FSCC to Host Screening, Discussion of WWI Film

Fort Scott Community College will host a preview screening of the PBS American Experience film, “The Great War,” and a panel discussion April 10, 2-4 p.m., at the Ellis Family Fine Arts Center.

The screening and discussion will follow the topic of “The War for Democracy: America’s New Foreign Policy,” looking into President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to move from neutrality to becoming a part of World War I.

Panel members will include Pastor James Collins, retired army chaplain; Jan Elder (Baldwin), an emigrant from England whose grandfather served in World War I; and an FSCC faculty member who will be named later.

See the press release below for details on the film that will air on PBS in April.

(BOSTON, MA) — Scheduled in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into the war on April 6, 1917, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “The Great War,” a three-part, six-hour documentary, will premiere Monday, April 10, through Wednesday, April 12, 9-11 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS. Featuring the voices of Campbell Scott, Blythe Danner, Courtney Vance and others, “The Great War” is executive produced by Mark Samels and directed by award-winning filmmakers Stephen Ives, Amanda Pollak and Rob Rapley.

Drawing on the latest scholarship, including unpublished diaries, memoirs and letters, “The Great War” tells the rich and complex story of World War I through the voices of nurses, journalists, aviators and the American troops who came to be known as “doughboys.” The series explores the experiences of African-American and Latino soldiers, suffragists, Native-American “code talkers” and others whose participation in the war to “make the world safe for democracy” has been largely forgotten. “The Great War” also explores how a brilliant PR man bolstered support for the war in a country hesitant to put lives on the line for a foreign conflict; how President Woodrow Wilson steered the nation through almost three years of neutrality, only to reluctantly lead America into the bloodiest conflict the world had ever seen, thereby transforming the United States into a dominant player on the international stage; and how the ardent patriotism and determination to support America’s crusade for liberty abroad led to one of the most oppressive crackdowns on civil liberties at home in American history.

It is also a story of little known heroism and sacrifice (including the deadliest battle in American history) that would leave more than 53,000 men dead on the battlefield and more than 60,000 dead from disease. American fatalities would come at a critical time in the war, but they would be dwarfed by a cataclysm of violence that would ultimately claim 15 million lives.

“World War I was the soil from which so many things today really grew, starting with America’s place in the world,” said AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Executive Producer Mark Samels. “Before the war, America was isolated and uninvolved in world affairs. After the war, America stepped onto the world stage, and that continues today with our troops becoming involved in conflicts around the world. The current debate on the balance between national security and civil liberties also began with World War I. The debate over immigration reached its apex during World War I. The film is not only about what happened 100 years ago, but how what happened then transformed our nation and the world in ways still being felt today.”

The broadcast of “The Great War” will be accompanied by a series of screening events and discussions hosted by universities, museums and public television stations around the country.

“The Great War” will be available on DVD from PBS Distribution and can be purchased at ShopPBS.org. Online viewing begins April 11, at PBS.org.

“The Great War”

Episode One

Written and Directed by Stephen Ives

Produced by Amanda Pollak

Narrated by Oliver Platt

Edited by Jon Neuberger and Merril Stern

Episode Two

Produced and Directed by Amanda Pollak

Written by Stephen Ives

Narrated by Oliver Platt

Edited by Seth Bomse

Episode Three

Written and Directed by Rob Rapley

Narrated by Oliver Platt

Edited by R. A. Fedde

Series Producers Stephen Ives

Amanda Pollak

Original Music by Peter Rundquist

Tom Phillips

Co-Producer Gene Tempest

Archival Producer Lizzy McGlynn

Coordinating Producer Nazenet Habtezghi

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston

Senior Producer Susan Bellows

Executive Producer Mark Samels

The Voices of “The Great War”

Edith Wharton            Blythe Danner

Eugene Bullard           Brandon Dirden

Eddie Rickenbacker    Christopher Gorham

Ralph John/Alan Seeger          Josh Hamilton

Mary Borden               Jennifer Andrews Lee

Victor Chapman          Eric Loscheider

John Barkley               Jacob Pitts

Jose de la luz Saenz                Armando Riesco

Richard Harding Davis           Campbell Scott

James Europe              David St. Louis

Noble Sissle                Courtney B. Vance



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