A short poetic documentary, and a curation of resistance
Interview with filmmakers Tiffany Johnson & Diana Ozoria
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
We are creating this film because we saw a void and felt responsible to fill it. One particular event triggered our action -- the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States of America. For generations our people have pointed out the demons of racism and white supremacy lying thinly under the surface of this country’s fabric. America now wears its demons proudly. It wasn’t more racist before Trump, it didn’t wake up with a long list of phobias; America just no longer pretends; it is finally proud to be who we’ve always known it to be.
When they look back to our time, they’ll turn to the media archives and the textbooks which will be inundated with lies told from the perspective of those in power. Now more than ever, as Nina Simone advocated, it is our duty to reflect the times, to be the historians of our communities, to capture the struggle, the resilience, and the victories of our people. We are creating this documentary because our youth need more role models, they need to see that there are superheroes in their very own communities who look just like them, paving the way.
We are the hyphenated people. Neither here nor there, too brown, too black to be American, as if America didn't raise us, as if America doesn't survive on our blood, sweat, and tears. Historically, there’s been a hand gripping the vocal chords of our people. Still we find a way to sing, to shout our poetry over the fingers that try to cover our mouths. When we cannot speak, we dance. We survive our culture, we document our pain, we celebrate our victories with our art. Our art is the resilient Gods in us creating life. Life and energy that will be felt by all those who come after us. We are creating this film to artistically capture the resilience of our people, and to demonstrate the living political power of art.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Although our cast is New York based, our message is universal. For one, this film will allow you to be a witness to contemporary American history through the sleepless eyes of urban creators, movers, and changers. We are capturing the people currently making revolutionary strides in their communities. As we showcase the many different ways New Yorkers are getting involved in driving change, we hope it will inspire our viewers to take these lessons back into their communities.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
All of our speakers come from struggle, yet despite the hardships, they’ve risen from the concrete to spread beauty in their communities through education, advocacy, and art. Individually, they embody resilience and willpower, with their ability to channel pain into art.
Universally, this film showcases the power of black and brown resilience, as well as the political power of art. Interwoven throughout our piece, we’ll show protest performances in the form of visual art, poetry, rap, song, and dance.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
“Word Is Bond” is a phrase born out of hip hop. Originally, the heartbeat of our film was hip hop, because hip hop is the song of resilience and survival. We realize, putting hip hop alone at the center of the conversation narrows the narrative. Hip hop is just one vehicle to express the feelings of oppression, and the rise despite of it. We want to capture art, as a whole, in its varying forms, as a tool to spark empathy, challenge perspectives, and showcase our power.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Since we are in the pre-production stage, we’ve mainly received feedback on our themes, and cast selection. In and around our communities, people are excited to see local leaders on film; some people surprised that a film/show like this doesn’t already exist.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I’m sure when the film is in post-production and being viewed we’ll be faced with challenges by those who don’t believe art has political power, and by the people who continuously blame marginalized communities for their struggles and claim that challenging the system set in place by our wealthy white forefathers, makes us ungrateful.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Right now we are crowdfunding to assist with production costs, and since we are filming this week, we are thinking head to the editing stage. Gaining visibility on We Are Moving Stories can potentially lead us to a find partners, sponsors, or potential endorsers, and furthermore gain us exposure for our film in general.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are looking for executive producers, and distributors to come on board. We are also looking for exposure to journalists and film festivals.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Artistically, we want to show our work at various film festivals, hoping it’ll grow into a series that will expand our movement beyond New York. At a community level, we want this to spark grassroots activism. We want to inspire those who are apathetic to get involved, and we want the the young people watching this film to believe in the power of their talents and voices.
What’s a key questions that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
We are beginning the film with the question: “What does it mean to be an American? ”How do you feel like you fit in, with the definition you've given? What aspect of "America" do you want to belong to and has that changed since Trump took office? if so, how? “How did Trump becoming president make you feel as an American.” Also, now since our President uses social media as a political pulpit and tool. How has social media impacted your sense of "identity"? And has this changed during/post elections?
Would you like to add anything else?
We are currently crowdfunding through Indiegogo for production costs.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Tiffany johnson, is currently working in the props department on the new Netflix series Maniac, directed by Cary Fukunaga. On the side, she is also working on a poetry book, infused with her acrylic paintings.
Diana Ozoria runs a creative group called Uptown Talk that hosts open mic events, art squats, and artist showcases in the Bronx and Washington Heights. On the side, she is working on her poetry and visual art.
Interview: November 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Word Is Bond, A Curation of Resistance
A short poetic documentary, and a curation of resistance
Length: 45 minutes
Director: Tiffany Johnson
Producer: Tiffany Johnson & Diana Ozoria
Writer: Diana Ozoria and Tiffany Johnson
About the writer, director and producer:
Tiffany Johnson (Director/Producer): Tiffany earned her B.F.A. in Film & Television from New York University, Tisch School of Arts, focusing on Production Design and Art Direction. She got her spark in the fine arts world, studying acrylic painting, drawing, and animation. In her indie freelance work, she has designed several short films, music videos, and commercials.
Diana Ozoria (Creative Producer/Writer): Diana Ozoria is an artist all around who creates spaces for other artists to learn and platforms for them to speak their truth.
Hawk Newsome - Black Lives Matter NY Chapter President
Synead Nichols - founder of Million’s March
Ivie Ani - journalist on Village Voice
Selima Jumarali - educator at New York University
Radamiz - Hip Hop Artist
William Paris - Executive Producer of Legitimate Matters on BronxNet Tv
Joanna Fang - Emmy award winning sound designer, poet
Mario Benabe - STE(A)M Educator, CoFounder of South Bronx Community Charter School, Black Lives Matter Activist
Devaughn Holliday (Cypher League) - underground hip hop media group, president of DoJo Records
Fifth God (Andrew Askari) - photographer, cinematographer, record creator
Israa Ismaeil - journalist, visual artist and poet
Brandon Matthews - entrepreneur, black owned gym and fitness movement in Washington Heights
I.O.D. - hip hop artist
Jeffrey Almonte - social media star
Steven Willis - spoken word poet, actor and writer of "Love Beats Rhymes" directed by RZA
Safiel - artist, poet and founder of The NYC Grind
Erick Segura - visual artist (painter, photographer, fashion designer) and Founder of Wistful Heart
Liz Cuadrado - interior designer, photographer and singer
Nick Porter - dancer and co-founder of Oversoul Media Group
Paul Salandy - dancer and co-founder of Oversoul Media Group
Diamond De Jesus - dancer, poet
Candance (Poetic Candy) - spoken word poet
Anastacia - professor at Rutgers University
Roni Davis - Writer and Producer of the Emmy nominated, Tough Love series
Constance Smith - photographer
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
We are looking for executive producers, sales agents, distributors, film festival directors, and journalists.
Social media handles:
Funders: Crowdfunding, self-funded
Made in association with:
Fiscally Sponsored by From The Heart Production Inc
Where will the film screen in the next month?
The film is still in production stage. We are hoping to screen it by Fall 2018.