Exclusive interview with Andre Anton.
Production Company: Lamasu Productions
Current project: Defying Deletion, The Fight Over Iraq’s Nineveh Plains.
Photo of Andre, pictured here with Assyrian Singer Linda George.
Since the start of 2003 war in Iraq, thousands of Assyrians have been disproportionately displaced from their homes and many (estimates up to half the pre-war population) forced to flee the country due to targeted violence against the community. Defying Deletion is a film that highlights the plight of the indigenous Assyrian people of Iraq through interviewee testimonials since the 2003 war. The film also the discusses the current situation in context of the greater persecution and marginalization suffered by the Assyrian people in the last century.
Andre was motivated by a need for the story of Assyrian people to be told in a format accessible for widespread distribution. “Film is a forum that everyone uses. People want to learn visually…… And through this medium, I can showcase firsthand the stories of displaced people,” says Andre. The film has been screened at various film festivals and has won several awards including, “Best Documentary” at the Detroit Independent Film Festival, “Best of the Fest” at the 53rd Rochester International Film Festival and “Best Documentary” at the Tupelo Film Festival.
Andre recently traveled to Washington D.C. for a Congressional screening of the movie which was attended by human and religious rights groups, members of the US state dept, and various members of Congress. The timing of the screening falls in line with a bill HR 440 sponsored and recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives to provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.” A second Congressional hearing is scheduled for October in hopes to grab the attention of more Congressmen and women who were unable to attend the first screening.
Future film screenings of Defying Deletion are being planned for the US and Andre hopes to take his film abroad in 2012.
In addition to Defying Deletion, Andre is currently working on other non-Assyrian related projects, including a film highlighting the story of a boxer, and also a recent short film, Nobel Fish.
When asked about AssyrianRights.org, Andre is encouraged by the opportunity to educate non-Assyrians about the plight of Assyrian people. “I would love to see non-Assyrians contributing to the website and speaking up for Assyrian rights. It sets an example for others to follow and not be afraid to speak up.”
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