Local filmmakers seek help to complete Triad refugees project
Chronicle Staff Report
The finishing touches are being made to a documentary film that will focus on resettled refugees living in the Triad.
“The One Who Builds” is a project of Wake Forest University graduate students Peter Carolla, Nick Gooler and Hillary Pierce. The film looks at how the North Carolina African Services Coalition, led by Dr. Omer Omer, works to resettle refugees in the Triad, helping them start a new chapter of their lives in America.
Omer, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and executive director of the Coalition, was forced to flee Sudan following the 1989 coup d’etat that put controversial Sudan president Omar Al Bashir in power.
Omer was a television news reporter at the time of the coup. He fled the nation because his politics conflicted with that of the new Islamist regime, and he feared imprisonment and torture. Now, more than 20 years later, Omer works tirelessly to help those whose shoes he was once in. He leads a diverse team to do this work and is known as someone who does not let societal boundaries such as race or religion get in the way of building relationships.
“When we met Dr. Omer, we knew we had to make this film,” said co-director Pierce. “It’s not everyday that you meet someone who inspires you to be a better person. If this film can introduce others to him and inspire them as well, then we’ve done our job.”
“The One Who Builds” began shooting in September 2011 and wrapped production this past June. Now in post-production, the filmmakers are launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to finish the project. They hope to have the film completed by October, and a Greensboro premiere will soon follow.
Carolla, Gooler and Pierce are third-year MFA students in Wake’s new Documentary Film Program. Collectively they’ve made several short films, worked in the film industry on features and TV and collaborated on independent films in Rwanda, Chile and Costa Rica. They have worked and taught alongside documentary legends Albert Maysles (“Grey Gardens”) and Peter Gilbert (“Hoop Dreams”).
The Kickstarter campaign runs through Aug.17.