Category Archives: Guest bloggers

Guest Blogger – Kasumi

Our guest blogger series continues with an insightful post by the filmmaker Kasumi.

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My work has always been about the ways individuals understand and react to the events in their lives because individuals are, it’s almost too simplistic to say, the component parts from which political movements are made. In BREAKDOWN, for example, I appropriated the vocabulary of propaganda to expose the ways political forces feed on individual weaknesses and fantasies to achieve their impersonal ends. SHOCKWAVES burrows even deeper into the individual psyche, but paradoxically finds deep within the individual precisely the same cultural iconography derived from the mass media as is used by the forces of political propaganda.

On the one hand, mine is a very sympathetic view of the individual, basically casting him as a victim of forces he isn’t even aware he’s subject to. But even more importantly, it’s a view that compels me to do what I do—I try to uncover and show the things that really do drive us and the other things that we allow to drive us. Fear of the unknown and childhood trauma are understandable human weaknesses, but until we are able to disconnect them from the violence they too often provoke, we’ll never escape them. I understand warmongers and wife-beaters, but I don’t excuse them.

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However, amidst the multi-layered messages in SHOCKWAVES, there’s a hidden thread, a call to action in the viewer, our own rebellion, to challenge the inner voices and rise above our deepest pain.  We experience the recurring message: “Never forget the horror; there is no hope,” and we feel moved in reaction to cry out, ‘I can move forward; there always is a better way!’  By unfolding the tragic path of this doomed man whose disturbance so relentlessly leads him to the greatest of all human evils–murder, we must come away with a renewed motivation to face our fears, outgrow our past traumas, and create a better future.

~Kasumi

Guest Blogger – Barry Gamba

Our guest blogger series continues with a fantastic post on storytelling as a human rights tool by filmmaker Barry Gamba.

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Just Imagine: you’re a child growing up in a country where war and civil unrest have existed for as long as you can remember. Your choices are limited; risk being recruited into the fighting or die in the day to day struggle to survive. Your family, like most of your neighbours, has been touched by tragedy more than once. Brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers, cousins, killed in the conflict, targeted directly or dying from disease and starvation. So your family scrape together what resources they can to send you away, not knowing if they’ll ever see you again, believing that there is safety somewhere in the outside world. You start off on a long, dangerous journey by yourself, across land and sea, and end up in a first world country like Australia hoping to find refuge.

Australia is not so keen on being a refuge for those who cross the seas these days. No open arms to welcome those who have escaped the brutality of war and displacement, no boundless plains to share. You’re placed in detention as a deterrent to others even thinking of claiming asylum by this route. But you’re one of the lucky ones and after a year in various detention centres, both offshore and onshore, before you go completely mad with despair, you’re granted a permanent protection visa.

So here you are, alone, with no family in a country that doesn’t know what to do with you. You hardly speak the language. Here in the lucky country you’re shunted from one temporary accommodation to another. You’re housed in crisis youth accommodation where the other residents, locals, are dealing with a range of mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems, escaping histories of domestic and family violence. It’s hard to sleep at night listening to the sounds of wailing, crying, people in intense pain.

So you take off on your own again, living on the streets, fending for yourself. Like the search for a safe haven has never ended.

The official classification used by the authorities to describe young refugees who arrive like this is ‘Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors’. A ‘UHM’ is under the age of 18 and arrived in Australia without a parent or an adult family member. Most UHMs in Australia are male, between the ages of 17 and 18, from countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka. Current statistics estimate there are 865 UHMs in Australia. 90% arrived by boat.

UHMs are 10 times more likely to become homeless than an Australian born young person.

Like a lot of people, I had no idea of the struggles that young refugees face even after going through a tough process to find refuge in the first place. Like a lot of people in Australia, I thought the fight for the rights of refugees was focused on making Australia live up to its obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees, to impartially and efficiently access claims for asylum instead of locking refugees away in detention for prolonged periods, or more recently, towing the refugee boats back out of Australian waters before they can even make a claim. It’s sobering to discover that the fight for human rights continues even after settlement in a host country.

In 2013, I worked with a group of young refugees- or as they are often referred UHMs – in Sydney, Australia, and other brave stakeholders to develop a fictional film narrative, drawing on the real experiences of UHMs and homeless youth in Australia.

The logistics of producing a feature documentary on the issue were not within reach of this project. We didn’t have the resources to film overseas in some of the countries of origin, to trace a journey firsthand. But more significantly, laying bare the details of young refugees’ real stories could re-traumatise the very people we were trying to empower. Instead, devising a fictional story, drawing on the lived experiences of the participants was cathartic. You could safely remove yourself from the story as well as identifying with it at the same time.

