Matthew Cassel has reported on the Middle East for over a decade, including a five-year stint covering the Arab world for Al Jazeera. Living and working in Istanbul, he saw the rising tide of refugees making their way to Europe in 2014. But as he noted in an interview with Field Notes, traditional news outlets were slow to recognize the gravity of the crisis. While coverage existed, media attention didn’t intensify “until Alan Kurdi, who was the young poor kid from Kobaní, inside Syria, washed up on the shore in Turkey — if you remember that iconic image from September of 2015,” he said. “But there were people who were dying, people who were struggling to get to Europe before that.”

Among the more than 1 million people to undertake that journey was Aboud Shalhoub, a Syrian jeweler whom Cassel met in Istanbul. From Turkey to Greece, and through Eastern Europe to the Netherlands, Cassel made the migration with Shalhoub, creating a six-part documentary film recorded over an eventful and tumultuous year. Produced by Field of Vision in collaboration with The New Yorker, The Journey can be viewed here. Reached via Skype in Istanbul, Cassel talked about meeting and growing close to Shalhoub, the importance of telling a parallel narrative of Shalhoub’s family in Damascus, and the value of long-form, ground-level reporting inside itinerant communities.

How did you come to make a film about Aboud Shalhoub? Did you meet organically or were you explicitly looking for a subject to follow?

Matthew Cassel: I live in Istanbul and speak Arabic, and have lived among Syrians and Palestinians and other refugee communities in this region for a very long time. Last year I knew something big was going on, because so many of my Syrian friends in Istanbul were looking for a way out. I was working somewhat regularly for an outlet and tried to pitch numerous stories on Syrian refugees, but there was very little interest among editors, especially those based in the U.S. and Europe. Then I met this guy Aboud. He’s a father trying to make a living for himself in Turkey, working as hard as he can and barely making enough to support himself, let alone his two kids and wife back in Syria. He couldn’t go back to Syria, so he felt his only option was to travel to Europe and apply for asylum and then family reunification. That was the only way he could be with his family. My bosses weren’t really interested in the story, but I was interested in Aboud — I was amazed by his motivation and what he was willing to do to be with his family. So I was like, fuck it — I picked up a camera and started filming with him, and kind of self-funded for the first four or five months. I had no idea, and he had no idea, what would happen one day to the next, and I just got deeper and deeper into it with him until we crossed the whole Balkans by foot.

Did Aboud have a sense that his story was representative of a larger phenomenon? Did he understand the significance of what your making a film about his story could mean?

Cassel: I don’t think so. He’s just one guy. He didn’t see himself representing a bigger trend or anything like that. He’s Syrian, he loves Syria like most Syrians do, and he wanted to stay close to Syria. But he knew, like many Syrians, that he couldn’t go back, and just had this very clear objective to get to a place where he could be with his wife and his kids. And he took it one step at a time until he eventually made it there.

I guess I’m still curious about what you discussed with Aboud in terms of your plans for the film, and why he let you into his life.

Cassel: I don’t know if he was crazy about being on camera or anything — I mean, you always have to question why someone agrees to be filmed. Is it because they want their face on camera, or want their story told, or want help? The way I actually met Aboud was that he was introduced to me through a mutual friend. [Aboud and his brother] were trying to go to Greece, and they came to me because I’m a foreigner and journalist and they thought I might have connections with the U.N. in Greece and help prevent them from being sent back by border guards. Which eventually did happen. I think maybe Aboud and the guys who were with him knew — and rightfully so — that if there was an American journalist with them it would provide some kind of protection if they were to get arrested by border guards. That it could prevent them from being abused or detained and sent back or whatever.

It’s one thing to have an intimacy with Aboud, with whom you wound up spending many months, but during that journey there seems to have been an incredible ease between you and the rest of the emigres as well. The camera just seems to be there.

Cassel: This is how I feel journalism should really be done. You feel like you’re actually practicing real journalism when you can be so close to people as opposed to just getting a sound bite. I completely immersed myself in this group of people and followed them. What helped the camera disappear for the group is that I was doing the trip, just as they were. Sure, I’m an American, I have all kinds of privilege, and my motivations for doing the trip were not the same motivations they had. I’m not trying to claim in any way that I was one of them. But in a sense I was, because I was going through the same hardships that they were. We were sleeping together in farmlands, we were bathing in rivers together, we were getting food from gas stations and were worried about getting arrested by police. I think some people were skeptical of me, but for the core of the group, and the group that I spent a lot of time with, I just became one of the travelers in their group, and I happened to have a camera with me.

