A Year Towards Tomorrow (1966)

16 Mar
Director Edmund A. Levy
Producer Edmund A. Levy
Contributors Sundial Films Inc., The Office of Economic Opportunity
Length  25 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description: Follows Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) on their one year assignments. Two women go to a Navajo reservation in Arizona, while a man goes to a poor district of Atlanta, Georgia.
Call # FILM MC154
Genre  Feature
Rare  No
Online  Yes
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition  Poor
Oregon-related  No


This film is commonly referred to as a documentary, but is actually a re-enactment of true events after their conclusion, although the characters are portrayed by the original VISTA volunteers themselves. The VISTA organization is a national service program specifically aimed at fighting poverty. Vista members commit to one-year assignments in poor communities around the country.

The film follows three volunteers as they settle into the communities they’ve been assigned to. Two women go to Lukachukai, Arizona to join a Navajo reservation. There they attempt to teach the residents how to speak English, sow clothing, and to make the best use of their government-issue food provisions. Meanwhile, a young man arrives in a poor African-American district of Atlanta, Georgia. There his goal is to start a tenant union and also to assist in the education of the neighborhood youth, some of whom rarely set foot in school.  Many of the residents are resilient to the program, and the volunteers must use compassion and wit before they can even begin to help their charges.

Of particular note is the dry narrative delivered by Academy award winner and entrepreneur Paul Newman.

This film won an Oscar for best documentary short at the 39th Academy Awards Ceremony in 1967.

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