February 18th 2006

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: AWB biggest scandal to hit the Howard Government

EDITORIAL: Tide turns on global capitalism

SCHOOLS: Why our children don't know history

ECONOMICS: Sky's the limit with CEO pay increases

EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Engineer shortage hurting economy

RURAL CRISIS: Black Friday for Canadian farmers

MEDICAL: Abortion pill a bonanza for lawyers

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The humbug revolution / Iran / Bush, oil addiction and the environment

AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY: Is pornography just harmless fun?

ENTERTAINMENT: American awards honour traditional values

EAST TIMOR: Will Indonesian military be let off the hook?

WAR ON TERROR: Tackling a home-grown security threat

OPINION: 'Human rights' charter a backward step

OBITUARY: Colin Pike, champion of the underdog

Religious persecution during the Spanish Civil War (letter)

B.A. Santamaria on Toynbee's 'creative minorities' (letter)

BOOKS: MANHOOD: An action plan for changing men's lives, by Steve Biddulph

BOOKS: HEAD OF STATE: The Governor-General, the Monarchy, the Republic and the Dismissal, by Sir David Smith

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American awards honour traditional values

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, February 18, 2006
An independent US filmmaker is promoting films with patriotic and pro-family values.

An independent filmmaker, tired of the accolades heaped on films opposed to traditional values at the Oscars, Golden Globe and Academy Awards, has established the American Values Awards for Movies and Television.

Filmmaker Michael Class says the awards seek to honour films and television that feature "stories of love, honor, commitment, good versus evil, and the triumph of the human spirit".

Because the most popular movies depict stories of love, honour, commitment, good versus evil, and the triumph of the human spirit, Class says there should be an award that recognises the portrayal of these traditional values in movies and on television.

The new awards are given to films "Americans actually like", Class said.

Michael Class launched Magic Picture Frame Studio after helping start a successful Seattle-based Internet company and take it public. In his inaugural year, the Seattle filmmaker has selected the surprise hit End of the Spear as a winner for 2005.

Spiritual growth

Class believes that many of the films being honoured currently are not reflective of the majority of Americans' tastes or values. He chose End of the Spear for its emphasis on spiritual growth and finding God - in whom most Americans do believe.

End of the Spear is based on the true story of five missionary men who in 1956 were brutally killed on the banks of the Amazon in Ecuador by the Waodani tribe, described by anthropologists as one of the most violent cultures ever documented. After their deaths, the missionaries' wives and children went and lived among the tribe members who had speared their husbands and were instrumental in reversing this homicidal, savage society.

Opening in the US on 1,163 screens, End of the Spear surprised Hollywood, earning a spot in the top 10 and upsetting its big-studio competition, The New World. Coming in at eighth place, with box office receipts of $4.3 million, End of the Spear also outperformed recent newcomers Hoodwinked, Last Holiday, and Glory Road in per screen average. End of the Spear will continue its run on 1,105 screens, looking for a strong second week fuelled by positive word of mouth.

The rest of the American Values Award winners, and Class's reasons for selecting them, include Cinderella Man, a story of commitment to family during the Great Depression; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, based on C.S. Lewis's allegory drawn from the Old and New Testaments; Star Wars: Episode III and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, because they are stories of good versus evil; The Great Raid, a true story of American heroism during World War II; Millions, an off-beat story about doing the right thing; and The Greatest Game Ever Played, a story of good sportsmanship.

Class is disgusted that Brokeback Mountain, the film about two cowboys who give in to homosexual tendencies, has four Golden Globe awards and is expected to clean up at this year's Oscars. He says:

"Skip Syriana, Munich, and Brokeback Mountain unless your only criterion for seeing a movie is aesthetic merit. These movies are morally confused. I don't want my kids seeing them.

"Syriana blames America for terrorism. Munich confuses justice with vengeance, and morally equates counter-terrorism with terrorism. And Brokeback Mountain? What's positive about a film whose main character's sexual behavior destroys a family?

"I want media leaders with a sense of patriotism and respect for family to join with me to turn the American Values Awards into a high-profile event."

Class is intent on transforming the way children learn history and moral values. His company's first release is the museum-quality book, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame, in which a modern boy time-travels into great events of the 20th century.


Amazing digital photography places Anthony in the cockpit of the Spirit of St Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. It strives to be historically accurate. Even Anthony's conversations with American heroes are based on things they really said.

Each chapter of the book includes a list of recommended books, movies, music, and places to visit: 600 movies are included in the book; 100 movies are listed on the web site.

Class has renewed hope for 2006. He advises:

"See Glory Road. It's the inspiring true story of how a small school in West Texas, with an unproven coach and an all-black starting team of basketball players, changed history: heroes all. It's a story of character, integrity, and overcoming prejudice.

"It's a story of inner strength and doing something that is bigger than yourself. In the theatre where I watched the film, people stood up and cheered when the movie was over. I did, too."

Class invites people to nominate movies for the American Values Award for 2006 at his Web site, www.MagicPictureFrame.com.

  • Peter Westmore

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