Hidden in Plain Sight
(71 minutes) USA
Director: John H. Smihula
Producers: John H. Smihula and Viví Letsou
Every November, thousands of people from across North America gather outside Fort Benning, Georgia to form one of the largest anti-war demonstrations in the U.S. since the Vietnam War. The issue is the controversial U.S. Army School of the Americas, where over 60,000 Latin soldiers have been trained, among them dictators like Manuel Noriega of Panama and Roberto D’Aubuisson of El Salvador. Demonstrators denounce the SOA as a “School of Assassins,” but Army officials argue that the school has played a crucial role in bringing democracy and stability to Latin America. On this issue, the U.S. Congress is sharply divided. A short history, a spirited debate, a personal story, and a call for accountability, Hidden in Plain Sight is a bold, unflinching look at the nature and consequences of U.S. policy in Latin America.
John Smihula is an English instructor at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he teaches literature, composition, and film. He has worked on both feature films and documentaries as an actor, crewmember and script consultant. His previous documentary experience includes photographing David Yahn’s The Drum and the Mask (1993) in Papua New Guinea on Melanesian art and rituals and being a script consultant for Anh Crutcher’s Yakoana (1997), which concerns the survival of indigenous cultures. His other work includes service in Mauritania as a Peace Corps volunteer, ten years of counseling in the social and mental health services in New York and San Francisco, and years of environmental and political activism.
A native of Greece, Viví Letsou finished her studies in the U.S. with a Master’s degree in Theater Arts. She has written, directed and produced 15 plays and five award-winning short films. In 1987, she established KINISI Worldcenter in San Jose, which was the first ethnic dance and music school in the area. Recently she wrote, produced and directed her first feature film, Skeleton Woman. Shot in the Bay Area, it premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival, received an award at the New York Independent Film Festival, and screened in film festivals in Berlin, Hong Kong, Cairo and Brussels. Ms. Letsou was the head of public relations for the Thessaloniki International Film Festival for four years.
Raven’s Call Productions
P.O. Box 410772
San Francisco, CA 94141-0772