The film ‘Bias,’ set for Park City screening, aims to teach viewers to look inward
December 4, 2018
Everybody has biases, says filmmaker Robin Hauser. The difference is whether people choose to recognize them or not.
That is the major theme of Hauser's new documentary called "Bias," which is scheduled to screen at the Jim Santy Auditorium on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. Park City Film and the Park City Community Foundation are hosting the screening and a panel discussion. The discussion is set to take place from 8:30 to 9 p.m., following the film.
Lauren Vitulli, the Women's Giving Fund's mentoring coordinator and co-organizer for the event, said she first heard about the film from the former Park City School District superintendent Ember Conley, who was interested in showing it in Park City because of its message about social equity. Vitulli met with Katie Wang, executive director of Park City Film, and the two got to work getting permission to show the film.
Vitulli and Wang then arranged for Hauser to attend the event as a panel member. Marco Barker, who is the associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at Westminster College, and Sadie Ortiz, a student at Park City High School, are expected to join Hauser on the panel. Meghan Zarnetske, an instructional coach and teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High, will moderate.
Hauser said she is excited to bring her film and its message to Park City.
When she started filming the documentary, she planned to speak with experts about unconscious bias and how it affects people in the workplace. Over time, it was inevitable that she learned about her own biases.
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"I learned that in order for me to be able to ask the audience to really look inward and consider what role unconscious bias plays in their life, that I had to be willing to expose my own biases," she said. She said she had some "shameful and surprising biases," which were difficult to come to terms with. But, she said, in order to beat prejudices such as racism, sexism and ageism, people need to be aware of their own biases. She wants people who attend the screening and panel discussion to reflect on the biases they have and how those biases might impact people around them.
"I hope that it sparks conversations," she said. "And I think that's the first step."
"Everyone has a bias or multiple biases and, when left unchecked, they can result in harmful behaviors or harmful actions or language," she said. "The more work we do on our own selves, the more loving of a human being, and thus a community, we can be."
She said the film is a good way to get people thinking and talking about the issue in the community. She was selected to be a mediator because of a training she has been leading in the Park City School District for teachers. Her training helps educators learn about their biases and how to make their classes more inclusive.
Hauser said she is glad Zarnetske is doing the work in the district to educate teachers, who hopefully will be able to educate their students as well. She said everyone — both youth and adults — can learn something from the film.
"If we can get our kids early on to realize that there might be some societal pressures that are influencing the way that they think about somebody or something, then maybe they will start questioning their gut," she said.
The event is free and open to the public.