Six O' Clock News


General Reactions

What did you think of Six O' Clock News? Have you seen McElwee's previous films and if so, how do they compare?

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Dear FRONTLINE,
WGBH has always provided some of the best material for PBS especially the Frontline series. Last nights show featuring ross mcelwee and his production "six o"clock news" was one of the most impressive features I have had the oppurtunity to view in recent times. That kind of quality merits your attention and anyone elses for that matter, forwarding the near hopeless cause of "quality programing". I was happy to see that mr. mcelwee did not accept the offer from miramax to provide his uncanny and pointed style to a fiction film, no matter the intentions of the producer(s). They seemingly had no creative capacity to get the "effect" as they saw it, that mr. mcelwee "gets" from his subjects so they seemed to want to throw money at him to inject that "effect in an unspontaneous and scripted way that does not lend itself to the very nature of mr. mcelwee's work. Unfortunately documentary film is an under rated and tough financial type of work to persue but at this quality level is so entirely satisfying I wish I had resources to secretly fund the proliferation of such decent filmmaking. To HBO productions credit, they did a fantastic job with "Paradise Lost- the story of the child murders on robinhood hill" I had the chance to see it at the Titus Theatre in NYC and was almost as impressed as I was with "six o'clock news". Hats off to WGBH, Fronline, and Ross McElwee!

g.p.gollrad
NYC

Dear FRONTLINE,
I wish i had a question to ask him, but the beauty of what i saw has left me so numb I cant do anything but praise McElwee. He is the filmaker I would be if I were to full fill my dream of becoming one. There is so much to be said about the simplicity of truth in media, and I wish there was so much more to what I regularly see on tv. I think shows like dateline and 20/20 do a good job of bringing the human factor back into the media but its not enough. We need more media based reality in our lives, maybe it will help us get our heads out of the sand when it comes to problems with society.

sar monken
arlington ma
sar@hallbeck.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
well, where can i start.. it was a truely fascinating look at us. i was emotional at times.. to the point of blurry eyes and nervous laughter.. i felt uncomfortable and reflective all at the same time... You obviously posess a remarkable ability to look at things with a camera and narrate so as to put the viewer there with you... I am a father as you are and I appreciate the introspective look at how we change when they are born and as they grow.. There seems to be so much you communicate without saying anything but just looking with your camera. Keep up the good work ross.. You did something good to counter all the bad we see so much of...

Thank you..
John Beeson
Denham Springs, LA
johnb@premier.net

Dear FRONTLINE,
i have never seen a program like this before. as a 30 year old new mom/graduate student, i rarely take time for television. in fact, i carry a certain disdain for the medium, seeing it as an insatiable time-eater for many of my friends and family. the time i spent watching this program, however, i will always look back on as productive due to its thought-rovoking and unique approach. my motivation for writing is to express gratitude for allowing me to see parts of the world through adrian's dad's eyes, as well as his camera's.

sincerely,
sara j. clough
sara-clough@uiowa.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,
I have not seen the filmmaker's previous works, but compared to previous episodes of FrontLine this episode is remarkabily above the average. This is the first time I have been so moved to actually visit your web page and give you feedback as was requested at the end of the show. Perhaps my vote of confidence is unnecessary, but not unheard. I loved the film.

Hank Gupton
Glendale, AZ
gupton@starlink.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
Hello there Frontline! Once again, you folks have proven your incredible worth in the constantly homogenizing world of PBS! Where else could I count on finding the most recent film by Ross McElwee, to my mind the most endearing and perplexing of contemporary documentary filmmakers? Thank you does not go far enough to express my, and my partner's gratitude for airing "Six O'Clock News." As a long-time follower of McElwee's work, which, as you know, is not easily accessible to many in this country, it was with great anticipation --fully realized-- that I tuned in tonight to see your broadcast. I can only hope that positive reaction to this unique filmmaker's vision and immense talents will prompt you (or PBS writ large) to devote more air-time (perhaps a retrospective? PLEASE!) to one of our very best.

I always look forward to FRONTLINE, but tonight you folks outdid yourselves! Thanks again! Looking forward to seeing more of the BEST PBS has to offer!

