June 26, 2006

The Power That Moves People

hotelrwanda.jpg BY LORRA GILBERT, QUEEN CREEK, AZ, USA - Just recently, my husband and I sat down to watch the film HOTEL RWANDA. There were many things that touched me as I watched this film. First was that the whole thing was based on the true and very real story of the horrifying genocide and injustice that took place in Rwanda, Africa in 1994. The extreme hatred between two groups (Hutus and Tutsis) was astonishing. Yet, even more astonishing - the similarities between the two. The only way to determine who belonged to which group was to look past the person to their identification papers...if your papers said you were Tutsi, you were considered “trash” and were killed. The Hutu extremists thought that they could completely exterminate all Tutsis which, in the end (after about 100 days), brought about the death of nearly 1 million people. As disturbing as this scene was, the filmmakers were very successful in their goal to reach a wide audience by focusing on the story rather than the overwhelming horror of the genocide itself.

The second thing that disturbed me was the lack of help that the Tutsis received from other countries. These were completely inhumane atrocities and no one felt that they should step in to help stop it. Not Belgium, not France, not the United States... no one came to their aid. I was also ashamed to realize that this happened just 12 years ago (which was the year I graduated from High School) and, despite the news coverage, I knew nothing about it prior to watching this film. It speaks to just how ignorant and spoiled many Americans are and the importance of films like this one and the upcoming film, BAD T!MING, to reach people and bring more awareness to the world.

The third thing that moved me was the good that just one person can do. As the assistant manager of the Hotel Milles Collines, Paul Rusesabagina was able to save 1268 people from being killed several times through countless efforts. He had an amazing ability to reach people on a deeper level.

One person can make a difference. Jabbes Mvula will make a difference and will bring hope to Africa through his countless efforts and his ability to reach out to people. Films can be very powerful and have a great effect on all those who view them. I am grateful for motivated people that strive to educate and change people's lives through film – the power that moves people.

June 24, 2006

Who We Are

BY THE AFRICAN VOICE DOCUMENTARY FILM CREW, MESA, AZ, USA - The last week, we worked on a short video to give people a sense of who we are and why we're doing what we're doing. Three of the editors put together versions of varying length.

WhoWeAreSm.jpg SHAWN DOWNS put together the Who We Are in Two Minutes movie. Shawn recently graduated from Arcadia High School and will be going to the LA Film School upon his return from Zambia. Shawn is an excellent cinematographer, gaffer and all-round crew member. Shawn had a short film in the PHOENIX FILM FESTIVAL 2006. I'd count on seeing great things from him in the future.

WhoWeAreMed.jpg LINDSEY BLACK crafted the Who We Are in Five Minutes. Lindsey graduated from Mesa Community College. She has made numerous short films and is looking to build a career in the independent film industry. Lindsey enjoys acting, editing and producing. Already a Sundance veteran, Lindsey is looking forward the 2007 festival. She learned a great deal about networking at the last festival from actor, Adam Scarimbolo.

WhoWeAreLong.jpg MICHAEL MONTESA completed the Who We Are in 17 Minutes. Another Sundance veteran with a commitment to work in the independent film world, Mike is a respiratory therapist by vocation and photographer/cinematographer by avocation. Mike has won several awards at the annual Mesa Community College Art Show. In addition to being a great on-set photographer, Mike loves designing movie poster and DVD case covers. His designs are terrific.

May 23, 2006

A Voice From Behind the Page's Boss

lora.jpgBY LORRA GILBERT, QUEEN CREEK, USA - I attended the School of Fine Arts at ASU with aspirations to do great things with my life. Now a mother of three, a Mural Artist, and Web Designer, I am very busy but I continue to strive for that goal each and every day.

From the short time that I have been included in this project, I've noticed that although everyone plays different roles and brings different experience there is something consistent...something unique. It is the enthusiasm, the passion, the desire to accomplish a goal that is bigger than a dream. I was impressed with the amount of people involved in this project and the sacrifices that they are making for the film. I know that when there are this many people that stand together and care to help others across the globe, there will be great results.

I pray that my children will grow up to reach the selflessness and amazing vision that I have heard and read from all of those involved in this project.