Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 06
November 6, 1992
Film Cares

On November 6, 1992, a delegation of American screenwriters under the auspices of the United Nations and the Writers Guild of America visited refugee communities in Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Croatia and Bosnia to see first hand the horrors there –– and then be motivated to write screenplays about the experience. Quoted by Army Archerd in Variety, screenwriter Richard Friedenberg (A River Runs Through It) relayed his impressions, describing “burning garbage, human feces, and children lying like rags, too weak to react.” He urged readers to donate to the Red Cross and CARE and pledged to “write stories” about the plight of the refugees. But when it comes to translating the complexities of the refugee crisis to an American audience, Hollywood has a spotty record. Martin Campbell’s 2003 Beyond Borders, which starred Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen, was a large-scale romance set against relief efforts in Africa. Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down was an actioner more about American pride than the politics of the region. Despite the best efforts of Hollywood, the most noteworthy media activism about the refugee crisis has been decidedly small scale. Witness.org, for example, teaches “video advocacy,” instructing citizens on how to document rights abuses in their own countries. FilmAid.org brings movie screenings to refugee camps in a gesture of goodwill and cultural exchange. SaveDarfur.org has a media library filled with first-person accounts from Darfur refugees. And, of course, Jolie herself has extended her activism beyond her choice of movie parts. Around the time she starred in Beyond Borders, she also signed on to become the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Holding the position to this day, she regularly visits U.N. refugee operations while speaking passionately about the cause to both Congress and the international media.


More Flashbacks
Thomas Ince November 6, 1886
Thomas Ince born

Born into a stage family in Newport, Rhode Island, Thomas Harper Ince would grow up to be known as the “Father of the Western.”

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November 6, 1931
Mike Nichols born

Mike Nichols, who was born on this day in 1931, has been among the cream of the crop of Hollywood directors since he announced himself as a major talent in the mid-1960s with the prodigious one-two punch of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate.

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