Monday, January 19, 2009

I Turn My Camera On: Part Three

A Chat with Tia Lessin (click here for part two)

Kimberly Rivers Roberts clutches a favorite photo

How did Danny Glover come to be involved with Trouble the Water;
had he seen the completed film or had he seen a portion of it,AeP?

I guess the film had been about two years in the making, so he saw the rough cut we had after we came back from the Sundance Labs, and he had heard about the film, and so he-it was actually Jocelyn Barnes, his producing partner, somebody I've known for many, many years, and I've always liked her work. She came to one of our-we were screening the film a lot over the fall to kind of hone it-and she came in, and she was pretty stunned, and we were really needing to finish things at that point, and she said, "I need to show it to him. He's really gonna love this film."
And so shortly thereafter, we got a call from Danny, and he was very moved by it.

That's awesome, because I know he's not going to put his name on just anything. You can tell from his credits, whether it's a documentary or a fiction film, what's going to appeal to him. It fits in with his interests. I interviewed John Sayles last year about Honeydripper, and asked if he and Glover talked about politics while shooting, and he said, 'Yeah, we did a little bit,' because they're both such pol-
itical people, but he said what they mostly talked about-and I'm sure Dan-
ny's mentioned this to you, as well-is the Haitian film he's working on.

Yeah, that's right.
John said it's his dream project, and he's working hard on that, and he has, for-
tunately-and unfortunately because it's kind of controversial-a friendship with Hugo Chavez, who's helping by letting him film in Venezuela. I was looking on the IMDb, and he's gathered this list of fantastic actors, so it looks pretty exciting.

A lot of high-value actors.
Yes, Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor,AePit sounds like he's getting things
together. I hope it all happens for him, because it sounds very ambitious.

They [Glover and Barnes] have created this company called Louverture-
after Toussaint Louverture, who their film is about-and so, yeah, they're
helping to support a lot of filmmakers who do work that is socially rele-
vant and commercially viable. It's wonderful. In other words, he's not
only lending his name, they're lending their resources as a company.
He came to town [to introduce Trouble the Water]. I'm sorry I missed him.
Yeah, he flew in from Senegal. He was there for a celebration of the filmmaker Ousmane Sembene, and flew straight from there to here. That was quite lovely.
Is it true, by the way, that he has a home in Portland? If so, that's kind of convenient. He was actually here-this is the second time I've missed him-
just a few months ago with Charles Burnett for a screening of Namibia.

That's what I heard, at the African American Film Festival. I know
that he's got a home in Berkeley or Oakland-in the Bay Area.
So, I have to ask: Has Michael Moore seen Trouble the Water?
He absolutely has.
What did he say about it?
He saw it the first time when they flew us out
there. Ask him yourself-he was very proud.
He was here recently with Sicko, but I wasn't one
of the people who got the chance to interview him.

This film is quite informed by our working with him,AeP
But Kimberly [Rivers Roberts] is really the narrator.
That's right, but there are things in our film that you can see are influenced by Rog-
er and Me
and Fahrenheit 911. And it has a strong point of view. It's our point of view, but told by an outsider, so I don't think it has Moore's voice, but it has his spirit.
More to come...
Kimberly and husband Scott
Oscar nominations will be announced on Thurs., 1/22, and Trouble the Water re-
mains a top doc contender. Though most play dates have passed, it continues at San Francisco's Sundance Kabuki Cinema through 2/8. For more dates, please click here. The official website notes that Lisa Schwarzbaum, David Denby, and Roger Ebert included it on their top 10 lists. Images from Green Brooklyn and indieWIRE.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pleased to report that "Trouble the Water" has received an Oscar nomination for best documentary. Though I love fellow nominee Werner Herzog's "Encounters at the End of the World," I believe the competition will boil down to Lessin and Deal versus James Marsh for "Man on Wire," which I also love--and which will probably win.