Compassionate Cinema: Q&A with Filmmaker Holly Mosher

By: Vegetarian Times

Compassionate Cinema: Q & A with Filmmaker Holly Mosher

These days, green is the way to go. People are growing more aware of the importance of preservation of the Earth. We can buy hybrid cars, vegan clothing, and organic food. And in that spirit, Dorit Dyke founded the Green Lifestyle Film Festival in Los Angeles three years ago.

This festival screens some of the most provocative and renewing documentaries of the past few years, the environment being their common theme. I checked out this year�s event, which took place March 13th through March 15th at UCLA�s James Bridges Theater.

Outside the theater were booths with organic food, smoothies, and clothing. I bought a delicious banana/cane juice smoothie and rushed inside to catch a few flicks. In hours that followed, I got some of the best lessons, lessons I never got at school. I learned about how eating meat not only affects your own health, but also the health of the environment. I also learned about biodynamic farming in India, cancer, diabetes, and human rights.

One of the absolute highlights for me was watching Hummingbird, an award-winning film directed by Holly Mosher. Hummingbird is about two shelters in Brazil: the House of Passage and the Women�s Life Collective. The shelter founders take kids and women off the streets and help them take steps toward a brighter future.

During the week that followed the festival, I spoke with Mosher about her award-winning film:

Q: How did you get the idea to make Hummingbird?

A: In 1997, when I was living in Brazil, I met Adriana, a girl who ran away from home at the age of 6 and had a daughter at the age of 11. She took me under her wing and showed me everything the House of Passage�s program had to offer. Back home, I just couldn�t get her out of my head, so I went back to Brazil a few years later. It took me about a month to find her again because she had left the program to stand on her own feet.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you�ve learned from making this film?

A: I learned to say no at some point. Some people want to give too much. You have to learn to take a break for yourself. In our society we are forced to be productive all the time, but we need rest. I also learned how important it is for these people to get affection. During the group therapy sessions they hug, they kiss, they stand in circles so no one feels excluded. In our society, we just put a pill in the kid�s mouth and hope everything will be better. But these children just want to be heard.

Q: A lot of kids only stay in the shelter for one night before running off again. Is it useful to have a place like this?

A: A lot of kids come and go. Adriana ran away plenty of times before she finally decided to stay. When the kids stay at the shelter, they are bound by certain rules. They have to take showers, they have to go to bed on time. It takes them a while to appreciate those limits. But it is good for these kids to know they have a place where they can sleep, play and talk if they ever need it.

Q: Hummingbird has won a lot of prizes. How important is this to you?

A: It is wonderful to get so much recognition. It makes you realize that people do care about this problem. But for me, the most rewarding thing is to see the movie with an audience and hear their reactions.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: Right now I am making a documentary about Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. He created a microcredit bank in Bangladesh and he started out with nothing. When I heard about his story, I said to myself, this is going to be my next film. I like telling stories about people who make a difference in the world. These are stories that inspire change.

Q: How do you try to change the world?

A: Everyone has their own strength. When I came back from Brazil, I was thinking of opening up my own shelter there. But then I realized that my role in this world is to be a voice, to unveil stories that aren�t talked about enough. Film is a moving piece of art that gets your message across to the public.

To watch a trailer and get more information about Hummingbird, visit http://hummingbirdmovie.com.

�Hille Peeters, Editorial Intern

Comments (0)

recent posts

  • Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 3.15.30 PM
    Movie on a Mission: Cowspiracy
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    An inconvenient truth for environmental organizations, according to the documentary film Cowspiracy, is animal agriculture’s role in despoiling the planet. “It is their job to know these things and inform us,” says filmmaker Kip Anderson about the silence from “green” groups, such the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, in the face READ MORE

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 4.14.33 PM
    Veg Celeb: Alexandra Paul
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Alexandra Paul may spend plenty of time behind the camera, producing eco-themed documentaries such as Jam Packed and The Cost of Cool, but the former Baywatch co-star’s acting career continues to purr along. In the fall, she stars in FireQuake for the SyFy channel: “I play a scientist who has READ MORE

