Movie Based on UD Professor’s Book on PBS
“Rock and roll music, books about political freedom, and the Bible were all viewed by the Soviet Union as subversive,” says one of the people interviewed for a film airing on PBS stations around the nation this weekend. “And you know what? They were right.”
Based on a chapter from University of Dayton professor Larry Schweikart ‘s 2010 book 7 Events that Made America, America, the documentary shows how rock and roll music helped bring about the fall of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
The feature-length film debuted two years ago, UD says, but was picked up by PBS for distribution only this year. Stations began showing on Oct. 21, and it is scheduled for release on Netflix and Dish Network, as well as for sale in retail stores. It can be purchased now through the Rockin’ the Wall website.
“Rockin’ the Wall is told from the perspective of rock musicians who played on both sides of the Iron Curtain and from survivors of Communist regimes who recalled the lifeline that rock music provided,” says UD spokesperson Cameron Fullam. “Schweikart’s message is that behind the Iron Curtain, where the mere act of expressing one’s individuality constituted a potential act of revolution, music provided a unifying force and helped the anti-communist struggle gain ground.”
Artists featured in the film include Robby Krieger of The Doors, David Paich of Toto and Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets. Portions of the film were shot on the University of Dayton campus, at St. Paul’s Orthodox Church in Dayton and at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
After completing the film, Schweikert launched Rockin’ the Wall Motion Picture Studios in Dayton. Four films are currently in the works, with two in pre-production, including a sequel to Rockin’ the Wall and a thriller about a beautiful hit woman.
In addition to teaching full-time, Schweikert continues to write. Earlier this month he and co-writer Dave Dougherty released A Patriot’s History of the Modern World: From America’s Exceptional Ascent to the Atomic Bomb: 1898-1945. it’s the first of a two-volume work that is a follow up to Schweikart’s New York Times No. 1 best-seller A Patriot’s History of the United States.
“The book describes how American exceptionalism made the US a world power, and how the forces of progressivism have sought to undermine that power,” he says, describing the four elements of American exceptionalism as Christian religion, common law, private property rights, and a free market economy. “It really requires all four elements. Wherever we’ve tried to facilitate new democracies without all of these elements, we’ve seen some success, but it’s never been complete success.”
Rockin’ the Wall will air on more than 50 PBS stations in 17 states this fall. Currently no Cincinnati or Dayton stations are scheduled to play the documentary, which will air on Covington’s WCVN (Channel 54) on October 28 at 3:30 am and Indianapolis’s WFYI (Channel 20) on November 10 at 5 pm.