Arts & Life, Events, Film & Television

CSULB screens film about little-known police operation that resulted in 11 deaths

The California State University, Long Beach Film and Electronic Arts department is hosting a free screening of “Let the Fire Burn” along with a Q-and-A with director Jason Osder.

The documentary recounts a confrontation that occurred on May 13, 1985 when a long-time feud between Philadelphia police and MOVE, a black liberation group, came to a head. Attempting to carry out arrest warrants, police fired 10,000 rounds of ammunition and dropped military-grade explosives onto a fortified row house occupied by members of MOVE. The faceoff resulted in 11 deaths and the destruction of 65 homes.

“The film is composed entirely of archival footage, yet it unfurls with the tension of a thriller, ” said Helen Hood Scheer, CSULB assistant film and electronic arts professor. “This type of intimate access is a great way to help make our students better filmmakers and scholars, which is our goal.”

Director Jason Osder grew up in Philadelphia when the deadly clash occurred. Of the 11 who were killed by police, five were children.

“I remember being truly scared,” said Osder in a statement. “Regardless of politics or race or whether MOVE was a cult, I knew even as a child that the children were not to blame for what happened to them and that a fundamental injustice had occurred.”

The film will be screened at the University Theatre on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“There’s so much in this film to consider content-wise. Personally, I hope students walk away excited to participating in events like this one on campus and fired-up the potential of documentary filmmaking,” Scheer said.

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