Presenters visit UNF to introduce combined ideas of fear and voting


Presenters visit UNF to introduce combined ideas of fear and voting

Filmmaker Greg Bennick and social psychologist Sheldon Solomon will be speaking at UNF on “Terror at the Voting Booth” at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Robinson Theater.

Bennick will be showcasing his film, “Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality,” a documentary about the psychological human conflicts with death and how it can affect one’s decision making.

The discussion will focus particularly on the harms that arise from reminders of death, which can shape one’s views in the political realm and perhaps manipulates the way one decides to vote, Bennick said.

The film, which has been awarded seven times as the best documentary at film festivals such as Silver Lake and Beverly Hills, features Solomon – and many other scholars – speaking on the topic of death and its impact on human behavior. It has been said to be extremely moving and thought-provoking as well as being the first film to investigate death in such a manner.

The way humans cope with the thought of death is inherent in past and present culture and is examined throughout the film. Multiple years in the making, it takes viewers to locations all across the world from Egypt and Israel to Greece and China.

Bennick, a Seattle, Wa. native, has been in the film business since 1995.

Apart from being a filmmaker, one of Bennick’s most admirable titles is being the co-founder of The World Leader’s Project, he said. The organization is an effort to discuss the concerns associated with the psychology of human violence with leaders across the world.

He also directs the Web site, which devotes itself to changing social constructs.

Joining Bennick, Solomon is a psychology professor at Skidmore College in New York. He developed the Terror Management Theory, which deals with how humans manage the thought of their own mortality.

Solomon discusses this phenomenon in Bennick’s film.

Solomon has authored or co-authored more than 100 books, been featured in many films and has been involved in numerous radio and TV interviews.

The Spinnaker asked Bennick a few questions:

How did you get started with this film documentary?
“Patrick Shen and I sat down to do an interview, and we laughed so much … Then we decided to do the film together.”

What is the film about?
“It’s about the human fear of death on a subconscious level, specifically in regards to violence.”

What kind of things will you be discussing at the presentation?
“We’ll be showing the film, and Sheldon and I will be talking about the fear of death and terrorism and how it influences voting patterns.”

How long did you work on the film?
“Patrick and I worked for about four years.”

What kind of places were you able to visit in making this film?
“All over the world. Egypt, South America, North America, Asia, Europe, all over.”

Is there anything you would like to let the public know in attending the presentation?
“They should come if they would like to know about voting patterns and how the election can be influenced and swayed by introducing the idea of fear.”