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From Trash to Treasure: Turning Negatives Into Positives in Lesotho
Directed by Iara Lee
USA | 25 min | 2020
From erosion to overgrazing to enduring poverty, the people of Lesotho—a highland country surrounded by South Africa—face a variety of difficult challenges. Yet grassroots communities in the country also exhibit tremendous resourcefulness and creativity. In particular, a wealth of artists have mastered a talent for resurrection, developing the skill to creatively turn negatives into positives: Designers who turn discarded trash into beautiful jewelry, clothes, rugs. Filmmakers who turn tragedy into artistic expressions of resilience and compassion. Musicians who write songs to save the environment. In this short, Cultures of Resistance Films profiles a variety of these inventive creators, introducing viewers to a fascinating cast of local residents who are using art as a means of communicating a communal desire for positive change.
The writer and producer, Rosa SanMarchi, approached us out of the blue (digitally) to direct this film after a recommendation from a friend. Immediately after reading the script we knew it was something we wanted to work on. It was a thrilling experience to collaborate with someone new, who already had a vision for the film but was looking for other voices and opinions to bring it home. The collaborative spirit of our team really reflected what we were trying to convey on screen, that we are all better when we listen to one another.
Iara lee, a Brazilian of Korean descent, is an activist, filmmaker, and founder/director of the Cultures of Resistance Network, an organization that promotes global solidarity and connects and supports agitators, educators, farmers, and artists to build a more just and peaceful world through creative resistance and nonviolent action.