Logline: A juxtaposition of the collapse of the Twin Towers and Disney.
Director: Faiyaz Jafri (writer, director, animator, composer, editor)
Additional music written and preformed by Sky Jafri & Vega Spring Jafri
Producer: Faiyaz Jafri / Hyper-Unrealism
About the director and producer: Faiyaz Jafri (1968) was born and raised in rural Holland of Dutch and Pakistani descent. He studied at the Technical University of Delft (MSc) and is self-taught as an animation artist and music composer. His work has been exhibited in the form of print, paintings, video installations, animations and life size sculptures all over the world. Jafri’s award winning films have screened in prestigious festivals and museums.
Looking for: Buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists.
Commissioned by: Denver Digerati / The Denver Theatre District
Release date: September 25, 2015
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I grew up in Holland in the 80s (half Dutch half Pakistani), but New York has always felt like home, more than any place in the world. I witnessed the collapse of the Twin Towers first hand from the roof of my New York downtown apartment on September 11, 2001.
I was heartbroken and devastated; it had quite an impact on me. I didn’t deal with it well, which is something I am embarrassed about. But for somebody growing up in Western Europe, with all the privileges of my generation, this was the closest I had ever been to a war. I lost my innocence, or maybe just my naivety, things were never the same after that day. I always wanted to tell my personal story of this event.
In 2015 I was commissioned to make an audio/visual piece for Denver Digerati, which was going to be displayed on a large public LED screen in downtown Denver, I couldn’t think of better way to tell and show this story, in a public space, in the US, far away from New York City.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
If you are interested in a non-conventional narrative rendered in a non-conventional style, you should watch this film. If you are not, you should still watch this film.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
My work explores Jungian archetypes in the modern world, distilling the pop references of mass media and global popular culture into a visual shorthand of neo-archetypes which in turn I use to tell my personal stories.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
This film was not scripted. There was an outline and a loose order of scenes, which didn’t change much. The only thing that was added was the intro and outro song.
When the original version was finished it had a very hopeful almost Hollywood happy ending and I was not happy with that. The real event did not have a happy ending. The world was not the same afterwards.
As I was working on this film my kids started playing the Disney anthem on the piano and sing together. At some point my son changed the lyrics to “It’s a new world and nobody cares”. I thought this was so fitting to the story I was telling, that I wanted to add it to the film.
I setup a microphone in my office, had my kids fine tune the lyrics to fit the melody, recorded it and added it to the film.
It was the missing piece that I was looking for.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback has been a combination of praise, shock and awe and outcries of disturbance.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The fact that the film disturbed people happily surprised me.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Getting my work out to a larger audience getting the attention of the press, distributors and potential clients, as well as finding ways to fund my next films.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Distributors, film festival directors, journalists and anyone else who can help getting more attention to the film and me as a filmmaker.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
The reaction I like to have to any of my work is to evoke emotions and raise questions.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Any question in regard to the September 11 attacks.
Would you like to add anything else?
This film is not about the big conspiracies, terrorism, fundamentalism, hate or love. This film is about how close, good and bad, wrong and right, innocence and perversion can be. This is my film about my twin towers and how I miss them.
The title “This Ain’t Disneyland” is based on what a policeman says to Jules and Gedeon Naudet while they were filming their documentary 9/11.
Why the juxtaposition with Disney?
Disney is the wholesome entertainment I grew up with, but it also represents the mediocrity of pleasing everyone while not offending anyone. Disney embodied the idea of the America we all loved and it is the distorted version of that idea that eventually leads to the September 11 attacks.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
At the moment I am working on 2 new animated shorts. I am also preparing for the second year of the Third Culture Film Festival in Hong Kong, of which I am the co-founder, creative director and curator.
My children, Vega (11) and Sky (9), are attending primary school in Hong Kong. They are studying for their final exams and can’t wait for the Summer Holidays to begin.