There were no other crew members?

Cassel: I did it all on my own.

When did the Damascus part come into it, and how did you manage and orchestrate footage that you weren’t there to film?

Cassel: That was something crucial, because I didn’t want to focus only on the journey. I wanted to tell a full picture of this family. We’ve heard a lot about the journey from various news reports since 2015, what people go through. But for me the most crucial part of this story is the family reunification process. That’s what’s motivating Aboud to do it. People accuse refugees and migrants of coming to Europe to take jobs, or to take money from the rich European states, but for Aboud it was nothing like that. Aboud wanted to get there because he saw it as the only viable option for reuniting with his wife and two kids. So to do this story properly I had to film this bigger story, and that meant also filming in Damascus. For me to get a visa to Damascus would have been very difficult, so I ended up hiring a great young videographer, Simon Safieh, who was able to film with the family. One of the most important parts of the entire series is when we see Christine and the two kids, Joseph and Natalia, leaving home in Episode 5, and saying goodbye to their family. We don’t often get to see how difficult a decision it is for people coming from Damascus — which is an ancient city, one of the oldest in the world — to just get up and go to rural Netherlands. Do you think people want to leave Damascus where they’ve lived for 2,000 plus years and just move? Of course they don’t, so it’s a very difficult choice. It’s really crucial to understand who these refugees and economic migrants coming to Western countries are, and what they’re leaving behind.

Those scenes really are crucial. You get a chance to see that they have a life there, they have a home, which they’re giving up for such uncertainty and often danger. I also love the meaningful banality of him talking about adjusting to the cold and worrying about Christine leaving the warmth of their homeland.

Cassel: I’ve been to many towns in rural Netherlands and Germany and Sweden over the course of the past year, following different families and people who I’ve met along the way. I’ve also been to Damascus many times. And I can tell you that if I had the choice — and no offense against Northern Europe — but I would definitely choose Damascus over, you know, Voorthuizen, Netherlands. I think Aboud would too, but circumstances are beyond his control.

In the fifth episode there’s talk about how much Aboud has changed over the 2 1/2 years he and Christine have been apart, and I wonder what you felt as that evolved, having never met Christine, and having seen the ways Aboud had adjusted to life on his own.

Cassel: I was really nervous about it for them. I mean, this is almost three years of them not seeing each other, and people change over time. Aboud never lived during the uprising and the war and all of that, and Christine was in the heart of it, while Aboud was on his own trying to make a life in Istanbul. I was on the plane with the family before we reconnected with Aboud, and I was thinking: “What’s going to happen when Aboud sees his wife, when he sees his two kids?” When you think about leaving your two children who were around 5 and 2 1/2 the last time you saw them, to not see them for three years, that’s just incredible. No parent should have to go that long without seeing their kids. So it was really hard holding the camera when Aboud finally got to embrace his young daughter and his young son for the first time. They’re different people, you know? They’re probably twice the size that they were when he last saw them. Thankfully I had a second camera person there because I was really struggling to hold the camera steady at that moment — it was very emotional for everyone.

The footage incorporates people in the background at the airport smiling, or just glancing over at the reunion, and I couldn’t help but think that they have no idea what the story is. We see reunions like that every day, and we never know what led people there.

Cassel: After being part of that incident, I now look at families and people waiting and saying goodbye at airports and wonder more about their own stories.

How did you come to shape the film into six chapters and conceive of doling out footage episodically?

Cassel: I’ve worked for a lot of TV outlets that have very structured, fixed formats. But I know that my peers and friends, and especially people younger than me, aren’t relying on TV as much as they once did for news. I love when content is available for free online to whoever has an internet connection. It can be played whenever you sit down at your computer — you don’t have to wait for 8 o’clock on BBC, CBS, or CNN. I’m not interested in TV or distribution or film festivals or anything, I just want the film to go online so everyone can watch it. So the episodic format I think works better for people who are going to sit down and watch 10 or 12 minutes instead of putting in an hour and 20. I think the episodic format works better for that.

