Monday, February 26, 2007

Letters From the Other Side (2006)

Producer & Director: Heather Courtney

On Wednesday Heather came to my documentary class to screen some of her work and answer some practical questions about documentary. She showed us clips from her Masters thesis film called Los Trabajadores "The Workers" (2003) about Mexican day laborers in Austin, Texas. Her new film Letters From the Other Side is about the wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of men who have left Mexico to work in the US.

The whole film was screened at the University to the public in a filled auditorium. The film is very powerful. Heather lived in Mexico for a year to shoot the film. In the film, she delivers video messages to male family members in the US of the women in Mexico. Some of the women in the film have not seen their husbands or fathers for more than 8 years. Heather told our class that she was hesitant to deliver the video messages between her subjects because she felt it was intervening with the "truth" of the subject. Ironically these video letters are the heart of the film and serve to bring the issue of Mexican immigration to a personal level for the viewer.

Heather really impressed me as a great person and filmmaker. After the screening I gave her a copy of the script of my new film which is related in subject matter to hers. In exchange she gave me a DVD of the film. :)

Order the DVD

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Living with us is dangerous

Mahdi and myself made this little number as a continuation of our series of startling sleeping victims series (SSVS).

Monday, February 12, 2007

Born into Brothels (2004)

I just got finished watching Born Into Brothels. Someone did a presentation on it in my history of documentary class last semester and it inspired me to see the whole thing.

It won at Sundance in 2004 for Best Documentary and at the Academy Awards in 2005 for under the same category. The documentary is about children in Calcutta's red light district. All of the subjects of the film are living in brothels with their families and are at risk of being put to work on the streets themselves. The film follows one of its directors, Zana Briski, through her mission of trying to teach the children photography and get them into boarding schools.

By using the children's photography Briski and Kauffman tell the story with the children and do not limit them to being only subjects. It is no coincidence that the film only received such attention after the outstanding international interest in the photographs of the children.

The film makes no attempt to tackle the issue of prostitution and I think that was a wise choice, since prostitution only acts in the film as the inescapable reality of the children. For the children, it is a problem that always was and always will be.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Let the MADNESS begin

JorDan and myself have recently just jump started our pre production of our short film "The Runners" We have all but one location and the script is in draft 1.5 currently. We are cleaning and painting the interior of the trailer on Friday and casting on Saturday and Sunday. If anyone wants to help just holler. My insides will hate me with all this coffee I've been drinking.

(On a totally unrelated note)
I heard this lecture from Sheikh Hashim from Houston
He is really good.

Thursday, February 01, 2007