The sound of one hand clapping

Written by Loch Phillipps

Loch with our main character, Nas and his youngest daughter Yasmeen.

I’m not completely sure what this phrase/aphorism/koan means, but being this close to finishing our film might represent an approximation. We are nearly wrapped on a 4-year project! We want to jump up and down and celebrate! We’d like a lot of people to see it! But the way to achieve this, apparently, is mostly to wait. You have to save your premier status for a festival. You want the big wave of viewing to happen when the film gets some distribution. You want everything to snowball into something bigger than you’d ever imagined.

Loch trying to get a laugh out of Yasmeen from the Refugee Center.

Another well shared thought: Think globally. Act locally. We’ve been doing that. We got a really nice color correction from Blue Table Post, right in our neighborhood in Brooklyn. My neighbor and good friend across the street, Anthony Erice, is doing our sound mix pro bono. My other buddy, Diego Kolski, from a few blocks further north, just redid our website, also for free! It’s been an amazing couple of months here in Carroll Gardens. I had been thinking the workload would abate considerably as we locked picture and started outsourcing the final touches. But no. If we want to get that global snowball rolling, we have work to do. We’ve done a good chunk of it.

With our promotional ducks in a row, completed by our new trailer (thanks to Adam and Zach), we have begun pursuing refugee focused organizations and individuals. The goal is to make the best activist use of the film. We want partners to help us organize a tour with the film to areas of high refugee resettlement here, like St. Paul, Lincoln, Akron, Lewiston, and of course Utica too. We’d like to roll the film out on World Refugee Day, June 20th. We’re working on these possibilities, specifically, but the bigger picture is that we want to do the best job we can to have an impact on what Americans think when they decide whether refugees should be welcome here or not. We want them to have the right information, and the deep sense that we have: refugees might well wind up being the best neighbors you’ll ever have.

Loch chatting with local a refugee and jack of all trades, Pee Dho.

The sad global truth is that fewer than 1% of the worlds nearly 25 million refugees have a realistic shot of being resettled. We think the United States should set an example and help improve these odds considerably. We have done better in the past, and it has been to everyone’s benefit, ours included. We have a new outreach team assembled to help us make a broader impact with Utica: The Last Refuge, and other short films we’ve made.

There has to be another catchy phrase to close with, something like Reach for the stars if… I dunno. Somebody give me one of these in a comment! All I can say is that we’re excited about what we’ve done and about what we hope to do. We’ve not wasted our covid-downtime. We gave the film a lot of extra massaging, and we’re still cranking. Thanks for following along.



Utica: The Last Refuge documentary
Utica: The Last Refuge — Film Blog

This feature documentary follows the Azeins, a Sudanese refugee family, as their story intersects with the ongoing story of Utica, NY.