I watched it in one sitting, which helped me to see and feel the full arc of the journey. But I could also appreciate how each episode has a shape and thematic thrust of its own.

Cassel: At the end it’s still one narrative. We’d decided on the episodic [structure] after I’d filmed most of it so it was more about editing the episodes down and giving them a unique identity apart from the one before and after. Although if it weren’t an episodic film we might not have done Episode 6. We added this other episode to give more of a contextual picture of what’s happening in Europe at the moment with the rise of the far right, with the attacks on refugees.

Episode 6 also sees us revisit the woman with her daughters we’d met on the journey. Had you been in touch with her throughout?

Cassel: Yeah, those two girls are so important to me. They changed the group dynamic. Before those two girls came it was a group of guys 35 and younger, and everyone’s kind of macho and whatnot. Then these two little girls join the group and turned us into this group of caring uncles. We all felt a responsibility to look out for them. Those two girls are so amazing. I never lost contact with them and I have no plan of ever going out of contact with them.

You can see how they change things in the film. They show up and there’s that moment of, “Oh, they might drag us down, this will make the journey harder,” but then seconds later they’re on everybody’s shoulders.

Cassel: They added so much levity to the journey. It was like, if these 5- and 6-year-old sisters aren’t complaining, how can the rest of us be complaining? They’re just laughing and having fun the whole time, and it was really a joy to have them on the trip. And their mother, Fadwa, is obviously very strong and brave for what she endured and what she did to get them to Sweden.

What’s it like to experience such depth of intimacy, over such a long time, and then publicly share it through your film?

Cassel: I’m very fortunate that I was able to spend time with people like Aboud, Christine, Fadwa and all of the others on the trip, getting close to them so I could tell their stories in an accurate and intimate way. I feel that for various reasons this has been lacking in the reporting of this issue. These are just a few people at the heart of the story, and they’re not necessarily the same as everyone else. I’m really happy that it’s going to be out there, that people are going to get to see at least a few individual stories and get a sense of who these people are, and why they’re making the trip.

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Field of Vision announces today a new fellowship and its first-ever artist-in-residence. 

The Field of Vision fellowship is a year-long, collaborative program designed to support filmmakers in achieving their long-term artistic goals. The four 2018 Field of Vision fellows are: director Garrett Bradley (AloneBelow Dreams); director, actor, and activist Michelle Latimer (RiseChoke); filmmaker Charlie Lyne (Fish StoryBeyond Clueless); and Lyric Cabral, director of the Emmy-winning documentary (T)error.

“We are establishing this fellowship program to support filmmakers beyond project-based commissions, and to invite artists to collaborate in our editorial process," said Field of Vision executive producer Laura Poitras.  

The first year of fellows were selected from filmmakers who had worked with Field of Vision over the last three years. In addition to creating a framework for idea development, creative support, and a grant, Field of Vision will conduct workshops throughout the year in the areas of digital security, research, and legal issues. Fellows will also be invited to participate in Field of Vision’s editorial process, from identifying urgent stories to offering filmmaker feedback and guidance.

“We have wanted to support filmmakers in as many ways as possible since the beginning of Field of Vision,” said executive producer Charlotte Cook. “We are so thrilled to create these fellowships to be able to collaborate further with these incredible artists, all of whom are visionaries whose work is at the forefront of exploring the ways of combining art and storytelling and expanding the form.”

In addition to the four fellows, Field of Vision and First Look Media are jointly supporting data artist Josh Begley as an artist-in-residence in 2018. On staff at The Intercept since 2014, Begley has regularly collaborated with the publication’s co-founder Jeremy Scahill on multiple projects, including The Drone Papers. Begley’s first project as artist-in-residence is Concussion Protocol, a short film made with footage of all reported concussions sustained in the NFL this season. It has been viewed over 1.6 million times. 

January was a landmark month for Field of Vision. Yance Ford’s Strong Island, made with support from Field of Vision, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, marking the first nomination for an openly transgender director. 

Five Field of Vision-supported documentaries also screened at Sundance Film Festival, and three received special jury awards: Steve Maing’s Crime + Punishment; RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening; and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s Our New President

Founded in 2015, Field of Vision has funded over 70 shorts and provided support for 10 feature documentaries. Field of Vision is the recipient of the International Documentary Association’s Best Short Form Series award and a News and Documentary Emmy nomination. 