Sincerely,
Jeffrey Hixson
Des Moines, IA
WolfCubIA@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
I throughly enjoyed this program. Completely different than the run of the mill TV programming, even for PBS. Storyline had the peculiar ability to bring reality to the screen and into my mind. It was as though I was able to experience the lives of others through the camera and voice of Mr. McElwee.

The monotone of Mr. McElwee's voice, brings an understanding of the events without detracting from the intensity of what we are viewing.

I congratulate PBS for bringing the full 90 minute program into my living room. I am certain there were those who must have thought this program could have been shortened. I, for one, found every minute of this documentary as emotionally and educationally stimulating as any story of recent memory.

Sincerely,
Jack C. Patrick
2145 N. Garden Ave.
Fresno, California 93703
twostep@qnis.net

Dear FRONTLINE,
You "advanced story telling" film-making approach is compelling. My compliments. It is hard to find a social or contemporary view of our regular world that does not go to the extremes portrayed in Six O'clock. One has to notice however, the writing and observational skills you possess. Thanks for your contributions, I am glad I found Frontline this evening. You also held my 13 y/o daughters interest, something is going on here.

Mark Badger
Juneau, Alaska
badger@ptialaska.net

Dear FRONTLINE,
I just finished watching Ross McElwee's "Six O'Clock News." Ironically I watched it on tape after teaching a film class at the University of Utah. I told myself, "I'll just watch for 10 minutes--I've got stuff to do." But it was transfixing; I watched it through to completion. McElwee emotionally, viscerally dances around his subject and in so doing conjurs it in ways that the ostensibly rational news can never hope to attain. His work is a contemplative answer to the mediocrity that dominates the tube. Bravo.

Mark Lowentrout
Salt Lake City
Lowentrout@AOL.com
Dear FRONTLINE,
I enjoy your films a great deal. It's encouraging to see someone just run off and do it. To simply get out there a make movies. You're working in an medium which usually requires an army of collaborators. Many of us out here in the world have imagined what it would be like to create our own films. Many of us even dream up stories and try to get others to read or listen to our ideas. It's discouraging when we find little interest. But you are selfsufficient you just began filming, you are amazing! An inspiration.

Scotty
San Diego
rbickel@nunic.nu.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,
Thank you so much for showing Ross McElwee's beautiful and timely documentary. I knew I wanted to see this after I read Howard Rosenberg's recommendation of it in the LA Times. But I had no idea I would watch such a touching and insightful film. I hope to see a lot more from Ross McElwee. In a world where life is made more and more into a spectacle every day by the media and its obedient human subjects, it's revitalizing to view such a personal perspective on reality and what is real.

lisa freeman

Dear FRONTLINE,
In an age of snippits and soundbites, it was refreshing to view a program about--among other things--snippits and soundsbites. For once someone dared to spend an hour and a half asking big questions about our image-crazed world.

What is reality? Come to think of it, what is image? Are we in control of our own lives? Is God in control of the universe? Is everything random? Is everything pre-ordained? If it's a mixture, which is what? How can we cope with the apparently random violence we see on the Six O'clock News? How can we protect our children?

Thanks, Ross, for making me think about these fundamental questions. As soon as I come up with the answers, I'll let you know.

Bill Carlson.
Chico, CA
wkcarlson@msn.com

P.S. Don't hold your breath for my reply.

Dear FRONTLINE,
Dear Ross
I came upon your documentary while channel surfing. I became interested because you voice and delivery sounded very much like an old friend of mine. Anyways I really enjoyed your "slice of Life" style of film. I also became interested because I too have become sort of a newsaholic. I am increasingly finding myself yelling in discust or disbelief at the TV set (not just the news). Anyway the information age has made it possible for me to vent from my computer. I got a huge laugh at your childs rendition which you thought looked like a camera! :) You have also inspired me to finally buy a video camera and do a couple of projects I've been wanting to do; including interviewing my dad about his life (Retired 27 years on the L.A.P.D) Good luck to you.

