Project X continues a collaboration between Poitras and Moltke that began with their reporting on documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, and is part of a joint reporting project between Field of Vision and The Intercept. On November 16, 2016, The Intercept published Ryan Gallagher and Moltke’s complementary story entitled, “Titanpointe: The NSA’s Spy Hub in New York, Hidden in Plain Sight,” which reveals the location of NSA’s NYC surveillance hub, and delves into he history of the structure, the man who designed it, the late John Carl Warnecke, and the secret NSA program run out of the building, called “Titanpointe”.

Project X is a visual excavation of Warnecke’s monolithic, windowless telecommunications building owned and operated by AT&T at 33 Thomas Street overlaid with readings from secret NSA documents. The actual voices supplying that audio are, in order of appearance: Rami Malek, Emmy Award-winning star of the USA Network television show Mr. Robot, as well as films such as The Master and Short Term 12; and Michelle Williams, the three-time Academy Award-nominated star of films such as Manchester by the Sea, Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, and My Week With Marilyn.

In this far-ranging conversation, Poitras and Moltke talk about the origins and nature of their collaboration, the process by which primary source texts become dramatically compelling cinema, working with actors to subtly characterize official documents, and the challenges of filming a building that somehow manages to be hidden in plain sight.

How did you find each other, and when did your collaboration begin?

Moltke: I was working on a radio documentary about the physicality of the Internet when Snowden came out. I tried to contact Laura, who was totally under siege at the time and starting to edit CITIZENFOUR. I didn’t hear back, so I travelled to Rio and convinced Glenn [Greenwald to work with me and a small team of Danish reporters from Information. I lived in Berlin, so Glenn introduced me to Laura. After reporting three stories involving Denmark - based on Snowden documents - Laura asked me to work with her directly.

Poitras: Both Henrik and I come out of other types of narrative work—narrative documentary and radio. The question was how to approach the [Snowden] archive visually, and with audio. How do you present things that aren’t just straight up news stories? How do you use primary documents to tell stories, and to make them come alive through the use of cinema and music. I think there’s a dialectic going on [in Project X] between the primary documents driving the visual choices and not just imposing a vision. I had been hungry to figure out a way to do that and this project gave us an opportunity.

Moltke: Between 32 Avenue of the Americas, which is the old AT&T headquarters, 60 Hudson Street, and 33 Thomas Street—those three building are really, really important for the internet. Most people don’t know this. That was something that had always fascinated me, the physicality of these [buildings]—and you can see all these markings on the streets, you can see these cables. So I started looking into it, and I started filming the building. One day we went down there and Laura decided to walk into the building, which I hadn’t done before. I’d never even thought about it. And in that moment I had an idea of what the movie would be. You’re in a place that’s totally normal, but there’s this other layer that’s totally secret and not there.

It’s clearly not inviting.

Moltke: Everything about the building tells you not to go in there. There’s just a guard, but you can’t get anywhere further, there’s a thick bulletproof sliding door. But somehow you don’t even think about it.

Poitras: All the kids in the neighborhood have myths about that building. It’s like a haunted house.

Moltke: The first night I filmed some guy came out from the building and said that I couldn’t film it because it’s a federal building. He then he started talking about 9/11 when I pointed out I was filming an AT&T building, not the Federal Building. It was really strange. I had a lot of experiences like that, people coming up and telling me random, sometimes striking details. One person working in the building told me he’d heard that Bush would have been taken to the building if he had been in NYC on 9/11, because it’s the safest place in the city.

Poitras: I had also been fascinated by the covert travel instructions since the first time I saw them. That there were guidelines for how people should travel as spies within the United States—they’re so fantastic as documents. The film allowed us to combine these two things—our interest in this building and these covert travel instructions.

It’s interesting to think about multiple stories with different forms and different expressions coming from a single archive like that. Here’s one source and all these different expressions. How do you identify what is going to be what? How do you sort through what makes sense as a written story, and what could be a film?

Moltke: For me, it’s a gut feeling. When I first found proof that identified AT&T as a partner, I had a clear idea [of the news story]. But also reading these documents you see images. In this instance the story worked both as an investigative news story and as a short film.

When did you know you had enough evidence to make the connections?

Poitras: It was the satellites on the roof.

Moltke: We contacted the FCC who confirmed that 33 Thomas Street was the only AT&T location in all of New York State that had a licensed satellite earth station. We knew the location was in New York and we knew they had a program that relied on satellite uplink, and we knew the partner was AT&T. That made it pretty clear. But from there to be able to go and convince an editor, that’s another long stretch.

Poitras: The way the archive appears, they use codenames for things that are the most sensitive. And one of the things that is most sensitive for the NSA are those partnerships with the telecoms—AT&T, Verizon. There are always codenames [for those].

Moltke: The whole design is made for you to not be able to figure out what it is.

In a way it’s really valuable to have to contend with the roadblocks. It allows us to understand how these systems, how the lack of transparency works.

Poitras: This is actually what Henrik has been doing for the past three years.

Moltke: And it drives you crazy. It’s fun but also…you go down these super long paths, and you just have to give up after a few weeks.

Does the path itself become valuable?

Moltke: Sometimes.

Poitras: I would say there was a parallel process in terms of both the work on this film and the work we did for the Whitney show in terms of just getting the facts right. In determining the public interest of information, and having a simultaneous publication of things that fit into the narrative of a film, or in an art sense, and of more hard news. That’s been one of the great things about collaborating with Henrik—he’s been able to straddle those things.