About the Fellows:

Garrett Bradley

Garrett Bradley is a New Orleans-based filmmaker. Her debut feature documentary,Below Dreams, premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Her work has been exhibited in several prominent venues, including the Getty Museum, Hammer Museum, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinema Montreal, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rooftop Films, New Orleans Film Festival, Hot Docs, and SXSW. Her short film Alone (Sundance 2017), which was released as part of the New York Times’s Op-Docs series, won a Sundance Jury Award and was shortlisted for an Academy Award. She has received fellowships from the Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, and Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Garrett is also the co-founder of Creative Council, an artist-led afterschool program that helps high school students develop strong portfolios and applications for college. She currently teaches filmmaking at Loyola University.

Recent Field of Vision films: Like (SXSW 2016), The Earth is Humming (to be released)

Lyric Cabral

Director Lyric R. Cabral creates investigative work that exposes new information for the public record. Cabral’s directorial debut (T)error won an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Documentary and was hailed by Variety as "a vital exposé.” (T)error has screened at more than 50 film festivals worldwide and is now available on Netflix. Lyric is a recipient of the International Documentary Association’s Emerging Filmmaker Award and has been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. A current Rockwood/ Just Films Fellow, Lyric is a former Sundance Women in Film Fellow and a veteran of Sundance Institute’s Edit Lab and Creative Producing Lab. Prior to making films, Lyric worked as an editorial photojournalist; her photography was recently on exhibit in Gordon Parks: The Making of An Argument at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.

Recent Field of Vision film: The Rashomon Effect (in production)

Michelle Latimer

Michelle Latimer (Métis/Algonquin) is a Toronto-based writer, director, activist, and actor. Her body of work includes Choke (Sundance 2011), which received a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Honorable Mention in International Short Filmmaking and was chosen as one of TIFF Canada’s Top Ten in 2012; The Underground (TIFF 2014); Nimmikaage (Oberhausen 2016); the feature-length documentary ALIAS, which was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award; and the Viceland docuseries Rise (Sundance 2017). Michelle is currently working on her first dramatic feature The Freedom Project, adapting the bestselling novel The Inconvenient Indian (HBO/NFB) for screen, and being the showrunner for the seriesRed Nation Rising, which is in development for Sienna. She has programmed for ImagineNATIVE, Hot Docs Film Festival, and the Dawson City International Short Film Festival.

Recent Field of Vision film: Nuuca (TIFF 2017, Sundance 2018)

Charlie Lyne

Charlie Lyne is a filmmaker and film critic, best known for the essay films Beyond Clueless and Fear Itself. He has also directed a number of shorts, including the award-winning documentary Fish Story, and the 10-hour protest film Paint Drying. His work has screened at festivals including Sundance, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and SXSW.

Recent Field of Vision film: Personal Truth (IDFA 2017)

About the Artist-in-Residence:

Josh Begley

Josh Begley is a data artist and app developer based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the creator of Metadata+, an iPhone app that tracks U.S. drone strikes. Begley’s work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, The Intercept, The Guardian, New York Magazine, and at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Recent Field of Vision films: Best of Luck with the Wall (Doc Stories 2016, True/False 2017), Concussion Protocol

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American football is a beautiful sport. There’s a tremendous amount of grace that goes into it. For a moment, men can fly; the highlight reels are spectacular.

It can also be horrific — like watching someone get hit by a car.

Since the season started, there have been more than 280 concussions in the NFL. That is an average of 12 concussions per week. Though it claims to take head injuries very seriously, the National Football League holds this data relatively close. It releases yearly statistics, but those numbers are published in aggregate, making it difficult to glean specific insights.

I have been tracking these injuries all season. Using a variety of methods, including reviewing daily injury reports from NFL.com, I have created what I believe is the most complete dataset of individual concussions sustained during the 2017-2018 season.

The resulting film, “Concussion Protocol,” is a visual record of every concussion in the NFL this year.

This film does not make an argument for ending football. Rather, it invites a set of questions. In the spirit of Saidiya Hartman, I am interested in “defamiliarizing the familiar.”

When we watch American football, what are we seeing?

By cutting together only these scenes of injury — moments of impact, of intimacy, of trauma — and reversing them, I hope to open up a space to see some of this violence anew.

