From the Congo to Columbus, Los Angeles Filmmakers Want to Tell Columbus, Ohio’s Diversity Story to Heal the Nation

Filmmaker Jeffrey Newman, told The Columbus Dispatch last week that a film being produced by Rich Street Productions, featuring Columbus’s diverse immigrant population, “…is about reclaiming our identity as Americans.”

He went on to say,

You tell the story of Columbus through people who live here. The diversity is rich. … The diversity that comes out of here is part of the healing we need to do as a nation.

And, to tell the story he and his co-producer Keida Mascaro say they will create a composite refugee, hire actors, and shoot the film featuring the city of Columbus.

In order to get the job done by 2020, they must raise $500,000 to start and need $3-4 million in total.

The film titled, ‘New Americans,’ will be one more in a growing body of similar films designed to reach voters before the all-important 2020 presidential contest.

There is no obvious connection between the Columbus film company, Rich Street Films, featured in The Dispatch report, and others that have sprung up in the aftermath of Trump’s winning campaign message about restricting immigration.

Nevertheless, we do know that, since Donald Trump was elected and went immediately to work to limit immigration through various means, the political Left has ramped-up its use of documentary films featuring appealing immigrant stories as part of its “resistance through storytelling” action plan.

If Mascaro and Newman are able to raise the millions they say are needed, they want the film to be less of a documentary and more like a feature movie which gives them more leeway to send whatever message they wish about “healing” and how to “understand each other.”

The plan is to hire actors and tell a tale of a fictional refugee from the “Congo,” a former “child soldier” who comes to the US on a “special visa” and then for the next 60 days must “navigate challenges of a new culture.”

To build their composite refugee, the pair has “mined local stories,” by interviewing refugees and immigrants living in Columbus expending the first $65,000 they have raised so far.

Columbus, they say, has the “luxury of having one of the most thriving refugee and immigrant communities in the US.” And, it is located in a “perpetually purple state” which they freely admit gives the film a “unique political tapestry” that they wouldn’t have with a film made in New York or Los Angeles.

The film’s fictional lead character is described as having lived in the “war state of Congo.”  The average American viewer of an imaginary story might have no concern about a fuzzy geographical reference to the “Congo,” but there are in fact two Congos.

The first is the relatively safe country known as the Republic of Congo and then the more violent and chaotic DR Congo.  The latter is where tens of thousands of refugees arriving in the US hail from.

The vast majority of the Congolese arriving since early in the Obama administration and into the first two years of the Trump presidency are Christians who are admitted to the US through the State Department’s Refugee Admissions Program.

Filmmakers Mascaro and Newman, who plan to use a hip-hop soundtrack in the film, also want viewers to know that Columbus is home to 40,000 Somali refugees, a number second only to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The 2016 Ohio State terrorist attack, committed by a Somali refugee, caused the local Somali population to react in defense of their community.

Referring to the high demographic numbers for Somalis in Columbus, Mascaro told The Dispatch that there are a lot of people in the city and the country “who don’t know that.”

Saying they want to “enrich the community,” the Los Angeles team plans to feature the city of Columbus as a “character” in the film, not just a backdrop, as they make a pitch for funding from local investors in their efforts to “raise the city’s visibility nationally.”

The film, ‘New Americans’ will likely receive a warm welcome from city government.

Former four-term Democrat Mayor Michael Coleman created the New American Initiative in 2005 “to give all immigrants and refugees living in Columbus access to city services and programs to help improve their lives.”  The initiative is on-going under present Democrat Mayor Andrew Ginther.

“New Americans” is not a new phrase, an early reference to “New Americans” can  be found in the title of a 1997 report by the National Research Council, The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration.

Although the NRC report attempted to spin the news about the increasing numbers of immigrants to America positively, the Center for Immigration Studies analyzed it and found some serious warning signs to especially American workers.

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Anna Marie Bolton is a reporter for Battleground State News.
Photo “Jeffrey Newman” by Rich Street Productions.










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