It’s always nice to see young people with a passion for science, reality, skepticism and advocacy. In Carlsbad, CA, a group of highschool students in a journalism class made a film about vaccines and vaccine denialism. (It’s on the correct side of it)
More than a dozen current and former Carlsbad High School students have found themselves in the middle of the long-running vaccination debate after they produced the film Invisible Threat.
The film debuted online August 1, more than a year after it was completed.
Students tell NBC 7 that’s largely due to the backlash they’ve faced, even during the production stage.
Brad Streicher worked on the film his junior year. The current USC student and NBC 7 intern said the idea came from the San Diego Rotary Club.
People there were impressed by two previous films they’d worked on and wanted the high school broadcast journalism class to do one on the immune system and immunizations.
“We ended up telling Rotary we’ll do the film but only on our terms, which means we were going to approach the film from a journalistic standpoint,” said Streicher. “We wanted to make sure whatever story we were telling, it would be unbiased and we would attack it from both sides of the argument.”
The Rotary gave the students $60,000 for the project with that understanding, according to Streicher.
Months into the film’s production, students say they started to received e-mails and online comments harshly criticizing their work.
People called the project “pro-vaccine” and “propaganda.” At one point the teacher and director of the film, Douglas Green, proposed the students stop the project. The students refuse.
Here’s a video about the production and the students behind it:
Rarely do I get to report on a such a positive story. These kids really did a great job and produced a video that is professional and well thought out.
Needless to say, the anti-vaxers have come down against it, to various degrees of lunacy. First they question who is “really behind” it. I get that too – people demanding to know which drug companies pay me to blog on their behalf. (the answer is none) Others say that the production is just too good to be something created by students.
The most common claim is that it does not fairly portray both sides. Of course, it’s hard to portray two sides of a story as equal if one is just plain wrong and demonstrably so. One would not demand both sides be treated equally if the issue was Holocaust denial or whether or not the earth is, in fact, flat.
As far as who was paying for it: The fact of the matter is that modern desktop computers and easily available software is all it takes to make slick-looking graphics, video transitions and edits. High definition cameras are cheaper than ever and no doubt would be available from the schools facilities. So while it clearly took a lot of work, that does not mean it was expensive.
It’s great to see the reception has been so great that screening have been held across the country.
You can view the trailer here. It costs five dollars to “rent” the film so that you can see the whole thing. I’d recommend doing so, not only because it’s a good film but also because the five dollars will help support this great student project. The only downside to it not being freely available is that it makes it harder to use it as a persuasion tool.
A quick aside: Pharmaceutical companies make less than 3% of their money from vaccines. Considering the critics think they are behind every pro-vaccine message, one has to question how much money they think is being spent chasing after that 3% of drug industry profits. If nothing else, it’s a lot of work for a pretty small piece of the pie.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 at 8:09 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Education, media, Quackery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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