In his recent book “Black and Blur,” Fred Moten asks, “What is it to rewind the given? What is it to wound it? What is it to be given to this wounding and rewinding?”

Representing this series of collisions in reverse — and in slow motion or “dragged time” — I hope to make strange what has for many of us become normative: the spectacular, devouring moment of a football hit that knocks a player out cold.

Rather than making a film about concussions with a flurry of hard hits, however, I am interested — inspired by Hartman — in looking elsewhere. How might we see the totality of this violence without just replaying the violence itself? “By defamiliarizing the familiar,” Hartman writes in “Scenes of Subjection,” “I hope to illuminate the terror of the mundane and quotidian rather than exploit the shocking spectacle.”

In a moment when black athletes are being chastised for kneeling in protest of police violence, it should not be lost on us that calls to “get back on the field” or “stick to football” are also calls for players to subject themselves to the slower forms of violence the football field contains.

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Field of Vision is debuting their new film, A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN by Marshall Curry.

A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN (Dir. Marshall Curry)

In 1939, twenty-thousand Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN uses striking archival fragments recorded that night to transport modern audiences into this disturbing gathering. With chilling resonance in light of events in Charlottesville and around the country, the film is a reminder about the power that far-right ideology once had in America and a wakeup call about the importance of to addressing it today.

From Field of Vision Co-Founders:

Laura Poitras: "When Marshall approached us with the film two days after Charlottesville, my first thought was, 'we need to put this film in cinemas,' and release it like a newsreel."

Charlotte Cook: “When Marshall first showed us this footage we were stunned. We felt that due to this political climate it was essential to get this film out fast, but also that to do so we needed to try a different style of distribution. By playing in theatres across the country first we hope this the film will be able to reach beyond our usual audience, and into a range of communities and cities around the US. Creating a conversation around the film from the ground up. It’s extremely exciting to be able to do this with Marshall, a filmmaker we’ve been wanting to work with for a long time. And this film is so incredibly well, and thoughtfully, made. We can’t wait for people to see it.”

On Sunday September 24, the film will be shown across the country at 22 screens in Alamo theaters in:

Kansas City

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/american-assassin

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/it-2017

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/kingsman-the-golden-circle

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/mother

Yonkers

https://drafthouse.com/yonkers/show/3-d-rarities

https://drafthouse.com/yonkers/show/solaris-4k-restoration

San Francisco

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/ingrid-goes-west

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/beach-rats

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/infinity-baby

Brooklyn

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/zardoz

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/dunkirk

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/good-time

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/mother

Austin Lakeline

Austin Mueller

Austin Ritz

Austin Slaughter

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/mother

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/grindhouse

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/stronger

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/the-big-sick

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/brads-status

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/tough-guy-cinema-repo-man

The film is also playing at the IFC Center in New York until Friday playing before the 12:30pm showing of “The Unknown Girl."

The film will be part of a special event at the NYFF, and more festivals to come, along with an online release.

About Marshall Curry: MARSHALL CURRY is a two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker. His film, “Street Fight,” follows Cory Booker’s first run for mayor of Newark, NJ and was nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy. His follow up documentary, “Racing Dreams” tells the story of two boys and a girl who live in rural America and dream of one day racing in NASCAR. It won numerous awards, including Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, and aired on PBS and the BBC. His third film, “If a Tree Falls, a Story of the Earth Liberation Front” peels back the layers of a radical environmental group that the FBI called the number one domestic terrorist group in the United States. That film won the award for Best Documentary Editing at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to be nominated for an Oscar. Marshall was Executive Producer and an additional editor of “Mistaken For Strangers,” a comedy rock-doc about indie band, The National. Most recently Marshall directed and edited “Point and Shoot,” a documentary about a young Baltimore native who set out on a 30,000-mile motorcycle trip through Northern Africa and the Middle East and wound up joining the rebels in Libya fighting Gaddafi. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released in theaters and aired on PBS and the BBC. Marshall is a graduate of Swarthmore College where he studied Comparative Religion and has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, Columbia, NYU, and other colleges. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and children.

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Before directing Field of Vision’s latest film, “Duterte’s Hell,” with Aaron Goodman, Luis Liwanag worked as a photojournalist for local and foreign press in the Philippines. In the following essay, he reflects on his transition from taking still photographs to filmmaking, and what it was like to capture the horrors of President Duterte’s “war on drugs.

