“We told the truth, we obeyed the law and we kept the peace,” said the late former Vice President Walter Mondale about the achievements of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. “Carterland” is a new documentary by Georgia filmmakers Jim and Will Pattiz challenges many assessments of the Carter administration. It also looks at Carter’s legacy on environmental preservation, race relations, and women’s rights. “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with the Pattiz brothers about the new documentary, which will be shown at the Atlanta Film Festival on May 1.
Why the Pattiz brothers believe Carter is a misunderstood president:
“This project really started as this exploration of the Carter presidency and this idea that Americans and particularly Georgians, because we grew up in Georgia with sort of a false impression of President Carter, don’t know that beyond the wonderful ex-president, he was actually a great president who was way out front on all the major issues that we’re confronting today. In this film, we wanted to examine his presidency, sort of reexamine in, and figure out what went wrong with it and why he wasn’t reelected,” said Jim Pattiz.
Will continued, “Growing up we were under the impression that Jimmy Carter was an amazing man, the best ex-president, but about his presidency, you hear words and adjectives like – failed, or ineffective. So growing up we really didn’t know much about his presidency and were never told good things about it. The film is in large part Jim and I’s discovery of this man and more importantly, his ideas.”
Carter’s work with environmental conservation:
“President Carter doubled the size of the National Park Service. He tripled the size of our wild and scenic river system. And I believe the stat is that he doubled the size, if not more than that for our Wilderness system,” said Will Pattiz. Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. This designated certain public lands in Alaska as property to the National Parks and it made 56 million acres as national monuments.
The film will be screened on May 1 at the Carter Presidential Center at 8:15 p.m. and it’s also available to stream online.