Moltke: I spent so much time in that archive that to go out and see the locations is such a surreal experience. I went down to look at the NSAs building in the National Business Parkway in Maryland. It’s such a strange place—it’s an actual business park. That’s where all the post 9/11 stuff, all the contractors moved in and for some reason you can actually film there

In his film you’ve got audio sources that don’t directly match the imagery, which goes from the evocative driving motif to vantages on and around 33 Thomas. Did you gather a lot of footage and pare it away in the editing room, or were you looking for specific visuals to shoot?

Moltke: Originally I went out and tried something, and showed it to Laura. And then we went and shot it with Jarred Alterman, who was a great DP to work with. Laura had a clear idea before we went on that trip of which kind of shots she wanted and how it would work with the audio.

Poitras: At some point we discovered all this backstory about the building and its amazing architect John Carl Warnecke, this fascinating Cold War character who not only designed this building but also a host of other government buildings. With Nels Bangerter, the editor, we started to map out how to approach the reveal of this building, and decided to use the road trip to get us there. We really needed to work with an editor who would be able to approach something conceptually, but also with a narrative heart to it.

Henrik, there’s a quote in your story about how the building kind of blends in with the city. And it’s really true—it inexplicably, creepily can disappear from view. And in the film you really convey that, especially with the night photography. You visualize it without having to say it.

Poitras: One of my favorite shots was one that Henrik took of the cityscape all lit up with this black monolith that’s all dark. We wanted to reveal the building at different stages: With more detail on the ground and then get it at elevation to see how it exists within and among buildings. It jumps out at you in a very different way than when you’re on the ground.

In your recent work, Laura, you’ve really been able to mine drama from landscape—I’m thinking especially about The Oath. But there you had characters. Was there a limit here to how far you could push things, narratively, without central characters?

Poitras: I do think that there are characters, actually. I think the narration in Project X function as characters in a very real sense.

They’re obviously providing an informational function—reading aloud from these documents. But how do you see them as characters?

Poitras: They’re voices of authority giving instruction, narrating the hidden world. They’re in a way hidden from us as people, but they are among us. There are people who go to work and are given these instructions. They’re on the subway sitting right next to you but they’re told what to tell their families, what to do and say—these characters kind of being the NSA.

Yet they’re talking to us.

Poitras: We wanted a sense of communication. It’s not a monologue. It’s a communication being directed at agents.

Moltke: There aren’t many documents that are like this. You definitely can sense from the documents that they’re trying to prevent blowing their cover. You would almost expect that you wouldn’t need to read these kinds of things if you were really good at cloak and dagger stuff, but the NSA is a different kind of organization, they’re not so used to working domestically and under cover.

There’s almost a soft quality to his text that lends itself to being a conversation. It’s practical information for a client, not orders from a superior. It’s interesting when something written gets read aloud in that way. It automatically makes it more human since there’s interpretation in the expression, even if only mildly. When people write documents like that, they’re not writing for vocalization.

Poitras: There’s the male voice, Rami Malek, which has this kind of whispering in your ear quality. And then there’s a more authoritarian female voice, which is Michelle Williams, that’s more dictating, a more distant voice.

How did you come to work with Rami and Michelle?

Poitras: Henrik and I are both big Mr. Robot fans. I had asked Sam Esmail to be an Executive Producer on my film Risk, which is about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Then, right before we sent the e-mail invitation to Rami, we saw the last episode of Mr. Robot, which freaked us both out because the cliffhanger was all based around 33 Thomas Street. It’s actually crazy.

What was it like directing Rami? [At the time of this interview, Michelle Williams hadn’t recorded her part.]

Moltke: I was very impressed with his skills. He’s so good at nailing details. With documentaries you’re used to getting one chance and then you have to work with what you have, so this was obviously an amazing experience.

Poitras: The way he read lines, he brought this really human touch.

Were there different takes on how to do that voice?

Poitras: Yeah, we did a range of, “how official or how distant or how whispering in your ear should it be?” It’s not just somebody speaking to himself, but communicating to an agent who’s making this drive.

Why the two voices, instead of just Rami?

Poitras: We had different primary documents, and we wanted them to be different characters. So we had the male voice reading the travel guide for the road trip, and then the other being the official voice. They’re both coming from within the NSA, but they have different qualities. At one point we thought about having a third voice, since we’re pulling from three different sets of documents, but we ultimately settled on two.

And were Rami’s repeated readings of the word “redacted” incorporated into the text?

Poitras: It was put in later.

Moltke: I changed the names of everything that needed to be redacted. It was a difficult choice: how do you represent text redaction in audio?

Poitras: We tried doing a beep, tried reverse audio.

Moltke: Scrambling.

Poitras: I wasn’t convinced it was going to work until I heard Rami speak it. Once he said it, I knew it was really good. It added a level of humor. It was a great thing to be wrong about.

Was it just the one usage used over and over again?

Poitras: No, he read it a bunch of times. And we used different versions.

Moltke: I’m a total redaction nerd. Working with the documents can be very boring and repetitive and Kafkaesque at times. When we’re able to come up with something that is so condensed and aesthetically pleasing it makes me happier to do the less inspiring work, which still needs to be done, and without errors.

Poitras: One of the great things about working with Henrik is that, of course these documents are newsworthy, but there’s a limit to how far you can go with that. How can you go into a different space which is—what does it feel like, what does it do to you to be a spy? What does it feel like when you can’t talk to people about what you do? How do you live with that? It’s a crazy, schizophrenic way to live. That’s not news—that’s a human question. And that’s the stuff I’m drawn to.

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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

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