We’ve asked the filmmakers for the 11th annual Oxford Film Festival the same five questions. Meet Michael Kleiman, director/producer of “Web”. This film will be screening Friday, Feb.7 at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 8 at 10:00 a.m.
#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.
As children in the Amazon Jungle connect to the Internet for the first time, the film reflects on what connection means in the digital age.
#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?
Web is a film that tackles a very universal subject - the effects of global connectivity - and one that is incredibly personal. I spent about a year living in Peru while making the film and stayed with families in two very remote villages in the Andes Mountains and Amazon Jungle. My experience living with the villagers and becoming a part of those families was definitely the best part about making the film. It also provided the greatest lesson of the film’s production, namely, the idea that despite the very different circumstances of our births and the varying cultures that shape who we are, we are all joined by a basic desire to connect with others, to feel that we know them, and that they in turn know and care about us.
#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?
Web is my second feature documentary. My first film, The Last Survivor, premiered at the Oxford Film Festival back in 2010, where we were honored to win both the Jury Award for Best Documentary and the Audience Award. That film tells the story of survivors of four different genocides and mass atrocities, focusing on each survivor’s ability to rebuild his/her life in the aftermath of tragedy. Like Web, the Last Survivor is ultimately a film about tolerance and the importance of being able to recognize the commonalities we share with people all over the world.
#4 What do you want the Oxford Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title or description?
A friend who saw Web commented, “For a film about technology, it feels very human.” That was always the goal and one I think gets lost in the tagline. Far less than being about what is offered by the latest technological developments and where those advancements are going, Web is a film about who we are and the importance we place on connecting with each other, no matter what medium we are using. It’s touching, often funny, and definitively homemade with love, care and all those other qualities that are distinctly human.
#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?
We’re just getting started! The film’s production was a true journey that spanned close to four years. We just premiered the film to a great response in November and are looking forward to taking it to festivals this spring while we work out formal distribution. We’ve met a lot of people throughout the filmmaking process and hope to work with them and their communities in making sure as many people can see the film as possible. It should be an exciting year!
As for me, I’m really interested in how film can be used as a tool for affecting changes in policy. I recently started working toward a Master’s degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. So a lot of my focus is on that. Though, I’m always thinking of films I’d like to make and trying to get new projects off the ground. So, stay tuned…