  • Birthday Canyon, Greenland ice sheet
    Media Watch: Chasing Ice
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Glaciers are canaries in the global coal mine, the film says, and we ignore their peril at the expense of our own. James Balog hangs off cliff by Columbia Glacier, Alaska to install time-lapse camera. READ MORE

  • A scene from FED UP (courtesy of RADIUS-TWC)
    Movie on a Mission: Fed Up
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (2)

    As if being a teen isn’t crazy enough, consider the extra stress of being a teen who’s obese. Stephanie Soechtig, producer and director of the documentary Fed Up, says, “I could see government policy, marketing, and industry-funded science actually playing out in these kids’ lives.” READ MORE

  • photo credit: Growing Cities
    Movie on a Mission: Growing Cities
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Documenting a road trip to scout out urban farms across America, Growing Cities visits rooftops, back yards, and reclaimed abandoned lots under cultivation in major urban centers including Seattle, Atlanta, and Detroit. READ MORE

  • photo credit: Animal Place
    Movie on a Mission: Turlock
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (1)

    Documenting the second-largest farm animal rescue in the U.S., Turlock gives witness to the rescue of more than 4,000 hens abandoned by the A&L Poultry egg farm west of Turlock, Calif. The film follows the rehabilitation of the rescued birds and the birds’ adoption by new owners. READ MORE

  • photo credit: Tricia Lee Pascoe
    Veg Celeb: Q&A with Ed Begley Jr.
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Known to arrive at Hollywood events on his bicycle, Ed Begley Jr. is an indefatigable advocate for green living. The actor lives in a solar-powered home near Los Angeles; construction of his new, Platinum LEED–certified residence is chronicled on the Web series On Begley Street. READ MORE

  • Suzy Amis Cameron (photo credit: Brandon Hickman)
    Veg Celeb: Q&A with Suzy Amis Cameron
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Marking its fifth anniversary in style, the Red Carpet Green Dress contest is adding menswear to the mix on Oscar night. Founded by eco-activist Suzy Amis Cameron, Red Carpet Green Dress not only spotlights ethical and sustainable fashion but also helps raise funds for nonprofits. READ MORE

  • padyatra10
    Movie on a Mission: Pad Yatra
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    The 700 people spreading the message of environmental stewardship across the Himalayas in Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey literally walk the walk. Trekking 450 miles through a region devastated by climate change, participants collected nearly half a ton of plastic litter while teaching villagers the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. READ MORE

  • DeborahKoonsGarcia_photo_by_Nic_Coury_Monterey_County_Weekly_1000
    Movie on a Mission: Symphony of the Soil
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Dismissed as dirt, soil gets no respect from most of us. The gorgeously shot documentary Symphony of the Soil recasts the stuff as a key player in hot-button issues, such as water scarcity, climate change, and food security. READ MORE

  • cat
    Movie on a Mission: The Paw Project
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Can you imagine a doctor advocating a procedure that’s not in the best interest of his or her patient? Yet that is the case with declaw surgery, argues The Paw Project, a film documenting the efforts to abolish the crippling procedure and rehabilitate cats who have been subjected to it. READ MORE

  • foxFurFarm
    Movie on a Mission: The Ghosts in Our Machine
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    The Ghosts in Our Machine is a lyrical, often wordless, film that shadows Jo-Anne McArthur as she documents the lives of animals in research labs and in fur and factory farms. READ MORE

  • speciesismmovieposter
    Movie on a Mission: Speciesism: The Movie
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Even as a vegetarian, I realized while watching the documentary Specieism: The Movie that I’m not free of species bias. READ MORE

  • OMGGMOgasmask
    Movie on a Mission: GMO OMG
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Watching the documentary GMO OMG reminded me of a rallying cry heard in the late ’60s and early ’70s, “The personal is political.” Yes, filmmaker Jeremy Seifert takes the condescension of the biotech industry personally, but that’s kind of the point. READ MORE