Sincerely,
Matt Magiera

Dear FRONTLINE,
I found the Six O'Clock News quite compelling as well as revealing, it touch a sensitive side of mankind in that it was an attempt to answer that question we've all asked ourselves at one time or another, "Who Are We And Why Are We Here?"

The Korean gentleman interviewed was of the most interest to me, his wealth could not overcome his tragedy and thus his faith in God is wavering. My biggest concern is there are more people who openly profess their faith in God but it is my belief they question the idea that there is a God. With all the horrors that surround us many of Americans conclude there can be no God or God has turned his back on us, both perceptions are incorrect. It is we who have turned our back on God, certainly too many of us have made money our God, human pride is what we worship today. We even make celebrities out of criminals, inviting them on to talk shows, paying large sums of money to them for book and/or movie rights. America has lost it's way and it would appear that morality has died in these United States.

Leo French
Modesto, California

Dear FRONTLINE,
I am a regular PBS watcher, but rarely see Frontline. Not knowing what was on, I started observing the Six O'Clock News documentary and soon became engrossed. It was one of the better programs I have seen, but I think part of it has to do with a personal involvement in tragedies that he filmed. I live 3 miles from the epicenter of the Northridege earth- quake, but had little damage. Then 5 months ago we tragic- ally lost our daughter-in-law in an auto accident in Brazil. My son had been marrried only a year and of course we were all devastated. People turn to religion or faith (even to work) for solace, and my son is now in a Yeshiva in New York, until this fall, when he will probably go back to graduate school in Princeton, where he was to have started last October. Seeing the stories of tragedy and how each person deals with this in his or her own way, yet all strangely similar, was quite interesting to me. For me, the "bottom line" is that all of these tragedies were "abnormal" and that every one always seeks to get back to "normal". The longer it took for us to get our house back to normal, the more uncomfortable we were and when my son is back on the course of continuing his schooling his discomfort will lessen. My best therapy was getting back to work as an M.D. and helping people, so they could get back to normal. Thank you for an enjoyable program and I hope you can con- tinue with many more.

Jerome Hamburger
as361@lafn.org

Dear FRONTLINE,
Thank you for airing such an original and thought-provoking piece. I appreciate PBS for airing such an artist as McElwee. His courage lies not in asking the questions he asks (we all are drawn to them), but in doing so in public in a most thought provoking way and admitting that he does not have the answers.

Matt Kennedy
San Diego, CA
mkenned2@mail.gcccd.cc.ca

Dear FRONTLINE,
It reminded me of my obsession with news around the time of the L.A. earthquake, and my wrestling with the "whys" of things that have been on my mind since childhood. McElwee gave me no answers, but did so in a gentle way--one that makes me want to find all his past works and look for future ones with anticipation. Keep up his funding!

kai wyrill
san diego ca
kai-wyrill@usa.net

Dear FRONTLINE,
"Six O'clock News" was magnificent. A drink of cool, real water, in a sensationalistic desert. Ross McElwee has outdone himself. There is such a hunger in the world for a balanced perspective of our communal life, and television has actually raced at breakneck speed away from any connection with reality. Ross's film making flies in the face of every corporate attempt to disconnect us from our own lives, and for that I am grateful.

Tom

Dear FRONTLINE,
What pointless pap! Utter banality! For this immature drivel and pseudointellectual musing, viewers are subjected to hours of pledge pleading. I have supported PBS for some thiry years, but have just about had it!

Charles Hagen
Portland, OR
b24lib@teleport.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
Saw the program, "Six O'Clock News" tonight. Screwed up my plans for the evening. I just happened on it after the first 20 min had passed and found it interesting, timely, creative, unusual, thought- provoking and just put aside what I had planned to do and experienced it "thorough the inner man." Thanks for this sort of programming. I don't watch TV very often--do more reading. But this particular program was a "jewel." Thanks again for QUALITY PROGRAMMING.

