An international development worker writes a screenplay about a Palestinian high school exchange student - in the Midwest.
About the Screenplay:
Imagine an American high school movie with an international and political twist. In a small, rural town in the midwest, a Palestinian exchange student comes to live with a typical American family. Before his arrival, everything that his host family, classmates, and neighbors knew about Palestinians came from the news programs they chose to watch. But as they get to know this new person in their daily lives, everything that they thought they knew is knocked on its heels. His personality, perspectives, growing friendships with his teachers and classmates, and all of their interactions in each others' lives completely transform the understanding and worldview of those around him. As the school year draws to a close, they begin to wonder if he is just a wonderful person...or someone they never expected.
About the Residency
Funding this Kickstarter campaign will make it possible for me to accept a residency position in Turkey this September, where I am honored to have been selected as a 2013 resident writer at the Babayan Culture House to work specifically on this project. During the residency, I will spend a month focused on writing this screenplay in the village of Ibrahimpasa, in the company of other artists for shared creative energy, inspiration, and collaborative feedback through weekly resident artist meetings. I will stay in a restored cave room for the solitude needed to write, and will have the opportunity to interview people in the region for their insights. As writers know, context is everything, and through this residency my words will benefit from the local people, region and landscape for inspiration and focus.
Residency link: http://www.transartists.org/air/babayan-culture-house
About My Background
My first experience overseas was a summer spent in the Middle East during the 1989 Palestinian Intifada. Being there and bearing witness, especially as a teenager who grew up in the midwest, transformed my worldview and understanding of what was really going on in that conflict, and for the first time I was able to see how differently that information is dispersed here at home. My study of anthropology in college deepened that worldview, and my experiences as a relief worker over the next 15 years - in El Salvador, Pakistan, and other parts of the developing world - gave me a solid education in listening, in learning how to be quiet and to really listen to people's stories, stories that they deeply need to tell - and that desperately need to be heard. In order to reach beyond those who would read a book on this topic, my aim is to tell this story in a way that entertains as well as informs - through the universal medium of film.
The funds raised through this campaign will cover my month-long residency fee at the Babayan Culture House, writing materials and software, communications and some of my travel expenses. Thank you so much for helping to make this project possible. Your support means the world to me, and I truly believe that telling this story is important for all of us.
Risks and challenges
Real stories about real people's lives are so important, and I know that telling them is one of the reasons I'm here. I've overcome a lot of obstacles in my many years of development work, in intercultural collaboration, solving logistical challenges and breaking down misconceptions and working to replace them with truth - by listening and practicing a whole lot of flexibility and grace. Life doesn't always unfold the way we plan it, but it is in the transformation of those challenges that we find the heart of why we are here...together.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)