My Fugitive

P-D Fighting the fire
120 min

Nina Gilden Seavey was 12 years old on May 4, 1970, the day the Air Force ROTC building on the Washington University campus burned to the ground in an anti-war protest. Her father, civil-rights attorney Louis Gilden, represented several students arrested and sentenced on federal charges, the only such charges levied against protesters in the U.S. One of them, Howard Mechanic, fled and became one of the longest-running fugitives in U.S. history. As an adult, documentarian Seavey (Emmy-winning “A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio in America,” SLIFF selection “The Ballad of Bering Strait”) picked up the trail, intent on finding out what really happened that night on the campus of Washington University and why these students suffered such unique and intense punishment. Her decade-long investigation, originally conceived as a documentary, culminated in the eight-part podcast series “My Fugitive.” Now, more than 50 years later, Seavey returns to the proverbial scene of the crime. St. Louis Public Radio host Sarah Fenske and Seavey will engage in a wide-ranging discussion about “My Fugitive” and the tangled story it uncovered. Using film and audio clips, the program will revisit St. Louis in the late 1960s and ’70s — a hotbed of intrigue that included confidential informants, Russian moles, and a conspiracy to murder a civil-rights icon, all with links to the night of May 4, 1970, on the Washington University campus. Before the event, audience members are encouraged to listen to “My Fugitive” — available at multiple podcast sources —  and then participate in the discussion with their own questions. With Nina Gilden Seavey, Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award honoree, and Sarah Fenske, host of St. Louis Public Radio's "St. Louis on the Air."

Sponsored by John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University St. Louis