I discovered photography when I was 11. My family did not own a single camera, but our neighborhood sorbetero [ice cream vendor] had a twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera and would take our family photos for us. I remember we had so many that when I opened my mother’s closet, dozens of photo albums would cascade down from the shelves. My dad, an artist and illustrator, kept stacks of old National Geographic, Time, and Life magazines tucked away in his filing cabinet. I bought my first camera at age 12: a Kodak Instamatic. I guess you could say I was destined to be in this line of work.

As a kid, I would just snap pictures of my friends in school. As an adult, being a photographer has given me the power to make observations about daily life in my country and voice my opinion on certain issues.

When President Rodrigo Duterte came into power, the rampage of extrajudicial killings started. My fellow journalists were covering the night shifts at the police headquarters. Reports would come in—either from radio dispatch or via Twitter—and they would travel to crime scenes in convoys. It was only a matter of time before I decided to started going with them, to see the effects of Duterte’s war on drugs for myself.

Shooting this and other documentaries has been transformative experience for me. When working as a hired photojournalist, I didn’t really set up my shots—I just filmed whatever is happening right in front of me.

And as I witnessed the aftermath of the slayings, I felt like I was reconnecting to my old self. I was a police beat photographer at the onset of my career, but later shifted to more varied issues and mainstream news coverage. I became focused on issues dictated by the editorial policies of media entities that employed me.

Now, as a freelancer—and particularly with this film—I’ve had the leeway to choose stories that I feel I can interpret better visually. And although the nightly spate of killings numbed me in some ways, I felt for the people directly or indirectly affected by them.

A couple of months into photographing the killings in Manila and its surrounding metro area, Aaron Goodman, an educator and video journalist whom I had worked with previously, saw my images on social media and asked me if I was interested in collaborating with him on a video documentary about Duterte’s drug war.

While filming, we had to maintain a low-key lighting style, and only expose for the midtones. I wanted to be unobtrusive and invisible while shooting the events so that we left as few traces of ourselves as possible.

We had a limited amount of time to set up each shot. When you’re filming events as they unfold, you don’t really have control over what is going to happen. You have to visualize the image in your mind’s eye beforehand, and shoot whatever occurs in the moment.

While filming, we were very attuned to the sounds, textures, emotions and details of each scene. My approach was to linger in a single framed shot as if it was a single image and slowly transition into another well-composed frame and capture the entire story happening between those frames.

Although I am an advocate of still photographs and what photography great Henri Cartier- Bresson calls “the decisive moment,” I have discovered that video, though more fleeting, can be equally powerful in stringing together single images to make a powerful statement.

See Goodman and Liwanag’s film here:

To see more work by Luis Liwanag, visit his website here. To see the work of Aaron Goodman, visit his website here.

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STANLEY NELSON AND LAURA POITRAS PRODUCED DOC SHORT SERIES TO PREMIERE ONLINE AT FUSION

New York, NY (May 17, 2017) - Starting May 18, 2017, Fusion will unveil the first in a series of short films from the Our 100 Days initiative from Firelight Media and Field of Vision. The films explore threats to U.S. democracy and the stories of targeted communities in the current highly polarized political climate. Episodes will be released weekly, beginning with directors Sofian Khan and Nausheen Dadabhoy’s Act of Worship, a rare behind-the-scenes look at CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a champion of civil rights for Muslims in the US that finds itself in the crosshairs of a new administration’s policies.

“The current moment in the U.S. is a result of our collective refusal to tell the whole story of America. Not only do we need new stories, we need new storytellers. At Firelight, we have been committed to supporting storytellers of color for many years,” shares documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. “The partnership with Field of Vision has allowed us to deepen that support by providing filmmakers of color with the resources and platform necessary to create powerful cinematic narratives that deepen our understanding of these frightening times.”

The series will also feature work from filmmakers: Cecilia Aldarondo, Chelsea Hernandez & Iliana Sosa, Adele Pham, Lorena Manriquez & Marlene McCurtis, Nadia Hallgren, and Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman. The films examine, among other topics, the immigration issue through the intimate lens of motherhood; a history of racially-motivated violence in one of America’s most iconic liberal cities; the fight for protections for trans students through the lens of one Virginia teenager; and the rapid response by Muslim attorneys navigating the chaotic rollout of the travel ban.

