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Table of Contents:

Log Line
About the Film
Director’s Notes
Vic Losick’s Bio

Log Line:
“In God We Teach” is the story of Matthew LaClair, a student at
Kearny (NJ) public high school who secretly recorded his history
teacher, David Paszkiewicz in class, and accused him of
proselytizing for Jesus.

While most Americans claim to understand the concept of
“separation of church and state,” few are sure of what is actually
legal, and what is not when it comes to the public school classroom. And the misunderstandings continue… Isn’t America a Christian state founded on Judeo-Christian values, a single nation indivisible under God and whose currency stipulates that in God we trust? “In God We Teach” explores the blurred lines between personal belief, religious dogma and civil law through the eyes of an average, bluecollar American town within sight of downtown New York.

About the Film:
“He (Jesus) did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.”

After approaching the local school board for redress and receiving none LaClair took his secret recordings to the media. When the recordings were made public, the story exploded, and engulfing not just Kearny, but citizens across America.

Paszkiewicz, defending himself in a letter to the local newspaper
claimed that he was just exercising academic freedom, and
expressing his opinions in response to students’ questions (questions he claimed that were asked primarily by LaClair.) In addition, he cited several Founding Fathers’ quotations as justification for his own statements. Otherwise he remained silent…that is, until his appearance here, in this feature-length documentary, “In God We Teach.”

LaClair, on the other hand, became a media and First Amendment darling; giving many interviews and receiving multiple awards, while receiving a less-than-enthusiastic reception from his fellow students and citizens, including a death threat. It was clear that the residents of Kearny seemed to support Paszkiewicz regardless of whether he “crossed the line” or not.

Director’s Notes:
When I first visited with the LaClair family and listened to Matthew’s secretly made recordings I thought that his history teacher, David Pazkiewicz had indeed “crossed the line,” and therefore I was not interested in pursuing the story. I was then shown Pazkiewicz’ recently-published letter in the local Kearny newspaper. In it Pazkiewicz stood his ground and felt that he had not “crossed any line.” Now this defense I thought had the makings for an engaging documentary.

As the viewer soon discovers I am not a lawyer, theologian,
historian, or philosopher, but that I am simply a documentary
filmmaker; so my approach to this material is solely from the
perspective of a layman. And as the product of the New Jersey
public school system myself (K through Rutgers) the Kearny HS
story has a special resonance.

While Matthew & his family soon agreed to participate in my new
endeavor, David was extremely reluctant. Over the next several
months David & I had many conversations in which I made my case promising an even-handed exploration of these “church & state” issues. I stressed that I would go right down the middle and attempt to present all of David’s major arguments as well as Matthew’s. David took a leap of faith and trusted me, and I have carried the responsibility of those pledges at every step of this production. I believe I have lived up to them.

The dispute between Matthew LaClair & David Paszkiewicz also
incorporated the town of Kearny itself, which in a way, became the third “character” in the film. As with most other small American
towns Kearny felt uncomfortable with all the press attention, and its residents were reluctant to even speak with “outsiders.”

By focusing closely on specific events in Kearny, the larger, national implications for America are better illuminated. I soon realized that sometimes the big story can best be understood when it has a human face and a local setting.

Vic Losick’s Bio:
My formative years were spent in New Jersey, and I'm a product of New Jersey public schools (K-Rutgers). With several of my high school classmates I made my first two films; "The Tower of Dracula" and "Al Capone." After graduating from college I took a job as a tour manager taking American tourists around Western Europe for Globus Tours of Lugano, Switzerland. In between tourist seasons I lived in Rome.

It was a fortuitous time to be there; Italian cinema was at the height of its popularity and I managed to see many films, refining my language skills and falling in love with cinema. Returning to the States after 2 years abroad I turned my growing interest in film from an avocation into a career. In the late 1960's cinema verite documentaries were flourishing in New York. After driving a taxi for a brief stint I was able to land work with Bill Jersey, and then the Maysles, and later with Robert Drew, among others.

It was all 16mm color reversal film at the time and I learned “on-the-job:” assistant cameraman, soundman, assistant editor, editor, and cameraman. Along the way I was making small films,
producing, directing, shooting & editing by myself. Like many of my contemporaries, my social and political perspectives were deeply affected by the times, and my films have strived to adhere to a philosophy of social responsibility. In fact, my very first production was a 30-second PSA titled "A Tree" for Friends of Central Park.

I then started shooting many segments for "60 Minutes." I also
produced a piece on bank robberies featuring Willie Sutton, with
Mike Wallace as the correspondent. I continued shooting, editing
and producing for a variety of networks & corporations traveling
across the United States as well as shooting many films abroad.

In the last few years I have shot several long-form documentaries, 2 American Masters for PBS; "Ella Fitzgerald, Something to Live For" and "Clint Eastwood, Out of the Shadows," an independent feature documentary "Pie in the Sky", and a one-hour show for Scorsese's Blues series, "Piano Blues," directed by Clint Eastwood.