  • Lion Ark ColoColo free
    Animal Rescue: Q&A with Tim Phillips, director of Lion Ark
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (1)

    “Lion Ark captures what it feels like to be on the frontline of animal rescue,” says the film’s director, Tim Phillips. Phillips is also vice president and cofounder of the nonprofit Animal Defenders International (ADI), which, as READ MORE

  • Blackfish
    Reality Bites: Q & A with Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Director of Blackfish
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    “I guess they thought I’d go away, and the film would fall into the indie-documentary abyss,” says director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, in answer to my asking why she thinks SeaWorld declined to participate in her recently released documentary Blackfish. The film investigates the deadly 2010 attack on a trainer in SeaWorld’s READ MORE

  • 21158051_max
    The Dawning of The East: Q & A with Filmmaker Zal Batmanglij
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Serving up consciousness-raising along with suspense, the newly released film The East stars Brit Marling as Sarah Moss, a private security agent infiltrating an anarchist collective intent on avenging corporate wrongdoing. Costarring Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page as members of the collective, The East is the second film from the READ MORE

  • Making Waves: Q&A with filmmakers of The Whale
    Making Waves: Q&A with filmmakers of The Whale
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    A: We sent a previous version of the film to Ryan. He watched it and loved it, and he agreed to narrate it. He grew up in Vancouver, not far from where Luna’s family comes from, and he remembers watching whales when he was young. READ MORE

  • Q & A with Filmmaker Brian Wendel
    Q&A with Forks Over Knives Filmmaker Brian Wendel
    By: Jolia Sidona Allen | Comments (18)

    Q  Fork Over Knives makes the connection between the foods we eat and the diseases we suffer from. Why is it so difficult for many Americans to make this connection and, consequently, to make the dietary changes necessary to cure themselves? READ MORE

  • Eco Honors: Avatar & Bones Earn Accolades from the Environmental Media Association
    Eco Honors: Avatar & Bones Earn Accolades from the Environmental Media Association
    By: Vegetarian Times | Comments (1)

    Making an impact was the mantra of the evening. The notion that Hollywood must use its voice to invigorate the public and motivate them to action echoed throughout the night. READ MORE

  • VT Film Review: The Cove
    VT Film Review: The Cove
    By: Vegetarian Times | Comments (1)

    This jaw-dropping documentary motivates viewers to take action against this tragic injustice. The Cove is now available on DVD, and can be purchased at http://www.lionsgateshop.com or wherever DVDs are sold. READ MORE

  • Beguiling Botanicals
    Beguiling Botanicals
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    The film’s advice for preserving plants that have entwined their lives with ours includes conserving lots and lots of varieties of seeds. Visiting a USDA-run apple research center, described as a botanical version of Noah’s ark, the camera READ MORE

  • A Documentary with Definite Impact
    A Documentary with Definite Impact
    By: Vegetarian Times | Comments (0)

    Colin Beavan, a writer of two published historical novels, decided to do something new in the Fall of 2006. He devised a plan to make as little of an environmental impact as possible READ MORE

  • Into Indie?
    Into Indie?
    By: Vegetarian Times | Comments (0)

    So far the footage includes scenes from Vietnam, Iceland, Peru, and India, and emphasizes the local flair and people almost as much as it does the amazing waves and surfers who ride them. READ MORE

  • Compassionate Cinema: Q & A with Filmmaker Holly Mosher
    Compassionate Cinema: Q&A with Filmmaker Holly Mosher
    By: Vegetarian Times | Comments (0)

    These days, green is the way to go. People are growing more aware of the importance of preservation of the Earth. We can buy hybrid cars, vegan clothing, and organic food. And in that spirit, Dorit Dyke founded the Green Lifestyle Film Festival in Los Angeles three years ago. READ MORE