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Yesterday morning we got a random email from a viewer who had seen our film Old Radicals on TV.  It was a lovely message, especially as we didn’t know it was being broadcast yet!

So, if you get the Documentary Channel, you can check the upcoming schedule here: http://www.documentarychannel.com/movie.php?currID=9058&t=Old%20Radicals

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We forge on ahead.As you may know, posting without my trusty camera is very hard for me. Whatever I may think is worth sharing, just falls short without at least one snapshot, usually of my kids, perhaps completely unrelated, but so necessary nonetheless.

When our hard drive crashed about 6 months ago and I realized I had lost all the footage and most of the photos of my little boy’s birth, I sobbed like my heart was breaking. When our iMac was stolen 2 weeks ago, I came close to the same reaction. The amount of photos that we lost is really unbelievable. So, so many photos from the last 2 years.  But instead of dissolving in a puddle of self-pity, I stayed up late into the night browsing my old Picasa albums, finding lovely shots like this one above, of Lala at 16 months.  And this one of my smiley boy.And right now, as I post this, I am sitting in front of a brand-spanking new MacBook Pro.  It is really quite overwhelming. This beautiful machine, even now installing our editing software, is here because of all of you. Our amazing friends, family, neighbors, unknown-but-so-very-appreciated-supporters…

So, to all of you- a HUGE thank you!  Thanks to you, this Mac (and of course Picasa web albums) we can go on.

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It’s Your Film Too

3/16/11 UPDATE: We did it!!!! Thank you to everyone who donated!!!!

This isn’t something that I wanted to post. It would be much less awkward to simply allow our friends to continue posting it for us.

But last Friday, as Matthew and I put in a good solid day of filming and interviewing while 4 different people from our community tag-team babysat our kiddos, I realized something. Our filmmaking has always been at its roots, communal.  Never have we created a film entirely on our own. Only because of the incredible people who believe in us and are willing to support us have we been able to produce our films.  And this piece, this “Old Radicals feature” doesn’t belong to just us. It belongs to this far-reaching network of those who babysit and encourage and discuss and preview and criticize and contribute and believe in us. Those who lend computers and tell their friends and offer suggestions.  This is your film.  So you all have a right to know what is happening and to again, jump in.

IndieGoGo-Noonday Films

And this piece, this film we spent the day with on Friday, is something so big, so much greater and with such potential, that I would be wrong not to do all in my power to make this happen.  The beautiful couple we filmed have spent 16 years advocating for innocent men on death row.  I think I can put in a few minutes of posting to help this story along. It can’t be ignored.

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The Other Cheek

2 weeks ago we got home from grocery shopping to find the back door kicked in and our iMac (among other things) gone.

Needless to say, it hasn’t been easy.  Most of our filmwork was on the hard drives they left behind, but some did get lost. And our photos. All our personal photos and family videos… Thanks to this blog and Picasa, we do have a good stash left, but there are so, so many pictures I will never be able to look at again. Including the photos from my son’s 2nd birthday party, which were on the little digital camera.

The irony of this is that it has stalled our work on the film portraying the Lynds, tireless adovacates for prisoner rights.  I thought of this yesterday, after a full day of filming the Lynds, of hearing their unending struggle for justice in the prison system. I wondered about the two men who invaded our space, who took our things. I imagined them in prison, and I didn’t want it. I truly didn’t.

I think of our friend, Jonathan M.  When something similar happen to another friend in the neighborhood, he knew who had done it. He knew where they lived. And Jonathan M. walked up to their door and offered them paid work.

When Pastor Tim in Vancouver, after countless hours, days, months of working on his dissertation, had his laptop taken, disseration and all, he searched endlessly for the culprit, not to have him arrested, but to give him the power cord that had been left behind.

This is a different path. This is the way I want to live.

I hope to find them. And I hope I would have the courage to offer them the keyboard and mouse sitting on an empty desk. And maybe some yardwork.

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When we first showed Art and Peggy the “Old Radicals” short film, we waited with bated breath for their response. Art turned to us, and with just the slightest hint of humor asked, “Am I allowed to criticize?”

Oh no, I thought. Here it goes. “Of course,” we assured him.

He looked at us accusingly, “You lied!”

We were stunned for a second, then above his bushy white beard an uncomfortable smile broke out. “You made us out to be heroes,” he explained. “We aren’t heroes.”

And here, on this one point, I find I must totally and vehemently disagree with Art Gish, peacemaker, farmer, author, speaker, and, to people across the globe, a bona fide hero.

Before I even dreamed of meeting Art Gish, let alone making a film about him and Peggy, I had traveled with him to Palestine through his Hebron Journal. I had stood with him as school children were harassed, families were left homeless, shop owners were shut down. I had seen his anger at injustice, and been completely overwhelmed by his unending love towards those who perpetrated the injustice. His utter disregard for the way of life that the system has preached to us, programed into our veins, cajoled us to accept, brought me glimpses of another vision. The values I desire so strongly to embrace, the kind of life I want so much to lead, is not a typical one and at times I feel the obstacles to living that life are insurmountable. All around me conventions and conveniences suck me in. The easy way seems so much more sensible…

But here was a man who had thrown off those ties and labels. Art and Peggy lived with 19th century commodities on their beautiful farm in Ohio, deserted kith and kin once a year to live in the war zones of Palestine and Iraq (respectively) and refused violence as a solution in any form, whether waging chemical war against the insects on their crops, to raising a hand against soldiers destroying livelihoods.

Radicalism, in a knee-jerk jump of mental synapses, is often linked to youth. Matthew and I, the friends we know who believe like us, who want to embrace non-violence, simple “homestead” living, activism, etc, are mostly under 35. And often the older people I interact with tend to think quite differently then me. At times when trying to explain our choices I’ve had this brief impression of a reasonable parent looking at their punk rock teenager thinking Thank God this stage will pass eventually. And again, those convenient thoughts sneak in, wondering whether it isn’t about time to really settle, become responsible and established, set up retirement funds and buy frozen dinners. Quit worrying about organic or not, local or imported. Just relax and live like everyone else. And really, chickens in the backyard would be such a hassle.

Last Saturday I looked out over a church full of those who knew and loved Art and it was a sea of faces, most wrinkled, most frosted by graying hair, and a whole lot of bushy white beards.  And in that moment of loss and tragedy, I was filled with hope and a strange comfort. Because I knew that Art and Peggy were not alone.  Matthew and I in our vain attempts at living like them are not alone.  There was a church filled to the brim with Old Radicals, and I knew that here were my heroes. They may be tucked away working the land of their farms, or diving in dumpsters behind buildings, or even quietly carrying out the same kind of work that made Art so well known. But they are there and they are many.

Like I told Art that day we first showed him our film, people will have heroes. Let it be you.

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Exercise your right to like good films. Vote for “Old Radicals” for the Audience Award!

If we win the audience choice award we will get more exposure for the film by being featured on the front page of the Doc Challenge website. Additionally we will receive a free registration in the 2011 Doc Challenge and will be automatically included in the next “Best of the Doc Challenge” DVD. Vote Now!

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We made this film for the Doc Challenge in four fun-filled days a couple of months ago (supposed to be 5, but I was stuck in Rwanda). Last weekend it premiered at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto and won the DER award, as well as “Best Use of Social/Political Genre” and “Best Use of Theme.”

Watch it now! (and be sure to head to the Doc Challenge website on the 15th to vote for it for the audience award!)

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