How did the idea for Generations in Solidarity come about?
It wasn’t like many other films, which may have had years in planning and development.
The news is full of stories about what’s happening in Iraq after U.S. involvement and questioning what the future may hold. It’s not the first time our policies or military support has sparked civil war. We were discussing it and saw similarities with what happened in Central America during the 80’s. U.S. political and military actions created government instability in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and other countries. It created a vacuum resulting in violence and genocide.
As North Americans, we wanted to learn more about what happened in the aftermath of the wars and how things progressed over time.
When we started researching, we found that several of social justice organizations began creating linkages to support people impacted by the violence during the war. We learned that one those social justice organizations, Sister Parish, Inc., was having a joint meeting for their 25th Anniversary with representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala and the United States.
That was the opportunity we were looking for, to tap into a historical reference over times during the war and since. So we joined the delegation traveling in Central America. During that time we conducted interviews, arranged meetings with experts in various fields and met with other social justice organizations. We also did research to cover several current issues relating to Central America and the U.S.
What was most difficult about producing Generations in Solidarity?
The current political environment in Central America was tenuous, so we took a journalistic approach. It was filmed informally, as observers, with no official status and without a crew. This drew less attention, giving us access to people and their stories. It also gave us flexibility to capture as much as possible, in a short time. The timeline was tight and resources were limited, so we financed it internally.
What have you enjoyed most about sharing the documentary with various communities?
It’s been interesting to see how different communities and individuals respond to the film. To some, it’s their first time realizing how connected our societies, politics and economy are. To others it’s a reinforcement of deep-seated beliefs that they’ve had difficulty explaining. We made every effort to produce a film that accurately reflects the realities of those times and the individuals involved. Given our time constraints, both in editing and in keeping view time limited, we could not include every detail. Instead, we provided a condensed historical overview, and that has led to some good feedback and very interesting conversation. Extended content is also available on the DVD.
Generations in Solidarity covers some very difficult topics and challenges the viewer. Some people might be expecting a ‘feel-good’ movie. In the end, we hope the viewer leaves with a feeling of hope and understanding the importance of solidarity… but this film is set in the context of the struggles experienced across the generations.
The producing of Generations of Solidarity was generously donated by your company Life Image, LLC. What are the joys and challenges of being both business partners and partners in marriage?
We’re blessed to we have similar interests, values and beliefs. We both feel a powerful draw to Central America and share a desire to work toward justice. We feel blessed to be able to do that through our company, so that is a real joy that comes out of both sides of our relationship.
Our creative approaches and skillsets are different, so we leverage one another’s strengths. We’re personally invested in every production and project.
How can other communities schedule a viewing of Generations in Solidarity?
We’re open to offering public and private screenings of the film in 2014. People simply need to contact us for a free copy of the DVD or for screening information at our website www.GenerationsInSolidarity.com.