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Director screens his world view

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“Planet Earth” is the answer Emmanuel Itier gives whenever people ask where he's from.

The film-maker, who was born in France but lives in California, has a heavy accent that sometimes confuses Americans.

“There is no one country that is better than another,” he said, explaining the reasoning behind his response. “The people of the Earth are one.”

It's that logic that he applied to We The People: A Re-Evolution of Economics and Politics.

The film, which looks at how economics and politics shape world peace, came partly out of the 51-year-old's frustration with the isolationism of the Trump government.

“It is awful with Trump,” he said. “There is no word but the word awful. At the same time, it is what it is. There is no point, whining and crying.

“I wish that Trump and the GOP would grow a conscience, and understand that we are one people on one planet.”

Mr Itier worked on the film for two years, talking with 100 people in 20 countries including Bermuda.

“Bermuda feels like home,” he said as he recalled his first visit, in 2003 for the Bermuda International Film Festival. “I came here as a journalist covering it for French media. That was the time when the Bermuda Government was really pushing Biff as a world event.”

At those events, he bonded with businesswoman Dawn Zuill, a Biff sponsor.

“I mentioned I was doing some humanitarian-driven documentaries,” he said. “She immediately proposed to help me financially.

“Like any film-maker when they find financial support, I felt happy and blessed. I might have a film budget of $200,000; that's less than bigger films but that's still a chunk of change.”

Their partnership led to the 2014 documentary, Femme: Women Healing the World. Former premiers Dame Jennifer Smith and Dame Pamela Gordon are among the women it celebrates for “actively transforming and healing our global society”.

Mr Itier got Sharon Stone on board as director of We The People. Motivational speaker Deepak Chopra, and actors Mark Wahlberg and Michael Beck, are featured asking for global change. Since its June release, the film has won numerous awards including “Best Director” at the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles.

“It's a call for you to run for office, whatever your office is,” Mr Itier said. “It might be your social club, your church, your legislature, your school district. We The Peopleis an invitation to become peace in action. It's an invitation for each of us to become a leader and be part of the change we want to see in this world.

“I want to bring about world peace, one movie at a time. I want to debate big ideas and show the world how, as one humanity, we make sense.”

Claudette Fleming, director of Age Concern, is one of the Bermudians who spoke to the cause.

“Globalisation has become a bad word because of its association with corporate profit,” she says in the film. “It doesn't have to be if we use our globalisation to spread our ideas on how to make the world a better place through our human efforts, not just our business efforts.”

David Burt, the Premier, told viewers that he thought globalisation and technology would make the world more efficient.

“That means that there will be winners and losers,” said Mr Itier, now here for the screening of We The People and to start work on his next film. “But in that whole winning, leaders have to make sure more people win than lose. From that perspective we have to recognise that change is coming.”

Mr Itier got interested in film-making as a teenager. “My parents were middle class, so they couldn't afford a nanny,” he said. “As a result, I was often taken care of by family members who put me in front of the television. I became quite visual.”

At 15, he bought a “huge camera” and showed it to his parents. Although supportive, they encouraged him to finish high school before starting a career.

“I never went to film school nor do I think it's worth spending thousands when you could use that money to make you own movies. You can get a fast education online. This is not brain surgery.”

Five years later, he moved to the US where he worked as a waiter, a French teacher, whatever was necessary to make ends meet.

“This is not the land of dreams. This is the land of actions. We do things as a means to an end,” he said. “Think it. Be it and just do it.”

We The People: A Re-Evolution of Economics and Politics will show at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute at 7.30pm tonight. Tickets, $25 for members; $30 for non-members; $15 for students, are available at the gift shop or on 294-0204

Best Director: Itier with the award he won for his documentary We The People (Photograph supplied)
Emmanuel Itier with David Burt. The Premier appears in the filmmaker's documentary, We The People (Photograph supplied)
Star power: joined by actor Mark Wahlberg who appears in the new documentary (Photograph supplied)
Emmanuel Itier hopes his films will bring about world peace (Photograph supplied)

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Published October 18, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated October 17, 2018 at 8:27 pm)

Director screens his world view

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