast in 2008.
Conceived with Wendy Riseborough, who will be a Producer for this film. A native Bostonian, Riseborough made her production start at WGBH with Christine Sommers over 14 years ago on the series Connect with English. She then spent 10 years in Los Angeles and New York working as a coordinator, production manager and line producer for numerous feature films and television shows. She was co-producer of the feature documentary, Show Business: The Road to Broadway, nominated for best documentary by the Independent Documentary Association, and production managed for the Sundance Grand Jury award winner Chuck & Buck.
Funding for Who Wants You? National Service and Democracy: Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.