After seven years of work, West Seattle filmmakers Amy Benson and Scott Squire (left & center in photo) are now just three weeks away from the world premiere of their completed film “Drawing the Tiger.” When we first featured it here almost two and a half years ago, its working title was “The Girl Who Knew Too Much,” but what began as the heartbreaking story of a Nepalese girl whose one-in-a-million chance at an education ended in her suicide, evolved into a story with many more layers. We found out about the project’s evolution when we covered the Washington Global Issues Network youth-led conference at Chief Sealth International High School last month; Benson was a keynoter, and we featured her speech and project in our report. She also told its story in a TEDx talk captured on video last year:
The change in their story also meant a change in funding, as suddenly they were no longer telling “a globalization success story.” Instead, as Benson explains in the TEDx talk above, Squire says, “This film is, in the modest world of documentary films, kind of a unique thing – it’s subtle and observational and not at all an advocacy film. However, it was made with the goal of opening up the conversation of how we ‘in the west’ DO global aid. How, and how well do we account for the new vulnerabilities that arise when radical opportunities are proffered? It’s so important that we help, we believe, but stories like Shanta’s tell us we must consider how we can conduct our interventions more holistically.”
So the couple pressed on, scrapping together backing any place they could find it. Earlier this week, Squire e-mailed us with an update on their timeline and on their push for completion via crowdfunding. By the time we could write this story, they had already passed their goal – but if you’ve ever tried to raise money for something, you know that more always helps. Their Kickstarter campaign is open until Friday. The premiere is April 29th at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto, which Squire says is “one of the two most important doc fests in the world.” They are hopeful the U.S. premiere will be here in Seattle – nothing finalized yet but they promise an update once it is.