My son Joshua Litle just finished his feature documentary on hip-hop, The Furious Force of Rhymes with funds from French TV & the Smithsonian. This year, his piece for Amnesty International, The Price of Silence was shown at the UN. Check out his low-low budget sci-fi Since The End of The World.
Beginning with a 9K California Council for the Humanities grant I produced & co-directed with San Jose State colleague Amy Glazer, a film adaptation of a Gerald Haslam short story The Miyazaki Family about racism during the internment of Japanese-Americans. In the end the film cost $72K of which 60% was donated 'in-kind'. The 25 minute project (shot on 16mm film, posted in Betacam SP) won two national awards (CINE Golden Eagle & National Educational Media Network Silver Apple) and was distributed as an educational short.
In 2001, I began shooting a small-town amorous comedy like Erogenous Jones, PhD but based on the short story Solstice by Robin Beeman. The DV feature (a outrageous punk rocker gets out of jail to find his girl in love with the straightest guy in the village) took two summers to piece together into The Pleasure of Your Company, an overly ambitious screenplay
In 2003, I partnered with my elder son James to create a website HomeFrontBulletin consisting of interviews with VN veterans & Iraq era military families from the early years of the Iraq war. In 2005, I wrote HomeFront, a fiction piece. A Marine on leave is trapped in a country house by a heavy rain storm. A cold-hearted high school girlfriend & a warm-hearted older woman (Torrie Truss of the SSU Theatre Department) try to convince the Marine to go AWOL rather than return to Iraq.
In the best moments of my critical seminars, students wake to how their own authenticity & creativity & common sense immunizes them against the relentless propaganda of the ruthless empire that crumbles around us. We study war through documentaries like Hearts & Minds or Why We Fight; news through The Daily Show & Democracy Now; justice through features like The Bicycle Thief or The New World or The Girl In The Cafe or Smoke Signals.
My intellectual heroes include Carl Jung, Socrates, Erich Fromm, Jean Renoir, Paoli Friere, Walt Kelly (of Pogo), Howard Zinn, Marshall McLuhan, Susan Sontag, Noam Chomsky, David Korten, Vandana Shiva, John Ralston Saul, Jean Luc Godard, Roberto Rossellini, John Berger, Naomi Klein.
In 2005, Les Landeck, a market salad grower for the Santa Rosa, began farming an acre on the hillside where my wife & I live. His greens revived my appetite. Watching him work took me to the root meaning of culture, to cultivate. Both personal & global change will come as we humans cultivate our relationship to animals, plants, earth, our true nature. It happens every moment & it will take a long long while.
The forthcoming series of shorts SomeThingsAboutFood argue that we can feed the hungry, cool the planet, eat well, become 'righteous' & even be happy most directly through respect for our Mother Earth. Food writers Michael Pollan, Vendana Shiva, David Korten, Alice Waters, & Wayne Roberts pop up to talk among 'cinema verite' moments two farmers markets. The documentary elements weave together with a story about a cheerful Haitian photo journalist (Wadner Pierre) who attempts to sell his photos (a woman selling cookies made of mud, a skinny mother nursing a skinny child) within the context of an upscale & Bohemian outdoor California market. "But your photo is not organic," says the gorgeous Aisha. "But I made it myself!" protests the handsome young man.