Matti Mattson, the 93-year-old veteran who fought with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, took the stage on Tuesday to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Stranger Than Fiction (pictured). The occasion was the 25th anniversary screening of THE GOOD FIGHT, co-presented by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives. Mattson praised the filmmakers for capturing the spirit of the times when over 3,000 American soldiers volunteered to fight against the fascist forces in Spain. The filmmaking trio of Noel Buckner, Mary Dore, and Sam Sills were joined by the film’s consulting historian David Paskin in a Q&A to discuss the making of the film. They noted that the film was among the last round of projects to be funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities under the administration of President Carter. It took over five years to complete and entailed over 100 interviews. Twenty-five years later that investment of energy is still paying dividends as a historical record. Among the STF audience were filmmakers who have previously presented their own work in the series including George Stoney, Ngawang Choephel, and David Leitner.
After the screening, Matti Mattson and the filmmakers braved the rain to join fans for drinks at the bar 99 Below, where a descendant of another Brigade fighter hushed everyone to raise a toast. (Photos courtesy of Joshua Z Weinstein)