* INDEPENDENT LENS: LET THE FIRE BURN. 10 tonight, WHYY12
JASON OSDER was a fifth-grader living just outside Philadelphia on May 13, 1985, the day police firebombed the MOVE house on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia, igniting a fire in which 11 people, including five children, died, and the surrounding neighborhood was destroyed.
He never forgot.
Now an assistant professor at George Washington University, Osder's first documentary, "Let the Fire Burn," winner of the best local feature award at last year's Philadelphia Film Festival, makes its TV debut tonight on PBS' "Independent Lens."
It's a remarkably evenhanded telling of a story in which there could be no winners, using archival footage alone. Included is an early, poignant interview with one of the two survivors, Michael Moses Ward, the boy once known as Birdie Africa (who drowned in an accident last year during a cruise), as well as an account of the 1978 raid on the group in which Philadelphia Police Officer James Ramp was killed, setting the stage for the 1985 confrontation.