“This collaboration with Firelight is a way to channel our collective horror about Trump's election. By documenting these first 100 days from the perspective of communities most at risk - immigrants, Muslim Americans, transgender men and women - we want to reveal the threats our country is facing, and not normalize this political moment,” says Field of Vision co-creator Laura Poitras.

Fusion Editor-in-Chief Dodai Stewart adds, "This series of beautiful short films — highlighting social and economic injustices — aligns with Fusion’s mission to cover underrepresented people and amplify the voices of the vulnerable."

In an effort to maximize the reach and impact of the films, local and national organizations will participate in weekly Twitter chats to engage the broad public in online conversations about the issues in the films. The Twitter chats will occur at 1pm ET / 10am PT every Thursday throughout the series run using the #Our100Days hashtag and will be moderated by Firelight Media. The weekly Twitter chats will give online viewers an opportunity to delve deeper into the issues and engage with the film directors, protagonists, and partner organizations.

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ABOUT FIELD OF VISION

Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven documentary unit that commissions and creates original short-form nonfiction films about developing and ongoing stories around the globe. Field of Vision is committed to making cinematic work that tells the stories of our world from different perspectives. Our films are distributed through a variety of partners including news organizations, film festivals, online platforms, broadcast, streaming and cable.

ABOUT FIRELIGHT MEDIA & FIRELIGHT FILMS

Firelight produces award-winning films that expose injustice, illuminate the power of community and tell a history seldom told, and connects films with concrete and innovative ways for diverse audiences to be inspired, educated, and mobilized into action. Through our Documentary Lab, Firelight is dedicated to developing and supporting talented, diverse documentary filmmakers who advance underrepresented stories, moving them from the margins to the forefront of mainstream media through high quality, powerful productions.

ABOUT FUSION

Fusion is news for the new America: a young, diverse, social justice-minded audience.

MEDIA CONTACT After Bruce PR Tracy Nguyen-Chung tracy@afterbruce.com 503-701-2115

Field_Notes

Interviews with the filmmakers, announcements and other news from Field of Vision.

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Featured

Crooked Lines (11 min.)

Monica Berra, Yoruba Richen and Jacqueline Olive

Nuuca (12 min.)

Michelle Latimer

More to Watch

44 Messages from Catalonia (18 min.)

Anna Giralt Gris and Ross Domoney

CamperForce (16 min.)

Brett Story and Jessica Bruder

Graven Image (10 min.)

Sierra Pettengill

Our 100 Days 7/7

American Carnage (9 min.)

Farihah Zaman and Jeff Reichert

The Town I Live In (10 min.)

Matt Wolf and Guadalupe Rosales

Captured in Sudan (28 min.)

Phil Cox, Daoud Hari and Giovanna Stopponi

Timberline (12 min.)

Elaine McMillion Sheldon

Duterte’s Hell (8 min.)

Aaron Goodman and Luis Liwanag

Conditioned Response (6 min.)

Craig Atkinson and Laura Hartrick

Our 100 Days 4/7

Here I’ll Stay (10 min.)

Lorena Manríquez and Marlene McCurtis

Our 100 Days 3/7

An Uncertain Future (11 min.)

Chelsea Hernandez and Iliana Sosa

Our 100 Days 1/7

An Act of Worship (9 min.)

Sofian Khan and Nausheen Dadabhoy

The Moderators (20 min.)

Adrian Chen and Ciaran Cassidy

Clowns (7 min.)

Alex Kliment, Dana O'Keefe and Mike Tucker

Project X (10 min.)

Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke

Hopewell (3 min.)

Lorena Manríquez

The Vote (12 min.)

Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko

Like (9 min.)

Garrett Bradley

Concerned Student 1950 (32 min.)

Adam Dietrich, Varun Bajaj and Kellan Marvin

Peace in the Valley (15 min.)

Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher

Homeland is not a Series (7 min.)

Arabian Street Artists Heba Y. Amin, Caram Kapp and Don Karl aka Stone

#ThisIsACoup 4/4

Surrender or Die (16 min.)

Theopi Skarlatos and Paul Mason

Eric & “Anna” (14 min.)

Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway

Birdie (14 min.)

Heloisa Passos

The Above (8 min.)

Kirsten Johnson