By David Felix Sutcliffe (US/UK 2017, 29') | Finalist Long Reportage (+)
Screening of “White Fright”, finalist in the Long Reportage section.
On April 10, 2015, the FBI quietly arrested Robert Doggart, a white, 63-year-old Tennessee resident, after they discovered he was plotting to attack Islamberg, a small, predominantly African-American Muslim community in upstate New York. Doggart, a failed Congressional candidate, and a former member of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, recruited several volunteers to assist him. Intending to use explosives and Molotov cocktails, he planned to firebomb a mosque, a cafeteria, and a school in the village, and then use assault rifles and a machete to attack the nearly three dozen families living in Islamberg.
If successful, he would have carried out the deadliest terror attack on American soil since 9/11. Despite Doggart’s politically motivated plans, the government neglected to charge him with terrorism, and less than a month after his arrest he was released on bail. Shocked by the media’s silence, the residents of Islamberg embark on a campaign to inform the American public. Through interviews with the intended targets of Doggart’s attack, the emotional scars of this event come directly into view.
David Felix Sutcliffe is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist whose work is rooted in racial justice and countering Islamophobia. His feature-length debut film (T)error premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and received a 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Documentary. The film has screened at more than fifty festivals around the world, was broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens, and is now available on Netflix. David Felix Sutcliffe first came to filmmaking when one of his students, a 16-year-old girl named Adama Bah, became the youngest known person arrested in a terrorism investigation in the United States. In 2005, the FBI accused Adama of being a ‘potential’ suicide bomber, but failed to provide any evidence to substantiate this claim. David Felix Sutcliffe spent four years documenting her and her family in the wake of her arrest, capturing their experiences in an hour-long film called Adama (first broadcast on PBS in 2011). He is now directing Networks, a documentary musical about Islamophobia and the media.