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2001: Who Invited All These Tacky People
2002: Impatience is a Virtue
2004: Growing Old is NOT for Sissies
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2007: Movie Meme
2008: Life Such as It Is
IN MY OPINION
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"The Thunderbolt Kid"
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TAKING TOO MUCH FOR GRANTED
21 March 2009
This is probably how I'm going to start my next feature article -- or something like it. I'll try it out on you first!
I left the house today in my air-conditioned car, drove to the mall and grumbled because I had to park half a parking lot away from Peets Coffee. I waked to Peets, grumbling because the parking lot needs resurfacing and the ground is bumpy and uneven and, in spots, uncomfortable to walk on.
I went into Peets and ordered an iced cafe mocha and took it outside to a table, where I was waiting for my contact, film maker Jared Martin. I was early, so I took my new iPod Touch out of my purse and tried to send a Facebook update, grumbling because I needed an access code and had forgotten to get it while inside the cafe. But that was OK because I had the James Patterson book on the Kindle app, so I sat and read my book until Jared arrived.
It didn't take long into the interview before I was feeling very guilty.
Jared has made a short film called The Lost Boys of the Sudan, which he is entering in the 6th annual Davis Film Festival next month. This is a film he started 5 years ago, when he was 14 and visiting his aunt on a summer holiday.
The aunt knew that he liked to play around with making movies and suggested that he might like to interview five of the young men from the Sudan who were being sponsored by her church group. The eleven-hour interview he did with them was edited down to 45 minutes and last year edited again into a 7 minute documentary.
From "Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan" :
Jared added that the boys were between the ages of 3 and 15 when they began their 14 year search for a safe place to live. Many died from starvation or disease or were killed by animals or soldiers. To add insult to injury, when they finally arrived in the United States, many were adopted by church or community groups around the United States, but the government took responsibility for several of the groups, essentially dumping them after 6 months, leaving them to fend for themselves. Imagine arriving in this country not even knowing how to sleep in a bed with a blanket and in six months be expected to have learned the language, learned how to function in a world with indoor plumbing AND have to find a job in order to pay for food and lodging.
Jared's film has already won acclaim at several film festivals and he hopes it will do well in the Davis Film Festival.
I asked him what he hoped to accomplish by his film, since the "boys" in question are now in their middle to late 20s and the program is not in need of funding. He said that he just wants people to be aware of what these kids went through to get here and to be a little more understanding of the difficulties they are having adjusting to life here. Those who have jobs are trying to earn enough not only to pay for their upkeep here, but to send money home to family in Sudan, to relatives who have the sense that their children are living in luxury (in comparison, I suppose they are).
When we finished our interview, Jared invited me to come to the screening, which I hope to do.
Then I got back into my air conditioned car, drove to the big supermarket to buy expensive baby food for one of my puppies, and then came home to my computer and my television to write about the plight of some very brave boys who have known more suffering and challenge than I would bet any one of us reading this entry could even imagine.
I hope not to take things so much for granted any more....but, being human, I probably will. And that's sad.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 103 miles