BROKEN TIME is an 18-minute drama we developed together to provide an audience with an opportunity to imagine this experience, to see the world through someone else’s eyes, walk in someone else’s shoes.

Missy Harrison & Dilber Hussain BROKEN TIME (2014)Dilber Hussain & Michael Moore, BROKEN TIME (2014)

 In BROKEN TIME, our protagonist meets a local homeless young woman and they share their stories. The young woman has escaped domestic violence and has no desire to ever see her family again. Our hero comes from a situation of political violence, and he says, he would do anything to see his family again.

Sharing stories across unimaginable divides is the first step in challenging our assumptions. Sharing the story, a first step in sharing our humanity.

~Barry Gamba

Director, BROKEN TIME (2014)

Guest Blogger – Michael Schiller

Our guest blogger series continues with the following post by filmmaker and journalist Michael Schiller. In discussing his documentary THE LAST PARTY, Schiller highlights  the thin line between security and freedom.

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The Show Me Justice Film Festival was a great screening for THE AFTER PARTY. Thanks for letting me guest blog. This is the trailer for the film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuF3ROVl7-Q

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If that caught your interest, you can watch the feature film for free here. Please do, and come back to the blog post after for the big reveal about what happened after the film.

http://afterpartydocumentary.com/?page_id=360

For those who haven’t seen the film, THE AFTER PARTY is a documentary feature film about a journalist who is caught in a mass arrest while filming a protest at Ground Zero. His film crew’s videotape of the incident leads to a civil rights lawsuit, uncovers a police spying ring and launches his personal investigation in to the weird world of domestic surveillance.  With special appearances by Andre ’3000′ Benjamin, Barack Obama, The Bush Twins, Cornel West, Al Sharpton and Don King.

Oh, by the way, that journalist is me.

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In 1993 the film THE LAST PARTY was released. The documentary followed Robert Downey Jr’s initiation in to the world of politics. In 2000 came the sequel, THE PARTY’S OVER, following Philip Seymour Hoffman on the campaign trail. The third film in the trilogy, THE AFTER PARTY features Andre ’3000′ Benjamin in a story about domestic surveillance and civil liberties in the post 9-11 era, framed by an inciting incident that happened during his political sojourn.

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In August of 2004, during the course of the Republican National Convention in New York City, over 1800 people were arrested. The police used orange construction netting to arrest large groups of people. I was working on a film about Andre 3000 of Outkast and was caught in one of these nets while filming a protest at Ground Zero. Our film crew’s tape became instrumental evidence in a lawsuit by the NYCLU against the city. Schiller vs. the City of New York is a landmark first amendment case that uncovered a warrantless police spying operation. This film takes a hard look at the precariously thin line we walk between security and freedom and examines the resurgence of domestic surveillance in America.

The 2004 protests were a dry run for the way the Occupy Wall Street protests were policed. And since THE AFTER PARTY came out, the NYPD was exposed for its large-scale surveillance of Brooklyn’s Muslim community, a place we visit in the film. And of course, Snowden and the NSA scandal broke long after we theorized in the film that the NSA was spying domestically.

So this project is a snapshot of our culture around the turn of the millennium. America continues to struggle with the balance between security and freedom and it seems to be getting worse. It goes on and on. In Ferguson and around the nation.

As for this particular chapter, the ’04 convention, I think I’m ready to let go. The case was settled. The largest payout in the history of protest settlements. http://www.nyclu.org/news/victory-unlawful-mass-arrest-during-2004-rnc-largest-protest-settlement-history. I fought the law and I won.

If you saw my film and liked it, check out this short I did called THE BOX. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA1LkgyQ4Iw

It was the next big project after THE AFTER PARTY. It just won the Special Jury Prize at the New Orleans Film Festival. It’s also a social justice film. Thanks for watching. See you at the movies.

~Michael Schiller

 

Guest Blogger – Kevin McKinney

Our guest blogger series continues with an excellent post by Kevin McKinney focusing on social justice and broadcasting. McKinney’s feature film CORPORATE FM won the Audience Favorite Award at the 2012 Show Me Justice Film Festival.

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All Social Justice Issues Depend on Broadcasting.

