Local filmmakers find success with “We Save Us”



TEXARKANA – Filmmakers with roots in Texarkana are finding success at film festivals with their independent short documentary “We Save Us”.

The 14-minute documentary film explores the lives of African Americans during the time of last year’s presidential election, filmed in multiple locations across New York City. It has just been accepted at the Columbus Black International Film Festival.

Directed by Aylin Szen with production and technical assistance from Cesar Jaralillo, “We Save Us” could have a local screening later this year. The two filmmakers worked together a few years ago on another documentary, “OffCenter”, which explored the lives of underrepresented and marginalized people in Texarkana, so they forged a fruitful partnership.

“The movie is basically a combination of different editing techniques and soundscapes. I would say it’s really avant-garde, and it creates that kind of dreamlike element that is a representation of political resistance, of rage, black joy but also sorrow, ”said Szen. . “Really, all of these emotions are catapulted by solidarity, real community solidarity.”

It’s about freeing people, making sacrifices and loving each other, she said – “it’s about preserving darkness and continuing to fight police violence.”

Activists and attendees at an anti-Trump block party in the Bronx celebrate and enjoy cigar smoke in a scene from the short documentary “We Save Us.” (Photo submitted)

The film was shot a few days before and after the announcement of the presidential election results. “Filmed for five days in New York City,” Szen said, noting that she hopes people who see it experience chills and goose bumps.

“I just want people to really understand the trials and tribulations of the community,” she said. “If you don’t understand, really open their minds and hearts to contribute to this change that people are trying to make collectively, that we are all trying to make together.”

She also hopes they will be moved by the artistic elements, which are drastically different from their previous film. While this is truly a documentary, it feels more like a narrative film, in a way.

Szen is based in New York City but attended school here and grew up here, while Jaralillo is based here, where he also grew up. They filmed in several districts of New York.

The scenes captured demonstrations and political demonstrations organized by blacks, organizers and activists there, she said.

“In the film, you will see confrontations between protesters, passers-by and the police,” said the director. “Lots of that. It’s like a sea, a crowd of cops all over town, of course.”

Activists at an anti-Trump block party in the Bronx pose for a photo in “We Save Us.” (Photo submitted)

The sound and black-and-white images create something that resembles a poem or a song, Szen said. “We overlay these soundscapes, even though we use vocals to tell the story of black people, people of color and how they feel about everything that is going on, no matter who they think is going to be. elected, ”she said. .

There are talks about the election, but it is a backdrop for deeper issues related to the liberation of blacks, regardless of who is elected, she explained.

“I’m the director, producer, editor and videographer. Cesar is the producer, co-editor and sound mixer on this project,” Szen said.

Why does their partnership work? “I think above all, the basis of our collaboration is really friendship. It has been there from the start,” she said. They might not agree on everything, but they agree on the style of storytelling and filming.

The film is not yet live and likely won’t be until the end of the film series. The New York FEEDBACK Festival is the second film festival it has been accepted for screening. She hopes it touches people and is grateful for working on the documentary. It’s refreshing, she said.

“We’re really hoping to do a local screening here in town, maybe by the end of the year, maybe December or January,” Szen said.



Leave A Reply