WL

Dear FRONTLINE,
Ross, Your Sherman film has never left my brain. Nor has the image of dumping that man's ashes out into the wind. But you know what? You are a coward. In some way, all of your films are about "How could god allow this to happen", and you are satisfied with only exposing people's machinations about their gods. My stomach turned, when Salvador, who was horribly maimed, reported that his belif in god is STRONGER BECAUSE of the maiming. Je-sus Christ!! You never expose people for what idiots they are for having religion. You just mumble uhuh, uhuh. am tired of it; you are too damn kind. You could do better.

--Harald Illig
hh@nowscape.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
I just saw Ross McElwee's "6 O'Clock News". I have also seen Sherman's March and I think this newest one is a lot better in terms of a consistent delivery of a theme. I love documentaries and I think Ross' work is excellent. Please continue to show his stuff.

Mark Fisher
Ann Arbor, MI
fish747@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
I've seen Sherman's March and Time Indefinite, and while I don't think this was as good as the other two, it's also a very different sort of film. It sort of continually doubles in on itself, on filmmaking and the filmmaking process, on news and filming it. It's not just Ross McElwee is ego-centric (at least somebody's introspective today) it's that today filmmaking and the media are.

It should also be said that this one made it's point fairly immediately. The other two films stuck with you a while, you had to be able to walk away and realize you missed the film- maker and his subjects, on a personal level. This was less about McElwee's personal love, more about trying to understand others'. This is probably the sort of film that will inspire a couple of doctorate projects, but not a lot of self-evaluation..

Also, it wasn't quite as funny as the other ones. That's important: I think levity is one way to get away with doing just about anything. He didn't really try that here, except in Hollywood. But if you can't laugh there...

Anyway, thanks very much for showing me this film. I absolutely flipped when I saw it would be on, and when I was watching it, I remembered how his films insinuate their way into your subconscious. I was happy to see his family and friends, especially to see that Charleen was doing all right. It's a strange notion to care about real people through movies, but I'm glad somebody like Ross McElwee invites us to do so. Maybe it redeems something in us. "Rescue 911", perhaps.

Bryan Christian
Austin, TX
sparky@mail.utexas.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,
I was both intregued and fascinated by McElwee's Six O'Clock News. The perseverance of McElwee's electronic eye venturing beyond the split second bite realm of mainstream media has revealed a far more ambiguous, yet more human, reality.

Moreover, McElwee's ambiguous world exposes some of the ideosyncracies of the newscast's highly stylistic emphasis upon the exhaustively edited and re-edited faces of tragedy, disaster and pain. Ironically though, despite his -infered- distance from the Holywoodian models and typologies of reality, McElwee's documentary reveals similar concerns and the perenial longing for a rational, safe, predictable ordering of reality.

In the end, McElwee's electronic perspective further iluminates not only some of the shortfalls and nearsitedness of our preception, as molded by mass media, but ultimately, and most crucially, how versatile and tough human will can be, no matter how chaotic life seems to have become all around us. Wee need more of this great work on PBS---where else could I expect to watch such original and enlightening masterpieces?!

Charlottesville, Va

Dear FRONTLINE,
I have never seen Ross' work before this film. In fact, I don't watch much TV (though Frontline is a favorite when I get a chance to see it). "Six O'clock News" was wonderful in its sublime simplicity. There's something comforting in Ross' narration--both his voice and message in conjunction with camera angle, etc. I'm not much for documentaries; but Ross' work is excellent. I found myself held like a magnet to his film piece. I t was as though I was witnessing an antithesis to all the fakery we are all bombarded with on the tube these days. How vain a society that has to stage, practice, primp and pose, via camera, its own horrible inadequacies and personal misfortune. Bravo, Ross! Your honesty shines brilliant!

tom flowers
jacksonville, florida
zardoz@bellsouth.net

Dear FRONTLINE,
I'm still trying to figure out what I thought of this film. At first, I was tempted to turn it off. But after the film introduced the Korean gentleman, Steve, I found it strangely captivating. I guess the film just did a good job showing real people as they are, without scripts and special effects.

T Britt
Atlanta, GA
flitterbic@mindspring.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
Thank you for shedding some light on the chasm between the "news" and reality. It's a bit like trying to film the sun: the only way we can look at it is in total eclipse - where we focus on spectacular flares.