A lot of hype has been pitched about the equalizing nature of the internet. HYPE! Huge numbers of people do not go flocking to the same web sites unless they are prompted to do so by mainstream media. In Egypt, Al Jazeera TV featured twitter feeds of Egyptian protesters. The reductionistic media dubbed it “The Twitter Revolution”. If Al Jazeera had not been there to show us the faces of the women and men; the crowds would have been smaller and the twitter feeds would have not grown as quickly.

Broadcasting is just that. A broad cast of data across a broad swath of local population. Critical masses are built this way. The internet is the supporting material. Broadcasting has the power to start social movements and incite riots. Some films that show this well are MOTHER NIGHT (1996) with Nick Nolte and the Academy Award nominated HOTEL RWANDA (2004) which strangely also stars Nick Nolte. Both films show the power of radio to create public opinion.

 

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I was inspired, in part, by these films to make the documentary CORPORATE FM (2012) which reveals how financial firms have gutted the medium of radio and fired the very reporters who once reported on high finance. Did Wall Street do this on purpose? It is very clear that they benefit from these tactics. The biggest threat to broadcasting, and the democracy it sustains, are the financial tricks that Wall Street plays to consolidate more broadcasting companies. Entire newsrooms are folded while the owners reap huge rewards.

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Broadcast consolidation cuts the amount of diverse and independent content on TV. We filmmakers, still make movies, but the gate-keepers are fewer. That’s why I’m thankful for the SMJFF. The films you see here are little glimpses into the deeper world of meaning that most of broadcasting has abandoned. The awards that the SMJFF bestow, help open doors to a wider audience. Till, competition and diversity return to the nation’s airwaves, I look towards sources like SMJFF to help connect me to the wider world. See you there.

~Kevin McKinney

Kevin McKinney is a filmmaker living and working in Kansas City.

twitter: @Kevin_McKinney

instagram: @kevin_mckinney

http://fmfilm.com

Guest Blogger – Beau Chevassus

The Show Me Justice Film Festival’s guest blogger series continues with a fantastic vlog post by filmmaker Beau Chevassus about the process of shooting his film As Vapour.

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Do you ever get strange looks from people when you’re taking photos or filming? I do quite often, mainly because I’m in a foreign country, and I remain unnoticed like a piece of Scotch tape stuck to the bottom of your sock. Plus local people are curious, as we all would be if we saw an eccentric foreigner intensely pointing a camera at something. Find out a remarkable tip/trick on how you can “defuse” awkward on-site filming experiences, and be profoundly entertained as I chat briefly about living in Sierra Leone and producing the wildest short film I’ve made: “As Vapour.”

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Check out Beau Chevassus’ vlog post:

You can watch Beau Chevassus’ short film, As Vapour, here:

Guest Blogger – Douglas McCann

The Show Me Justice Film Festival is only two days away! In anticipation of the start of the festival, Douglas McCann, the director of Mountains Will Move, authors the latest in our guest blogger series.

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In the shadow of Africa’s highest peaks, a new generation of Tanzanian girls struggles to overcome poverty and inequality. On the other side of the world, an all-female group of Australian teenagers sets out to raise money and awareness by taking on a challenge of new heights. What begins as a movement to offer a helping hand turns into a journey for two groups of young women that will trek together side by side to reach for the top of one of the highest mountains in Africa, Mount Meru (14,997 feet). Theirs is a touching story that reminds us that we are the ones who can better our own lives, that the efforts of working together can yield unimaginable results, and that by empowering girls today we ensure a brighter world for the women of tomorrow.

I knew this was going to be an inspiring story the night we left base camp for the 14,997ft summit of Mt. Meru. It was at about 1AM when we hit the trail under moonlight, and the long climb ahead of us to the summit would push all of these girls beyond anything they had ever experienced. But that’s kind of the point. Peaks Foundation uses mountains as a tool to create life-changing experiences for girls and women. It was an incredible opportunity for me to witness these two groups of teenage girls – from Tanzania and Australia – joining together to take on this challenge of massive proportions. Women and girls in Tanzania often experience some very harsh and unfair challenges. It is unheard of that any of them would even consider climbing this enormous mountain that towers over all of East Africa. Seeing ten of them lace up hiking boots (for the first time ever) and commit to climbing this daunting peak – with a team of Australian girls by their side – was powerful to say the least. And for girls and women from all over the world, especially Africa and Tanzania – this story is incredibly inspiring and I believe will have a powerful and lasting impact.

~Douglas McCann

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Guest Blogger – Claire Lamond

The start of the 4th Annual Show Me Justice Film Festival is only a few days away! We continue our guest blogger series with another featured filmmaker, Claire Lamond, whose animated film Seams and Embers centers on Young Jim, as he follows his coal-mining forefathers into a difficult life working underground.

