Interview with filmmaker Iara Lee
We would like to bring to your attention STALKING CHERNOBYL: exploration after apocalypse, a Cultures Of Resistance documentary film that examines the underground culture of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Three decades after the world's most infamous nuclear disaster, illegal hiking adventurers (known as "stalkers"), extreme sports afficionados, artists, and tour companies have begun to explore anew the mysterious, ghostly landscape, where trees and forest animals have reclaimed land abandoned by villagers. Even as survivors continue to reckon with a dishonest government's attempts to cover up the extent of the disaster, and as humanity faces new nuclear incidents in place like Fukushima, the Chernobyl site has turned into a bizarre tourist attraction, drawing seekers with a taste for the post-apocalyptic.
We interviewed the director of the film Iara Lee, to ask her about her motivation to create this film.
When I first visited the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in 2017, I had no intention of making a film. However, the culture that I found there captivated me. You have this area that was the site of one of the most harrowing disasters in the history of the nuclear era, but now three decades have passed. Forests and wildlife have taken over again in places that humans abandoned. And people, too, have started to return. Some are thrill seekers. Some are artists. Some are scientists.
I wanted to document what they are finding in the Exclusion Zone and their fascination with the post-apocalyptic. Of course, hanging over all this are critical environmental and human rights concerns, related to our energy consumption and whether we should be looking to nuclear power sources in an age of climate change. So, to me, this is not just a glimpse into an underground subculture, but also a chance for audiences to think more deeply about some very relevant social issues. These issues are on display in the Exclusion Zone, but they affect us all over the world.
I made this film with the hope of engaging young people. I wanted to show that a film which is, on its surface, about adventure and exploration can also bring forward deeper conversations. These conversations go beyond post-apocalyptic tourism and encourage us to probe questions about the feasibility of nuclear power and the unintended consequences of pursuing high-tech solutions to our problems. These are themes that have been prominent in my work since I began making films.
My very first documentary, Synthetic Pleasures is about the human desire to control nature through technology. It showed people skiing indoors in the summer on carefully groomed slopes with fluffy, man-made snow, as well as a massive indoor beach that visitors said was more appealing than a real beach right next door. It showed people changing their bodies through plastic surgery and transforming their minds through mood-altering drugs—all ways that humans have sought to control or replace nature.
That fact that we as a species are incredibly curious and ambitious often leads us onto dangerous terrains. That is an idea that has long fascinated me, and it was a large part of my inspiration to make Stalking Chernobyl.
We had the pleasure of sharing our documentaries at the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes on several occasions and each experience has been better than the one before. Our relation started in 2017 when "Burkinabe Rising: The art of resistance in Burkina Faso" was selected to participate. Then "Burkinabe Bounty: agroecology in Burkina Faso" was screened in 2018, and finally in the last edition of the festival "Wantoks: Dance of Resilience in Melanesia" was shown. Thank you to all the people who make this possible and we look forward to continuing to share our work with you.
We are living a complicated situation right due to the pandemic, so I hope that you, your family and your loved ones are keeping well during these difficult times. Our thoughts are with those who are dealing with the pandemic on the front line and those whose lives and businesses have been thrown into uncertainty by the sudden changes. We want more festivals like the Mediterranean Film Festival! Once this is over, we hopefully will be able to get together to watch and enjoy a film soon!
Interview with Filmmaker Russ Emanuel
We would like to bring to your attention "The Assassin's Apprentice"a wonderful short film participated to 2018 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes. We interviewed the director of the film Russ Emanuel, to ask him about the story and screenplay of The Assassin's Apprentice.
“Thank you so much for this interview. The Assassin’s Apprentice is a coming of age story about Kaylee (Tarah Paige), an apprentice assassin, and her relationship with Pete (Star Trek: Voyager’s Robert Picardo), her trainer, and Miranda (Star Trek:
The Next Generation’s Marina Sirtis), their handler.
Kaylee goes on a mission that will determine if she has what it takes to became an assassin, encountering different obstacles throughout the city, leading to a final showdown in a trendy bar. The story and script is by Paul Hickman, who is the head producer of this project and I was lucky enough to be hired to direct it. He’s a major Star Trek fan and was overjoyed as I was when we were able to cast both Bob and Marina. Ever since we released the film in May 2018, it has gone on to being selected in over 100 film festivals with 39 wins and 21 nominations.
Because of the success of the first film, we were fortunate enough to film a sequel called “The Assassin's Apprentice II: Silbadores of the Canary Islands” in 2019, with Tarah Paige reprising her role as Kaylee. It’s now a year later, and Kaylee has a new mission in the Canary Islands (where we did some filming) trying to protect the Silbadores who help the TAA Corp that Kaylee works for – they are about to be attacked by master assassins and she has only a finite amount of time to stop them.
This time, Kaylee is joined by Roy (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Armin Shimerman), Trey (Star Trek: The Original Series’ Sean Kenney), Gwen (Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Tracee Lee Cocco), Sork (Star Trek: Enterprise’s Gary Graham), and Karla (Katherine Munroe). We finished filming in November 2019 and are now in heavy post-production."
Interview with Filmmaker Jeryl Parade
We would like to bring to your attention "The Elite 8"a wonderful Web Series participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes and nominated "Honorable Mention" in the Best Web Series Category.We interviewed the director of the film Jeryl Parade, to ask her about the story, and her next steps with The Elite 8.
"The Elite 8 is a Web series & story told through time about the girls & women who changed Lane's life. The Elite 8 are his eight girlfriends from middle school to middle age. They are:
Stella, The Girl Next Door
Morgan, The Boss
Gia, The Seductress
Anabeth, The Husband Hunter
Free Spirit Juliette
The series opens with Stella telling young Lane eight boys have asked her to Homecoming. She has narrowed them down to the Final Four. Stella confides to Lane, "Homecoming would be a lot more fun if I was going with you." That is not an option because all of her friends are going with seniors and Lane is in the middle school.
Young Lane, Adult Lane, and Older Lane pursue eight contenders for The One. Lane is not ready to commit his heart & soul to any new girl or woman until Episode 8. Has he met his match with Free Spirit Juliette?
My vision for The Elite 8 is a streaming series of 1/2 hour episodes. I have written the TV show pilot. Whereas the Web series has 1 relationship/girlfriend per 2-minute episode, the longer form series explores in depth what happens when all of these characters interact. It's Sex in the City (for the New York City vibe) meets This is Us (for a story told through time) meets the amazing French series, Dix Pour Cent (for workplace dynamics). Let me know if you would like to read this new & expanded iteration of The Elite 8.
Thank you to Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes for selecting The Elite 8 as 2019 Honorable Mention, Best Web Series! "