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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #34: Why Adam Ciralsky's 'The Project' Gives a Whole New Meaning to Passion Project

By Indiewire | Indiewire April 15, 2013 at 11:00AM

Many filmmakers are passionate about their work and some even travel to remote parts of the world to tell stories they feel inspired to tell, but Adam Ciralsky's account of filming in Somalia gives the term 'passion project' a whole new meaning. The Emmy award winning filmmaker began his career as an attorney at the CIA and Pentagon before transitioning into the media where he spent a decade writing and producing for CBS’ "60 Minutes," a variety of NBC platforms as well as Vanity Fair magazine. In that time he won several high-profile awards, including a Peabody and a Polk. In 2010, he teamed up with "60 Minutes" colleague, Shawn Efran, to co-direct and co-produce “The Project.”
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Adam Ciralsky
Adam Ciralsky
Many filmmakers are passionate about their work and some even travel to remote parts of the world to tell stories they feel inspired to tell, but Adam Ciralsky's account of filming in Somalia gives the term 'passion project' a whole new meaning. The Emmy award winning filmmaker began his career as an attorney at the CIA and Pentagon before transitioning into the media where he spent a decade writing and producing for CBS’ "60 Minutes," a variety of NBC platforms as well as Vanity Fair magazine. In that time he won several high-profile awards, including a Peabody and a Polk. In 2010, he teamed up with "60 Minutes" colleague, Shawn Efran, to co-direct and co-produce “The Project.”

What it's about:

“The Project” profiles the precarious, real-life story of the Puntland Maritime Police Force, a shadowy group of pirate hunters.  Taking the hijacking of the world’s waterways and the kidnapping of innocent citizens into its under-trained hands, the PMPF faces mutiny, murder, and diplomatic mischief in its dangerous quest to rid a country and its coastal waters of terror. The mercenaries’ epic battle makes for an intense, griping and groundbreaking ride.

What else should audiences know?: "The Project" is by far and away the most challenging and rewarding story I have ever had the privilege to tell. My co-director and I fought for and received unprecedented access to a force -- created to take on the pirates and free their hostages -- that was shrouded in secrecy and involved some of the most elusive people on the planet. We spent two years following this unorthodox cast of characters as they fought the pirates as well as members of the international community who were determined to shut them down. We captured the full gambit -- treachery, tragedy, bravery and resilience -- on camera."

On the challenges: "This documentary was filmed in what is widely regarded as the most dangerous and unforgiving place on earth, Somalia. The bulk of our film takes place in an area where print journalists to say nothing of cameramen fear to tread...and for good reason. At the outset of production, our camera crew was detained and held at gunpoint for 12 days after being falsely accused of "impersonating a camera crew."

"The Project" still
"The Project" still


What he hopes Tribeca audiences will walk away with: "The Project" invites viewers to question conventional wisdom about how the world addresses seemingly intractable transnational threats. In this case, piracy. The film offers an inside look at a solution that, by any measure, is unorthodox. As filmmakers, we understand full well that audiences may have preconceived notions about mercenaries and pirates. However, with America's appetite for curing the world's ills ebbing, my sincere hope is that people come away asking hard questions about who is best suited to stand in our stead."

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.



Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.

This article is related to: Tribeca Film Festival, Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers






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