I, too, worry that children's view of reality not be distorted by this totally eclipsed version: ("And that's the way it was ...": Walter Cronkite)

They (and we?) should be outside enjoying the sun - not watching the news!

Graham Raynolds
Hadlyme, CT
grahamr@connix.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
I have not seen any of his films before, but I deeply enjoyed Six O'Clock News. It seemed to raise so many of the same questions I ask myself about life. I felt an immediate connection to McElwee and would like to view more of his films. I often brood about the random nature of life, and have seldom seen it addressed so well.

Molly Adams

Dear FRONTLINE,
" Six O'Clock News" is an excellent documentary on aspects of American life that many people do not witness directly but through the lenses of a camera. Sitting on our comfortable couches at home, it is easy to accept that what we see on the news is normal, distant and unaffecting. This documentary has raised important questions pertaining to the violence in America and how it is projected to the public through news. Especially important is violent t.v.'s impact on the fragile "sponge-like" minds of America's children. I feel empathetic towards the people viewed in the " Six O'Clock News" documentary because of the personal way it was presented, unlike a quick, lightning-strike shot of violence splattered across the screen. Is this what Americans want to see? Is this how we want other countries to percieve us? Is this what we want our children to view? Is this the society we want to raise our children in? I do not think so.

Luke McCartney
Oneonta, New York
mccalj68@snyoneva.cc.oneonta.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,
Hi. I am also, like everyone in your 6 o clock documentary, someone who works in film and television. I am a gaffer and Key Grip. I used to live in Los Angeles but I have lucked out and escaped from that place to live in Montana. I grew up here so it is no surprise that I wished to come back. I now have a Film Production Equipment Rental Company in Bozeman and I am able to continue working on film projects and keep the quality of life I am so fond of. National commercials seem to be what I do most now. The places in which I feel your documentary had its biggest impact on me were the behind the scenes set ups by television camera crews and how distortions seem to creep into the truth while trying to get that "sound bite". Although I have witnessed this many times in person, coming from your camera from beginning to end seeing setups, story, and reaction of all involved gave me a strange uneasiness of how several cameras can see the same event and yet they seem to tell different stories. I certainly felt somewhat humbled and question my occupation when I saw that pathetic bunch of film makers on the beach. I am one of those guys. Probably one of them holding up the griffloyn bounce. Seems so ridiculous when viewed through your real life documentary camera. Lastly I would like the address or somehow I could contribute to help your El Salvadorian friend. Too often America forgets the quiet decent people, and we remember the loud sensationalized people we should really forget.

Thank you,
J.P.

(ps think about that Hollywood job... you directing something that comes so natural when its real vs someones monologue brought to life...can you be true to what your art is and manipulate everything...can you come back and not try to manipulate real life?)

J.P. Gabriel
Bozeman, MT
jypper@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
I'm on the frontlines, so to speak, a reporter for the ABC affiliate in Seattle. I work nights on the six o'clock news chasing down grieving families, standing in front of the police tape, getting the door slammed on me after someone has just spit on us. I did my best to hold back form fast-forwarding through a tape of "The Six O'clock News" and here's why.

Ross did nothing new to follow-up on the casualities of a broadcast. What he pulled out of his interviews is nothing that a reporter on deadline could do in a day. He had the luxury of taking several days. His documentary was meandering and wandering flow of consciousness with no point. All of us wonder if our children should a fear the world as it's portrayed on the six o'clock news. The world is not as it is on the six o'clock news. Anyone who has worked in news of any form knows the majority of stories broadcast and or written are about the minority, the odd and shocking occurance.

No doubt Ross has a unique voyeristic style toward filming his subjects. I do enjoy the first person approach. Reporters should be allowed some liberties like this from time to time. But his documentary didn't enlightened anyone other than to show off his own fears. Do real follows-up to the six o'clock news. There are people that have been crucified for the sake of a glitsy minute and half story. Then they are left to wallow in humilation, embarrasment and often emotional ruin. I should know. I've done those stories. Just once I would like to show the public what really happens to someone after their on the six o'clock news. What a show that would be.

