Cops in Schools: NW Film Center Cuts “Kindergarten Cop”

NW Film Center opted to show an additional screening last night of Good Trouble, a new documentary honoring the late John Lewis, instead of the originally planned Kindergarten Cop. In an article by Willamette Week, NWFC cites discussions with “staff and community members” as the catalyst for the decision.    

The heaviest blow came this past Saturday, when Lois Leveen, a Portland based author who has been featured in The New York Times and The Atlantic, expressed her dissatisfaction with NWFC for beginning its drive-in series with “Kindergarten Cop” in a post on Twitter. She then followed up with a message sent to Willamette Week providing basis for her position.   

Leveen writes “It’s true Kindergarten Cop is only a movie. So are Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, but we recognize films like those are not ‘good family fun.’ They are relics of how pop culture feeds racist assumptions.” She continued, “Because despite what the movie shows, in reality schools don’t transform cops. Cops transform schools and in an extremely detrimental way.”   

Amid current calls for police reform and the heightened presence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, discussions about “copaganda” in entertainment are reaching an all-time high, forcing many films to face tough scrutiny.  Many are also calling for the elevation of films which celebrate a broader diversity of actors and subjects.    

The Cinema Unbound Drive-In is part of NWFC’s plans for continuing to provide movie screenings to the public while also respecting the safety measures necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.   

A spokesperson for the organization relayed to Willamette Week that NWFC did not just consider Leveen’s comments but also those of others, including Black community members who expressed concerns and requested the organization open the series with a different movie.  

A screening of “Good Trouble” had already sold out for Friday, Aug. 7. For more information about this story, visit the original article. If you’re interested in attending a movie, visit the NW Film Center Website.  

By Kyra Blank