What has probably been my most rewarding work experience has been shooting (and producing with director Mirra Bank) another independent feature documentary, "Last Dance." The film which features Maurice Sendak & The Pilobolus Dance Theater combines cinema-verite with performance shooting. "Last Dance" received rave reviews across the country, including the New York Times; it was short-listed for an Oscar; and it was named by the Academy of Arts and Sciences as one of the Best Documentaries of 2002-03.

Produced, Directed & Written by
Vic Losick
Associate Producer
Rebecca Losick
Director of Photography
Joia Speciale
Principal Photography
Nadia Hallgren
Ron Kienhuis
Jonathan Lees
Zach Levy
Carlos Martillo
Vic Losick
Paul Colin
Location Sound Recordists
Bob Bryan
Larry Loewinger, Soho Audio
Sound Design
Bill Markle
Graphic & Visual Design
Paul Colin, Cezanne Studios
Tom Cohen
Production Associate
Bob Brooks
Production Assistants
Alyssa Lopez Clements
Alana Serignese
Additional Photography
Arthur Brown
Peter Hawkins
Additional Audio Services
Eric Hoffman
Special Thanks
The LaClair Family
The Paszkiewicz Family
Judy Aley
Maxwell Anderson
Mirra Bank
Nell Cox
Axuve Espinosa
Michael Levine
Zach Levy
George Malko
Toby Rafelson
Bianca Bezdek-Goodloe
Patricia Dima, Dima & Company, P.C.
Robert Davidson, Sight & Sound Insurance, Inc.
Web Master
Alex Irizarry
Transcription Services (Not In Film Credits)
Linda DiCamillo, Just Your Type Service
Alex Irizarry
Damian Harris-Hernandez
Yael Bridge
Word Wizards
Albertino Ammaro
Israel Awdren
Derek Araujo
Henry Atwell
Marc Baron
James Bogucheski
Nicolas Calzada
Jose Cespedes
James Corbett
Ian Costello
Peter Coyote
Ryan Davis
Richard Dawkins
Charles Debrovner
Jim Demonic
Alan Dershowitz
Emmeline De Sousa
Arnel Dowret
Chad Farnan
Karen Ferrara
Camila Ferreira
Claudia Forester
Robert Fried
Rosemarie Hassan
Jose Jordan
Roberto Jordan
Doug Kalagian
Barbara Krasner
Paul Kurtz
Ricardo La Motta
Diana Lazo
Lorenzo Lazo
Brian Lehrer
Andressa Leite
Nick Lento
Andrew Lewczuk
Barbara Lipton
Andrew Lynch
Barry Lynn
Richard Mancino
Frank McCallister
Kenneth Miller
Jennifer Monk
Neil Murphy
Boe Myerson
Jock Nesbit
Martin O’Shea
John Pinho
Georgia Purdom
Barry Seidman
Don Shorock
Brian Shriver
Sandro Soares
Geremy Spampinato
Amy Squires
Sharon Stanley
Demetrios Stratis
Paul Surovell
Matthew Swiatkowski
Edward Tabash
Robert Trestan
Robert Tyler
Neil deGrasse Tyson
John Whitehead
Advocates for Faith & Freedom
Alpha & Omega Christian Club
Anti-Defamation League
Argyle Restaurant
G & T Subs
Center for Inquiry
Creation Museum
Ethical Culture Society of
Essex County, NJ
Kearny Baptist Church
Kearny Irish-American Club
Kearny Portuguese Cultural Association
The Long Island Ethical
Humanist Society
Montclair Studio Players
Thomas Jefferson Foundation
New Jersey Civil Liberties Union
New York Society
for Ethical Culture
New York University
OnLocation Tours, Inc.
Schuyler Taxi
Trinity Episcopal Church
Archival Footage
Americans United for Separation of Church & State
cw11 TV
Fox News Channel
News 12 New Jersey
“Yankee Doodle Dandy”
Performed by New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
“Battle Hymn of the Republic”
Written by Julia Ward Howe
Performed by New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
"Woke Up”
Written by Rob Spragg
Performed by Alabama 3
Hal Leonard Corporation Publishing
Written by: Alan Evans
Performed by Soulive
BMG Publishing
“Pomp & Circumstance”
Written by Sir Edward Elgar
Performed by KHS Band
Written by John Lennon
Performed by John Lennon
Capitol Publishing
“God Bless America”
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Kate Smith
Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC
Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Dedicated to
Alfred Kane
McKay Elementary School, Tenafly, NJ
Thomas Kernan, Jr.
Tenafly Jr. High School
Horatio E. Wirtz
Tenafly High School
Dr. Joseph Laggini
Rutgers University
In Memorium
Joanna Cole Giffard
© MMXI Vic Losick, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

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© 2011 Vic Losick, Inc.
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