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In 1984 many Scots, my family included, warmed their living room with a coal fire. We had played on coal bings collecting wee beasties to show in our ‘zoo’ to the rest of the street. You couldn’t travel far in central Scotland before you passed through whole communities whose history, work and culture were all bound into the coal industry.

Then Margaret Thatcher got into power.

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The miners across Britain had fought hard for rights, pay and conditions through a very active trade union. Thatcher wanted to break down the power of the left. ‘There is no such thing as community’ she famously announced. Some pits had become uneconomical but most agree that the industry itself was still very viable in some form. However, as one of the strongest and most vocal trade unions, the miners were the ones Thatcher decided to take down to set an example to us all. For a year long strike the state hammered the workers. It’s been revealed more recently how close to defeat Thatcher felt she came but in the end the union was broken, communities destroyed from the inside as pits closed and some desperate families took the enticement of money to go back to work. But the mines had sat empty, many of them couldn’t run again and before long all the deep mines were closed in Scotland. There are still thousands of tons of coal under our ground but it would be too costly to start the industry up again. Obviously we are, quite rightly, moving towards greener energy sources but we are also still importing coal. The devastation to central Scotland, Wales and Northern England with the closure of the pits, and the way it happened, is still felt really keenly.

This was the backdrop to the beginning of my political awakening as an early teenager. What a joy, then, to become the artist in residence at National Mining Museum, Scotland for 6 months. The museum used to be Lady Victoria Colliery and the guides around the place are all ex-miners full of fantastic, funny, warm, heartbreaking and tough tales of their time in the industry. I had a, rare, free reign to make a film about anything that inspired me there. They have a massive library, lots of equipment and facts flying around but it was these guys’ tales that grabbed me. When I spoke to them, two things repeatedly emerged: memories of their first time going underground as boys and memories of the pit closures. There was my beginning and end of the film. I interviewed a few folk and cut almost 4 hours of recording into the final 6 minute film. Because the strike and the pit closures are still a painful subject for folk I was clear that I would put my own politics aside and try to ‘report’ things as they were told to me. All editing is subjective, inherently, and what I have made falls somewhere between drama and documentary so I make no apologies for that but I had to be aware of the community I was making it in and the fact that it was to be part of a museum exhibition. It’s a tough one though I think for film makers who feel strongly political about something about how best to convey ideas. For me the idea of focussing in on one small story to symbolise something wider feels like my way into that.

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Scottish folk music is rich in songs about workers’ lives including coal miners. These went through my head continually as I entered my dark studio and the world of tiny miners. It was an obvious choice to use one of them as the title and closing sequence.

I have written at length on the making process of the characters and sets for ‘Seams and Embers’ here and a wee interview about the film for local television.

Despite the devastating effect of the pit closures, it’s not a straight forward thing, the end of the coal industry. People were risking their lives right up till the end despite increased safety measures. I wanted to include this and did it through the canary in the film. Canaries were traditionally taken underground to act as a crude form of gas detection. If the bird stopped singing the men got out. Many families from mining heritage still keep canaries in cages in their homes. In the film, while the industry is working the bird is in a cage. There is a release at the end – the bird flies free.

Thatcher broke the left. The opposition party, traditionally socialist, moved centre and abandoned the word socialism. The challenge is now is to reunite. Disparate groups, who would have shunned each other in the more openlyleft-wing past, are joining together in a National Collective with the aim of protecting each other and what is still good in our society: our health service, our state education, our welfare system. Our industry is all but gone and many things have been privatised now but socialism, especially in Scotland where the prospect of becoming an independent country is within our grasp, is ,thankfully, back in everyday language.

~Claire Lamomd

info@clairelamond.com
www.clairelamond.com

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Guest Blogger – Juliana Brown

As the Fifth Annual Show Me Justice Film Festival approaches, we continue our guest blogger series with a post by Juliana Brown, the director of the documentary Out of the ShadowsBrown’s film tells the story of Fernanda Marroquin, a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant living in Philadelphia who is ‘undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic.’ Fernanda is one of a growing group of youth who call themselves the DreamActivists – brought to the United States as children, they played no role in their own illegal immigration, yet find themselves reaching adulthood unable to work, receive financial aid for college, or even get a driver’s license. The DreamActivists take to the streets, risking arrest and deportation to take a stand against the system that they feel has betrayed them. We join Fernanda as she comes out of the shadows and fights for her rights and a future in the country she has called home for over ten years.

