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A Whisper to a Roar (2012)
Opened: 10/12/2012 Limited
|Quad Cinema/NYC||10/12/2012 - 10/18/2012||7 days|
|NoHo 7||10/19/2012 - 10/25/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Genre: Historical Documentary
A Whisper to a Roar tells the heroic stories of courageous democracy activists in five countries around the world -- Egypt, Malaysia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. From student leaders to prime ministers and heads of state, these activists share their compelling personal stories of struggle, past and present, with their countries' oppressive regimes. Shot over three years and finalized in July 2012 by award-winning filmmaker, Ben Moses, the film was inspired by the work of Stanford University's Larry Diamond, author of "The Spirit of Democracy" and Director of Stanford University's Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. It was funded by The Moulay Hicham Foundation, whose benefactor, Prince Moulay Hicham of Morocco, is a renowned public intellectual and democracy advocate, particularly in regards to the Middle East.
About the Film
This documentary began as an idea on the part of writer/producer/director Ben Moses to bring the incredible work of democracy advocate and expert Larry Diamond into the public eye. Moses was deeply impressed with Diamond's moving book, "The Spirit of Democracy," and sought a way to dramatize the ideas it and Diamond's other work presented. Diamond was supportive of the idea, and introduced Moses to his former student and distinguished democracy advocate in his own right, Prince Moulay Hicham ben Abdallah of Morroco. Together, the three decided to launch a documentary film project. Moses and his production company, Appleseed Entertainment would develop the film, Larry Diamond would serve as Executive Producer and head advisor and Moulay Hicham provided development funding and participate in any way he could best support the project.
In the summer of 2008, Diamond invited Moses to attend Stanford's Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law's annual Draper Hills Summer Fellowship on Democracy and Development Program, where democracy activists around the world gather to received training and support for their work. There, Moses was able to meet and film brief interviews with many fascinating activists. This footage was soon edited into a promotional video to help raise funds for the full-length documentary.
However, the economic crisis that arose in 2008 made fundraising difficult, and ultimately Moulay Hicham committed to making sure the important work of the film went on, with or without outside funding. With financing secured by the Prince, filming began at the 2009 Draper Hills summer program. Producer Amy Martinez and Line Producer Christopher Pavlick were hired in early 2010, and Lynne Moses, Moses' partner in Appleseed Entertainment, joined the team as an Executive Producer.
Under Diamond's guidance, five countries were chosen as the primary subjects of the film: Egypt, Malaysia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Given that the target audience included many people in non-Western countries, it was determined that the message would be best received if the exploration of democracy did not include the U.S. or other Western democracies. The core message of the work is that the thirst for freedom and accountable government is universal and that democracy is not just a Western concept.
Another factor that went into the country selection was the desire to focus on activists in various stages of the process: The Student Organizer -- Roberto Patino of Venezuela; The Protest Organizers -- Esraa Ahmed Fattah and Ahmed Maher of Egypt; The Jailed Dissident cum Opposition Candidate -- Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia; The Elected, but Thwarted, Challenger -- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe; and the Victorious Opposition Leader -- Former President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine.
Along the way, it was determined that Moulay Hicham himself should interview the various heads of state interviewed for the film, when possible. As a result, the filmmakers have a treasure trove of interviews conducted by the Prince, some of which have been included in the documentary. As time did not allow for full exploitation of this rich material, a separate project is being developed around those interviews.
After the filmmakers "last" filming trip in November 2010, where they covered the rigged parliamentary elections in Egypt, editing began in earnest -- and the Arab Spring broke out. A return trip to Egypt in April 2011 was scheduled, as well as a return to Malaysia to interview former Prime Minister Mahthir Mohamad.
Editing proved to be an enormous undertaking, whittling down enormous amounts of fantastic material on five countries into one, 94 minute film. The Herculean task was finally completed in July 2012.