“Words Versus Actions”: Billinkoff ’14 Films Documentary about Public Safety Controversies

As a final project for his Digital Filmmaking class, slam poet regular and Wesleying contributor Solomon Billinkoff ’14 has made a brief documentary about Public Safety. The twelve-minute short focuses on a series of events in the fall of 2012 (many of which led to the recent decision not to include racial descriptors in safety alerts). As Billinkoff explains in his voice-over:

I never had a plan for this movie. All I knew was that I wanted to make a documentary about Public Safety. After having gotten approval from the organization, my first instinct was to humanize P-Safe, as it is an institution that is generally maligned by the student body. A wave of on-campus assaults had just occurred within a single week, and I was interested to discover what P-Safe was doing to handle the situation and protect students. But the alerts P-Safe had sent out described the suspects as “African-American” and “male,” and unbeknownst to me at the time, these email alerts were met with a slew of racial hatred on Wesleyan’s Anonymous Confession Board. It was then revealed that a P-Safe officer had allegedly assaulted a black Wesleyan student. A week later, a forum on student diversity and equality was held in Wesleyan’s Beckham Hall.

These conflicts and contradictions form the basis of Billinkoff’s film, which largely speaks for itself. It’s only twelve minutes, so watch it after the jump. Cameos by Andrew Malkin ’15, Kwame Adams ’14, Everton Laidley ’14, Chantaneice Kitt ’13, Christian Hosam ’15, Geneva Jonathan ’15, and Dorisol Inoa ’13. Music by Andrew Bird and Radiohead.

  • anon

    lol at the background music. can’t really take this seriously at all

  • meowmix

    the juxtaposition that occurs around minute 7 makes no sense. you are comparing two completely different situations. the officer is referring to the types of questions he gets on a daily basis, which is the question you asked him. the majority of these questions will be the ones he mentioned, not overarching issues on the role of race in psafes job. on the other hand, the diversity conference was meant to explore exactly these issues. perhaps if you asked a more clear question to office harrington your juxtaposition would be more valid.

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  • Parent

    How does a man hold that position and have the offensive quote on his filed cabinet behind him. Calling everyone around you an a-hole does not seem to be the appropriate mindset of someone whose job is Public Safety.

  • not a mouse

    I appreciate the effort that went into this and there are some clever moments, but the whole thing feels pretty unfair. you condemn psafe as an ignorant, unsympathetic institution based on one ridealong and a 7-minute interview. you cut off the little snippets of what they say in order to make a point that has more to do with the complaints of people at the forum. This and a number of other techniques overburdens the piece with a transparent bias and undercuts its credibility. i wish you had found other ways to piece together a coherent portrait with the footage you had that didn’t rely so heavily on editorializing… nice cinematography though!

  • cat fan

    quite a bad ‘documentary’ which i’ll ‘juxtapose’ with this cat tumblr_mjwl1mNu9S1s3vgluo1_400.jpg

    • cat fan

      idk the cat is not quite visible [commentary on documentary]

    • don’t watch

      yeah seriously don’t watch this