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Out of the Shadows and into the Immigration Debate

If you’ve watched a special news segment on immigration in the past few years, you might have momentarily thought that the United States was being invaded by green creatures from outer space. In fact, when those newscasters say  “illegal aliens” they are referring not to extraterrestrials, but rather to human beings.

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In our documentary, Out of the Shadows, about an undocumented student activist in Philadelphia, the implication of calling another human being “illegal” comes up multiple times. A protestor at a rally holds a sign saying “no human being is illegal” and a student in the epilogue describes the effect of realizing he is undocumented as “feeling like you’re not really considered a full person anymore.” While it is technically correct to define the term illegal alien as “a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country’s authorization” (www.dictionary.com), many advocates of immigration reform are starting to consciously drop the word illegal from their dialogue surrounding immigration.

The othering effect (creating a “they are not one of us” mentality) of the words “illegal alien” is powerful, transforming the tangible lives of immigrants into an abstract idea, an invasive pest to be swatted away, rather than a full person with an equal claim to life on Earth. This mindset has created heightened levels of xenophobia and discrimination, and established an oppressed group of people who are subject to living in a constant state of fear, despite their many contributions to American society. It is a lot easier to deport, shoot at, and deny fundamental human rights to an “illegal” than it is to a human being, with a family, human needs, and dreams for their future. The ACLU and other groups like to say that “immigrants’ rights are human rights” because it challenges us to see the humanity and dignity that all people possess, including immigrants. Does it take citizenship to become 100% human? Of course not.

One of the main goals of our documentary is to challenge this common view of immigrants as “others”—an effect created by years of negative media and political rhetoric, and instead lay the building blocks of empathy, humanity, and understanding for the lives of undocumented immigrants. And what better place to begin than with the DreamActivists featured in our film—immigrants who were brought to the United States as children with their families, completely devoid of responsibility for their immigration status, yet continuing to pay the consequences for a decision they did not make.

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Another reason undocumented immigrants are often seen as nameless “others” in the American psyche is because many people have never met an openly undocumented person before. The nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States today rarely reveal their immigration status for fear of retribution and deportation. In Out of the Shadows, viewers have the opportunity to witness the stories and daily struggles of undocumented youth, and find their own connections with the individuals featured in our film. By finding these similarities, they may realize that we aren’t all so different after all, and we can find yet another way to tear down the walls of “otherness.”

If our film could accomplish only two things, we hope they would be to shed light on the millions of people living in the shadows, and to spark a meaningful change within the dialogue of the immigration debate. Every immigration decision made in our courts has profound impacts on the daily realities of undocumented immigrants and their families.  Whenever immigration reform is discussed, we must always remember these impacts, and the fundamental similarities and humanity that we share with all people, including undocumented immigrants.

by Juliana Brown, director of Out of the Shadows, with contributions by Weddy Worjroh, producer, and Amy Diebolt, director of photography

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Guest Blogger – Yousef Kargar

Yousef Kargar, the director of Requiem for a Night, is our latest guest blogger. Kargar’s film is set in an orphanage where bread goes missing from the kitchen every night. When the janitor seeks out to solve the mystery, he discovers something strange.

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We all were children Once upon, and in that time we have had many dreams, big and small. Sometimes these dreams came true, and sometimes not.  In the realization of our dreams, people have had a major role. Parents are the most important people who can provide all the needs of children and their children’s basic needs are warmth.

But there are children that deprived of a blessing of parents because of different reasons. In these circumstances they are more in need of love and kindness. Their dreams will be slightly different from the other children. It is our duty to embrace with open arms these children. They want to fill vacancies of their parents in any way, and it is one of the largest humanitarian works and basic human rights. But if we deny this love, we are committing a sin and a mistake.

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One of my concerns is that I can support and do something for orphans or badly protect children, children of labor, and children who are faced with social inequality and injustice. With regard to working conditions, reading many stories, seeing movies and dealing with such issues in society and the fact and also heard similar incidents, I decided to make a short film focusing on this subject. The idea of the film according to the symbols that we have on of our culture, came to mind after a few sessions after we got the original script.

Requiem for a Night, depicts a few days of an orphan child’s life in a child care center with explore the symbolic look. According to the first and final scene of the film that has been symbolically, everyone can realize the importance role of the mother in the child’s life . The child in our film loses his mother because of earthquake and in a child care center , it happens an event between him and janitor . Following the loss of the bread, the caretaker is appointed to inquire the cause and eventually we realized the connection between the bread and the boy. These children frequently seen in today’s society. Janitor before to realize the event, due to its inherent wickedness are looking to find culprit with cravings and even after finding her and introduced to the manager, follows the matter again and in the final scene, shame whole of his face can be seen.

