'American History X' producer attends Malatya International Film Festival in Turkey

Hollywood producer John Morrissey said Wednesday that racism is still a big problem in the U.S.

Morrissey, who produced the 1998 Oscar-nominated American History X, arrived in Turkey’s eastern Malatya province to attend a film festival.

“By the end of the 20th century, when we made American History X, I thought we still have these problems and this movie needs to be made. Now, 20 years later, it is even worse and I want to re-release the movie,” he told Anadolu Agency.

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The film tells the story of a former neo-Nazi who is jailed for killing two black youths, and tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same path.

Morrissey said: “The subject of this movie is racism. The real heart of the movie is examining what creates hate, racial hate. [A] Child is born innocent. How is that [racism] developed?”

He added the subject was particularly important for him, because his mother worked for an African-American singer in the 1950s.

“The singer was African-American, she was black. This was in the 1950’s when racism was at its height,” Morrissey said, adding that he grew in a household headed by a black female.

He said that his mother and the singer were very friendly to each other and he did not know “such a thing as racism existed”.

It was only when he entered his teenage years, he added, he realized there are people who are prejudiced against African-American people, and since then he had been supporting movements against racism.

Sharing a childhood experience, he said he used to travel with his mother during concerts by the singer. On many occasions, hotels would not allow them to stay at their premises, and they had to be transferred to a separate hotel which allowed blacks.

“So that’s why the film is so meaningful to me and I was so passionate to make it.”

During the Malatya International Film Festival he met 12 scriptwriters and read their scripts.

“I’m very impressed by the screenplays I’ve seen. There are a couple of scripts here, they are spectacularly good. And none of them are bad.

“Some of the scripts here are in the very first draft. Some of the other scripts have already gone through several drafts. But all of them show potential and some of them have already realized that potential. So I think they are good.

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