A great deal of China's foreign reserves are held in US bonds. With the fall of the dollar, those bonds are losing value. China could very well put a portion of that money into real development and develop a political and strategic relationship with various countries in the South, whether they be Africa, Central America, wherever you want to say, and get perhaps far ahead of the game, in particular because of its need for resources. All these things are playing out in some kind of way as we see a restructuring and reimagination of what it means to be a part of a global community and, as they say at the World Social Forum, creating a world that works for all of us.
What are you hoping an American audience will do after seeing this movie?
The movie is part of one movement. I would hope that audiences who saw this in Oakland would perhaps see the similarity between what is happening in the Global South and what is happening in their particular community. It's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see the comparison between what's happening in New Orleans - privatization, particularly in education, health, etc., etc. - with those things that are happening in the Global South. So I would want people to respond to it. We also have what is pretty much evident when you have 3000 people who have accumulated more wealth than the bottom 150 thousand people in this country. Something is happening and something is wrong here.
This is not hyperbole; this is real information. This is really what is basically happening in the world, and we see it right here in our own community. I would hope that when Iowa farmers see what is happening [in Africa], that it will resonate, and they will be able to connect not only with African farmers but South Korean farmers as well. That's the hope. But it's only a part of so many other dynamics and they're happening in places that we have to identify, elevate and respond to, and embrace.
This is such a good African film addressing these issues; why don't we see the same in American films?
[Chuckles.] I'll tell you what, I have a company called Louverture Films and we have 16 projects in development and if every single one of my projects that we have in development gets funded - we're working our behinds off to get it done, to make sure that we raise the money for development - then perhaps it would signal something else. But there have been serious [US films], Good Night, and Good Luck, Syriana and other films. There's serious stuff about [these issues], but it all revolves around our willingness and our ability to engage in a discourse, in a dialogue.
If we're not willing to talk about these issues because we think we can ride our SUV or get out on the highway without thinking about these issues, then we're in trouble. We have to understand that [as Americans] we represent only 5 percent of the world's population but there's a whole other dialogue happening in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, it's only through alternative media, whether it's television or radio, that we hear a lot of what's really happening in the rest of the world. As long as we're married to a paradigm in which you look in the paper and see how much the films [make at the box office], whether it did $100 million, as long as we're married to that paradigm of success, we're going to be in big trouble.
I would advocate for a real democratization of the whole filmmaking process. If you spend $100 million on a film, imagine that you can do 10 films for $10 million [each]. You employ more people, you get more people, you get more actors working, you get more technicians working, and everything else. Then what's happening is that with that you are able to create another situation where instead of a film taking 3000 screens, maybe it doesn't take up that many screens. That's something we have to do in terms of our own imagination and how we view culture and cultural production. Those are the kind of things we have to do, and maybe we'll get to a point where the world is not simply our oyster.
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