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To foster a young filmmaker

Christopher Zalla
Filmmaker

Posted 10:19AM on Saturday, August 04, 2007 Pacific Time

I am writing this somewhere over the Atlantic, as I fly the first leg of my journey to Maputo.†This will be my first blogging experience, one that I already find somewhat difficult.†Itís odd for me to write in the first person, as generally I feel most comfortable focusing on characters and stories -- certainly not myself. †I suppose thereís a reason I chose a life behind the camera instead of in front of it.

My days leading up to departure were intensely busy, and I certainly neglected a lot of people and responsibilities as a result.†I was gathering, testing, and packing video equipment for this trip, rewriting a screenplay, creating a new one, and coordinating the upcoming release of my first feature film, PADRE NUESTRO. So I am quite looking forward to the focus and purpose that will come with our project in Mozambique, as I think it will offer some badly needed space and perspective.

I am thrilled at the prospect of encountering the unknown these next two weeks, yet I am also quite apprehensive. Itís been over two decades since I last visited East Africa (my place of birth), and I am not quite sure how the radical transformation of the Sub-Saharan region will affect me. My memories are indelible, yet they have become more and more incongruous with the news stories, images, and reports from friends over the last twenty years.

I hesitate to make any generalizing statements about the dual epidemics of poverty and disease in Africa (especially HIV/AIDS), before engaging those realities in person.†We all know (I hope) the numbers, the statistics, the tolls.†But I am not sure how much weíve transcended that data and seen the human dimension that constitutes it.

Ironically, it seems to me, in this world where we have more and more access to each other via the new media, we spend less and less time truly connecting with others. †The result has been a reduction to -- and reliance on -- labels. Perhaps itís a tool for managing the overload of stimuli we receive, or perhaps itís a way of coping with difficulty, or perhaps we really donít care about our neighbors after all. †But with the labels come a simplification; a reduction of humanity.

One of the greatest things about film is that it speaks the universal language of human emotions that transcend cultural boundaries.†I hope that by empowering a child to learn basic filmmaking, we can give him/her the tools to capture those emotions, and the power to speak that language.†Though the clamor of our busy world will no doubt drone on we can help add a childís voice to that din, and just maybe, open up a new conversation.

And we can listen.

Before I end, I must thank Neal Baer and Holly Carter for extending me this great opportunity.†Itís not often in life you get to share your gifts in order to empower others.†Success has no better reward.

comments from website visitors:

i hope alcides become a real filmmaker, anyway i know the reality of my country( things start but most of the time never end).When i was watching tv news last saturday and Alcides was in the spot it made me feel proud of working with him.
zego
maputo
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 1:30AM

i hope alcides become a real filmmaker, anyway i know the reality of my country( things start but most of the time never end).When i was watching tv news last saturday and Alcides was in the spot it made me feel proud of working with him.
zego
maputo
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 1:30AM

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I want my kids to have warm shelter, bright future and good education. My family to accept me. I want to own a house, to be independent, have a good job so I can raise my children -- to educate them.
Nthabiseng Lamona
Cape Town project participant


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