Thursday, October 04, 2012

Portrait of a Filmmaker—Saeed Taji Farouky

Saeed Taji Farouky was born in the United Kingdom to Palestinian-Egyptian parents and grew up between London and various Middle Eastern cities. He is an award-winning human rights documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on several underreported issues and marginalized communities. His films are concerned with transparency in documentary filmmaking, often referencing the relationship between subject and filmmaker. In 2011 he was awarded a Senior Fellowship at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) for his documentary work, and has previously been named Artist-in-Residence at the British Museum (twice) and at Tate Britain. Farouky is also a human rights educator with Amnesty and teaches filmmaking at London's Metropolitan Film School, located in Ealing Studios. But Saeed, like so many filmmakers and artists… has a very special dream.

I took a personal interest in his project because it envelops the imagination and feed our sense of what matters most in our world. This week on The UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate Radio Show, I will be interviewing Saeed. Not because he is a popular filmmaker with name recognition and a Hollywood budget which affords him a lavish lifestyle… No, Saeed has none of these often "worshiped" attributes… but he has a longing, a sincere passion to make a difference… not in an industry where everyone seeks fame and name recognition. But on the planet, OUR planet, a place that we look at from afar but rarely venture into on a much deeper level. So I plan to share Saeed's "vision" with all of you in hopes that it will inspire you to follow your dreams and in the process, change the way we see things, one dream at a time.

As I mentioned in a post/comment about this project: "If EVERYONE that read this gave these guys just $10.00, they would meet their goal and realize their dream. Dreams matter. We need to tap into our humanity, be a tad bit more selfless and commit some random acts of "making dreams come true". Why else are we really here? It certainly isn't to save up until we’re 65 and are too tired to actually "enjoy" it. Remember people, it’s the seemingly insignificant kindness we share that gives us something back every single time… we just aren't as aware of it as we should be.”

Read on below to learn more about Saeed’s film and join us at The UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate Radio Show on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at 6:00 PM Eastern Standard time at in Studio A to hear a "Portrait of a Filmmaker". 

Archives of the show can be found at:

"…Even That Void looks gorgeous and will resonate with many at a time when the official notion of 'environmentalism' as an 'ism' is no longer working…" —Maude Barlow, Chair of Council of Canadians, Co-Founder of Blue Planet Project

There Will Be Some Who Will Not Fear Even That Void is an ecological film for the 21st century that asks, "Can art save the Arctic?" It is a film about the future of our planet that will turn the traditional environmental documentary on its head. Rather than looking at our influence on the environment, …Even That Void examines the environment's influence on us— emotionally, psychologically and ethically. …Even That Void was shot over a two and a half week sailing voyage on a tall ship carrying twenty artists around Norway's remote Arctic Svalbard Archipelago. The documentary brilliantly chronicles the bizarre, surreal, beautiful and frightening work of the artists, living aboard the ship, landing daily and making work in response to the extreme environment and innate poetry of the Arctic landscape.

While the footage is real— made up of the Director's observations of and collaborations with the other artists— the plot is all fictional. The Director imagines the artists as a team of specialists sent on a mission in the future to rebuild the Arctic environment after it has been nearly completely decimated by global warming. With no master plan, maps or blueprints, each artist recreates the Arctic of his or her own memories, fears, desires and (flawed) expectations. Ultimately, the film is a love-letter to the Arctic: obsessive, affectionate, heart-breaking. The sense of wonder at the landscape is be balanced by darker contemporary concerns: global warming, the Arctic resource race, the political tension of a militarized Arctic and the disappearance of the last great wilderness.

The Kickstarter Donation Page can be found at:

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