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A Film By Seth Fein
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: Washington’s TV Cold War in Latin America across the 1960s is a feature-length documentary about Washington’s secret mobilization of TV to wage mass-cultural counterinsurgency throughout Latin America across the 1960s. Its 90 minutes examine the convergence of two revolutions: television’s conquest of Latin American mass media and Castro’s overthrow of the US empire in Cuba. Our Neighborhood‘s heart is archival footage of the actual programs the United States Information Agency (USIA) covertly and semicovertly sponsored for Latin American broadcasting in the 1960s. Across the sixties, the USIA covertly produced hundreds of hours of programming covering a wide-range of genres; serial melodramas and action series, regular newscasts and special reports, entertainment and educational talk shows all focused on discrediting the Cuban Revolution. Publicly unviewed since the programs aired over four decades ago, this footage is a major primary source about the little-known history of US foreign policy and TV propaganda, the interamerican Cold War, and Latin American television. In addition to its archival video, Our Neighborhood includes original onscreen interviews with surviving producers and performers, dramatized dialogue culled from an unprecedented trove of revelatory documents –– declassified for this project through its writer-director’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case –– about the examined programs’ international production, distribution, and reception, imaginatively dramatized and animated sequences that respectively evoke and synthesize narrative and aggregate data.
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