Matt Markovich
Seattle Wa.
MMarkovich@prostar.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
Ross McElwee's new film, "6:00 News," is the best thing I've seen on PBS for quite a while. Although it is not McElwee's best film, it is still outstanding. I hope you will continue to produce and broadcast work like this. I am a Professor of English at UCLA, where I frequently teach a film and literature class on "The Truth in Cinema: Documentary Film and Fiction." I've taught "Sherman's March" and would teach other films by McElwee. Indeed, they are themselves more meditations on the problematic nature of documentary than merely "examples" of the genre. Such intense degrees of self-reflection can be rather painful and often may seem solipsistic, but I think that McElwee's films are as fine a reflection on these issues as any writing that I have seen on the topic.

Thanks again for sponsoring such fine work!

Sincerely,
Kenneth Reinhard
Associate Professor of English
UCLA

Dear FRONTLINE,
I enjoyed your movie alot. i am a film/t.v. production student. My first script (which is not finished) is a autobiograghical documentary. Your documentary gives me hope. There is nothing like having the camera see what one sees and wanting to share it with the world, as entertainment or as a learning device. i can't believe some people in government want to do away with national endowments that fund mostly the productions of programs in public television. keep on with the good work!

p.s. you too Frontline!

frida g. corpeno
los angeles, ca
fstrlla@lib-www.ucr.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,
After watching two of Ross McEllwee's documentaries on PBS, I have to express my bewilderment about how this guy keeps getting funding. Ken Burns is a documentary film maker; McElween is a self-absorbed slacker with some vastly overrated idea of the general public's facination with his dull and rambling life and inchoate philosophy. He has no chemistry with his interview subjects, shows no insight on the human condition, and doesn't seem to have a clue that a film needs more of a narrative premise than "I think I'll get in my car and drive and stay in a bunch of motels and watch T.V."

Many other young film makers could use the same money and come up with much more worthwhile efforts, and the viewing public certainly would welcome someone with more talent than Ross McElwee seems to possess.

Sincerely
Sinclair Beckham
Palo Alto, Calif
hf.srb@forsythe.stanford.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,
"Six O'Clock News" was touching and thought provoking. It's one of the best documentaries I've seen in quite awhile. I've read through a number of the comments that have been left by other viewers. Like a number of them, I too was busy and thought I'd turn on the television for a few moments.The next thing I knew, I was entranced by this program. I think he touched a common core; essential questions...things that we've probably all thought when watching the news. "What happened to that person?" "How did he/she endure this tragedy?" and "What is this inner strength so many people have?" Another scene in the film showed three different news crews interviewing and filming the same person; one that he had also filmed. Then he questioned which of the stories were reality. I disagree with the viewer who wrote that this film did not give him something to think about, on the contrary, I'll be mulling these thoughts and scenes for a long time.

Evelyn Delgado
San Jose, CA
razalas@ix.netcom.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
This show was great! It is really uplifting to see some quality film making that is not clouded by "the bottom line". If there was a more honest approach to life in the media, it would shatter the romantic image of the world that corporate media is force-feeding the country. Thank you for displaying an independent view on life.

PunkDoss
San Pedro, CA
PunkDoss@AOL.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
I really like Frontline, but after a half an hour of watching the "Six O'Clock News, I had enough. Why watch another TV show that reminds us of our violent world. This is certainly not entertaining, and it is not an education I need. I found that what I did watch was very haunting. The quality of the film was very well done, the content, not to mysensesibilites.

Sheryl Tedford
Northfield, NH 03276
sheept@lr.net

Dear FRONTLINE,
I had the opportunity to see "Six O'clock News" this week on Frontline, and I throughly enjoyed it. As I watched the film I was struck by a nubmber of its subtlities.

I don't think most people realize how much of a risk it is for filmakers such as yourself to walk around, "...with a camera on your eye..." The fact is many people get very freaked out when they see other people filming them. This point was illustrated by the "puffed up Baywatch cop" that you showed on the beach. I'm glad that you pointed out that "Baywatch" has a estimated viewing audience of 1.4 billion worldwide, because it is so ironic that so many will see a show like this, while considerably fewer will see shows like "Sherman's March" or "Six O'Clock news. Long live PBS! Keep up the great work!

