Future Project on Colombia
The UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights states that the loss of one’s freedom of movement is a human rights violation. I experienced this first-hand while living in Bogotá. Through a process of fear and intimidation, my freedom of movement was taken from me in my own home by a member of the paramilitary forces. This process included, but is not limited to, an individual with a high-powered machine gun waving the point of a red laser light on my apartment wall to get my attention. Later, this individual would zero in on a 9” by 12” print of Frida Kahlo I had on my wall. He would leave the point of the red laser right between Frida’s eyes for about 30 minutes. I am guessing because Frida was a communist. Frida’s political affiliations have nothing to do with why I like her art.
It is difficult to explain my coping methods other than to say I must have been in some sort of denial. I was convinced this individual was only trying to scare me into leaving. Otherwise, why did he not fire off a shot? Eventually I did leave six months shy of my two year teaching contract. As my scholar consultant Dr. Sanchez writes in Violence in Colombia:
Walking on the streets or hailing a taxi are high risk activities… the streets have become landscapes of fear… fear of terrorists, fear of thieves, fear of neighbors, fear of security guards, fear of beggars, and even fear of the victims of violence stretched out on the streets.
Not only has fear become a collective experience, so too has the pain expressed by loved ones, which we call mourning. How many burials of relatives, neighbors, school friends, colleagues or fellow political members, caused by violence, has each Colombian attended in the last ten years? And how many times in the intimate experience of these overwhelming episodes have we passed from the pain of the funeral march to rage, and then impotence (VIC 15)?
Upon my return from Colombia, I could not forget the stories I heard and my own personal experiences. The absolute strength and dignity of the Colombian people are something I will never forget. I began exploring ways to get the word out on Colombia. I decided the best way was through the medium of film. This in turn led me to research funding sources, organize a talented crew, and gain experience in the documentary filmmaking world. In my three year quest for funding, I produced, directed, and wrote a short documentary that premiered in the LALIFF in the summer of 2003. I have taken classes at college in film production. I volunteer at the International Documentary Association. I have participated in numerous workshops on filmmaking and grant writing. Marlene Dermer was a speaker at a few of these workshops. I have heeded all her advice. Ms. Dermer is the one who told me to build a website and join IDA.
This feature length documentary will be an exploration on how the internal conflict, including the war on drugs, has affected the rich culture and everyday life in Colombia. Given the chance, I believe with the crew I have assembled and the advice of Mr. Olmos, along with my scholar consultants, we can make a documentary that audiences around the world will want to see. Bringing social awareness about the plight of the Colombian people to our audiences could possibly result in change. I will not stop in my quest until someone “shows me the money” to make this film.
The Center for Independent Documentary have agreed to be my fiscal sponsors. They have 501 (c) non-profit status. Any contributions for this documentary are tax deductible. For more information on the project or how to contact my fiscal sponsors please email me.
Thank you in advance for your interest in this project.