Questions are asked of me about the film ‘s surprise ending and relevance of the bread and the boy. I have received several interpretations of this term from the audience after the film. Some believed that the bread is the easiest tool to steal hungry and because this boy is hungry to love and cuddle also the final scene is a symbol of the same issue. Others believe that the bread is blessed and in our culture, mother is a symbol of blessing of family and the boy fills his mother`s empty place … . But as a film-maker, I have never addressed these interpretations. My aim in making this film was for viewers, alone in their privacy, to answer these questions and to think that if they were janitor ,then what did after that night? inspire to the end of the film that is symbolic, is free and it is important that the film be able to challenge the mind and soul

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I made ​​this film only with ​​$1,000 and with sincere cooperation from  friends and colleagues. Short filmmaking is very hard in Iran because we don`t have economic support and almost all of us have problems finding producers and funding. Also, I provided the film’s entire budget myself. Before I began making films, I worked as a film critic, and I still continue to review films. I love cinema and every day I see between 3 to 5 films from filmmakers from different countries and experience new things, and I try to learn from them. The best teacher for a director is watching a movie and examining what is good or bad about the film. My favorite master and director is Roman Polanski and one of my favorite films is his masterpiece The Tenant. The ceiling of my aspirations at the cinema is infinite and I love to become a filmmaker that my films reflect the the pain and suffering of people around the world and can make people happy with my films and to make effective moments of their life. I love that can be represents great words on image format , the words that great filmmakers, like Bergman, Tarkovsky, Kurosawa, Kubrick said before and I like to to get a place where my films be respected and people remember me as good after I died.

In continued presence of Requiem for a Night at festivals in the world, I decided to show the film at the Show Me Justice Film Festival because I feel the festival’s theme of “social justice” is one of my main objectives in making this film. I hope festival audiences like the movie, and after watching it, change their outlook on innocent orphan children.

Kind regards and greetings from the land of lovers of peace and justice, Iran.

~Yousef Kargar

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Guest Blogger – Charles Thomas

The next entry in our guest blogger series is an insightful post about taking chances by Charles Thomas. Thomas’ science fiction film Disaffection centers on a patient who undergoes a series of tests at the hands of doctors hoping to create a vaccine.

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I’m 26 years old. I’m young. I’ve got my entire life ahead of me. I can do anything I want. I’m the only one responsible for my happiness. So… Why does it take me days and days to decide to do something ? Why am I torn apart by fears and neurotic thoughts when I’m wondering if I should take this way or that way?

We live in a world that always talks about freedom, space and great opportunities. But paradoxically we are more and more fearful people, unable to make  choices. Even paralyzed.

That’s what I am talking about in Disaffection. That was the starting point.

One day I went to a school that was under construction, and I saw the workers separated by huge white plastic tarp, like you can see in the hospitals. In fact, it was to protect the workers from dust. But it made me think about some place, some world in which people would be separated from each other. At an extreme level… When I had this “vision”, I thought that it would be a great story. But I soon realized that we were already in that kind of world.

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Think about it. Neighbors are separated by fences. People can do less and less things without being a “rebel”. There is a contrast between what the society teaches us about freedom and the reality.

And then I thought about myself. I asked myself if I was in that situation. And the answer was : “yes I am in that situation”. Like many people, I’m scared to death to think about living a great relationship with anyone. I’m scared to death about taking a wrong professionnal way. I’m scared to death about “ruining my life”. All these fears are mental blocks that are taught to us by society, surreptitiously, time after time…in order to give us the idea of “if you go outside your comfort zone, you will suffer for sure !”

After realizing this, I went to Cambodia to film a documentary. I quit from my job without a plan B. I tried to date people without suffering… And I’m still alive !

With Disaffection, I wanted to make people think about what is normal, what is “human”, but corrupted by the society. In fact, the failure, the wrong choices are always hold responsible for all the bad events in our lives. But… think about it… Don’t we learn much more by making mistakes ? If we stay in our comfort zones, don’t we just stay still and dead ?

I’m very glad to see that a university decided to show Disaffection to students. It definitely proved to me that “everything isn’t lost”, and that we can offer a better world, a better place, for the next generations.

So thank you again and I can’t wait to meet you all during the festival.

You can view the trailer for Disaffection here: http://vimeo.com/80051828

~Charles Thomas

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