Hello Friends!  We have exciting news!  Our co-director, Aaron Kopp, has been named one of the Top 10 Filmmakers to watch in 2012 by The Independent. 

Read the full interview here!

So much has happened since our last update!  We wanted to let you know what we’ve been up to…

Aaron has been working hard on the rough-cut edit of our documentary. Every day working with the materials, we are impressed by the ideas the kids came up with and their storytelling abilities!  The footage looks beautiful and we are thrilled with how it’s all coming together.  Working on a project so close to his heart makes the hours fly by, Aaron says, “It doesn’t really feel like work when there’s nothing I’d rather do!”

Amanda’s art background has proven to be integral to the process as she develops the storyboards and style frames for the animation portion of the film.  The vision is starting to finally be realized in exciting images that capture the imagination of the kids and the vision we all dreamed of for Liyana's world.

Aaron has been working freelance on other films, and those opportunities have taken him across the globe and given him many exciting experiences.  Here’s a glimpse at the projects he’s been a part of since our last update.

Right after the documentary filming of Liyana in Swaziland, Aaron flew directly to Pakistan where he continued working as co-producer and cameraman for Saving Face, a documentary about acid attacks in Pakistan, directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People).


Much of Aaron’s time in the last couple of years was dominated by his 3 trips to Pakistan and months of assistant editing work on Saving Face. He was honored that he got to attend the Academy Awards along with the team, and we were thrilled when Saving Face won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short!


Always ready for the next adventure, just a few hours after the Vanity Fair Oscar party, Aaron flew to the remote island of Yap in Micronesia to work on another film.  It was about as far as one can get from the red carpet in Hollywood (both literally and figuratively). Aaron found himself in a grass hut drinking from coconuts, spear-fishing octopus for dinner, and loving every minute of it!  He is producer and director of photography for Julia Andersen’s My Island & Me, a documentary about the fragile Yapese culture at a crossroads of change in the face of major tourism development threatening to take over the island.


Aaron also worked in Kenya and India as director of photography for Lori Joyce’s documentary, Arise, about women around the world making a difference in the environmental movement.


Aaron did camera work for several other projects throughout the last year, and one that he felt very honored to be a part of was Kirby Dick’s film, The Invisible War, about sexual assault in the military.  It won this year’s Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.


It’s been a whirlwind, and Aaron is planning to be in China later this year for a National Geographic TV show, but for now he’s enjoying a season of being able to devote his full attention to Liyana.  

We are getting ready to submit to several film grants to seek funding for the animation and musical score of Liyana.  As soon as we have the funds we plan to work with animators at full speed ahead. We can hardly wait!  Wish us luck and stay tuned.

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