If you have checked our Facebook or Twitter pages this week you have noticed that we have a very exciting event happening next week. We are beyond excited to be hosting the national premiere of the documentary “The Invisible Threat” next Thursday, January 23 at The Sundance Cinemas Houston.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the film’s producer, Lisa Posard (who happens to be the mother of one of the 16 students responsible for creating the film) and she was kind enough to provide me with the background of how this documentary came about. Let me just say, this is an amazing story.
This whole project began at Carlsbad High School. The school has a daily news broadcast each morning that is covered by local cable networks and is broadcast to all of its 3,000 students. For the past 6 years these students have been considered to be one of the top broadcasting programs in in the nation and have been awarded 19 Student Emmys as a result. Needless to say, this is not your average high school newsroom. Eight years ago Doug Green, a former middle school English teacher, wanted to provide students with an opportunity to discover first-hand the background history of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” because he felt middle students just weren’t getting the real message. They didn’t grasp what was really happening at that time in history. In order to help them fully understand, Green had his Carlsbad High School TV (CHSTV) broadcasting students expand their journalism skills to a longer more in depth format and from that came their first film “We Must Remember.” The creation of this film gave 16 American teens the opportunity to discover the horrors of the Holocaust first hand by traveling to Europe and even interviewing German teens who had Nazi grandparents. This film was not only educational, but also strived to portray an anti-bullying message and promote tolerance.
Fast forward several years and multiple awards later, CHSTV was now being offered many projects from fully funded donors seeking to create documentaries. The San Diego Rotary was among this group. They asked that the students to create a film on the immune system and how immunizations work in a 15 minute educational video. Initially CHSTV turned down the offer. It wasn’t until Lisa’s daughter’s puppy contracted the parvovirus (which is a vaccine-preventable disease that kills puppies) that the concept of immunizations really resonated among the students. They recognized that because someone else didn’t vaccinate their dog, another could lose its life. The students then accepted the project and began their research.
Shortly thereafter, a local newspaper ran an article about the project. Almost immediately there were hundreds of comments from anti-vaccine advocates as well as a blog on the projected featured on a well-publicized anti-vaccine website. The 2 adults on the project, Lisa and Doug (a broadcasting teacher turned film maker/director) threw their hands in the air and decided to scrap the project. It was Lisa’s daughter, a senior in high school at this point, who said “Don’t you remember what we learned from the Holocaust film? What happens when good people do nothing?” Lisa and Doug agreed. They refused to be bullied and this tiny project slowly became a full-fledged 40 minute documentary. It’s also important to note that Lisa, Doug and the students went into this project as journalists. Not for or against vaccines. Simply looking to tell the truth, and in all honesty expecting to find something to substantiate the anti-vaccine communities concerns. Where there’s smoke there is fire, right? Wrong.
But of course the story doesn’t end there. To get the full experience you need to join us for the film’s premiere! It’s not often that high school film makers receive accolades from some of the nation’s top physicians and medical institutions. Don’t’ miss out on this amazing experience. Get your tickets today and join us for a night you won’t soon forget.