Stephen Cronin

Long Beach, CA.

Cro30@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
I taped "The Six-o'clock News" and watched it last night. I really enjoyed your view on the world. I find the commercial news, local and national, extremely poor: entertainment, not information.

I enjoyed your view point on the world, the autobiographical form. Nice editing and shots (I'm a still-photographer: you get some very nice "still" shots.)

I like the fact that you finished the film while you still had questions about the subject. You didn't feel the need to TELL us the RIGHT way to think about the news.

Your rolling shot of the boys eating the icecream in Salvador Pena's neighborhood was great: the smoothness, intimacy, and composition, as you walked along: great.

I have known the "real" facts of several local and national news stories. To my chagrin, the news cast has, EVERY TIME, gotten it factually wrong. So, now, I go with Lou Reed, "Don't believe half of what you see; and none of what you hear ..."

Thanks for a great film.

Seattle, WA

Dear FRONTLINE,
I am a regular Frontline viewer. I had not heard of Mr. McElwee or his work before this week, and I was uncertain about the topic of "Six O'Clock News" based on what my local newspaper description said. I very much enjoyed this film and my hat goes off to Frontline and PBS for bringing it to television. I was most struck by the scenes that included the filming of broadcast news segments and how fake and staged they appeared. I don't think I'll ever watch the evening news again without wondering what the crew did to set up the scene. What makes Mr. McElwee's images so "real" is the feeling that you are there when the action is taking place and are not seeing it replayed when it is convenient for the camera crew or news desk.

Also, as the mother of two young children, I found the scene with his son describing his painting of God to be priceless!

Thank you.
Elaine Rea
Beaverton, OR

Dear FRONTLINE,
The Six O'clock News was art by a very unselfish and caring artist. I often wonder about persons SEEN on the news but never heard of again. Victims of tragedies and disasters are shown but the viewer is not given a way to access these victims so as to provide some manner comfort or financial aid. Here we have an artist with great enough compassion to pursue a Christian ethic few of us practice. I find the crticisms leveled by the media to overlook this unusual and valuable artist. I thank Frontline and PBS for all their many valuable contributions to the intellectual legacy of our times.

Nelson Medina
Tampa, Fl
NelsonM154@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
Ross McElwee's film carries a fantastic message: while television news may be true, it is not Truth. But we must remember that all communication is limited by its method of delivery, its format, and the storyteller. The interaction of lack of interaction between these elements can create art or trash. Neither films, nor talk-shows, nor even the 6 o'clock news can capture reality. We must remember not to search for reality in these things. They represent the "unreal:" the extreme opinion, happening, or thought. Reality is rooted in the mundane, average, and basic. McElwee's camera celebrates more basic moments than are usually found on the evening news, but his film is too good to be Real.

Dana Willett

Dear FRONTLINE,
what was the point of this documentary. once again ross mcelwee has shot himeself in his self-indulgent foot. charlene is getting boring. why does the documentarian suppose that we are interested in his four year old son or his epiphanies in los angeles. mcelwee has now formalized and formulated his style. what was once original and possibly entertaining is now a colossal bore. when will mcelwee grow up?

irene goodman

Dear FRONTLINE,
Thank you for airing tonight's "6:00 News" Documentary. We wish the" real" news could be so delicately and compassionately covered. My husband and I were in awe of the balance, love, integrety, space, and silence of your observations. Truly, a sense of Godliness emanates in your film. Many blessings to you in your continued fulfillment of your life's work. You are making a valuable contribution to the world. Perhaps our only true purpose is to give to others as we deal with the blows of evil and tragedy that strike all of us at one time or another. Sadly, the news tends to deal with the sensationalism and noise of trauma. Your approach which deals with the story behind the story behind the story and the quiet and silence of life is truly remarkable. Your gift of observation is tremendously appreciated in our home.

Sincerely,
Susan and Bryan Cetlin

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