What it's about: "Kirsty
Sword, a young Australian activist, aspired to be a documentary
filmmaker in East Timor, but instead became an underground operative for
the Timorese resistance against Indonesia in Jakarta. Her code name:
Ruby Blade. Her task: to become a conduit of information and instruction
for the resistance movement’s enigmatic leader, Kay Rala "Xanana"
Gusmão, while he was serving life in prison for his revolutionary
activities. Through correspondence, they fell in love. "Alias Ruby Blade" captures their incredible love story, from this
beginning to the ultimate triumph of freedom in East Timor,
demonstrating the astonishing power of ordinary individuals to change
the course of history.
What else should audiences know?: "We want the audience to understand that though we are intensely interested in the story of the history of the liberation of East Timor and the sophistication of the non-violent resistance struggle, what we are even more interested in is the power of ordinary people to change the course of history. That’s what this film is really about. And that is why you don’t need to know anything about the geography or the historical conflict to appreciate this story."
On the challenges: "On the one hand, the story is relatively obscure and under reported in the United States, but on the other hand, a number of notable documentaries have been produced about this topic. We didn’t seek out to make an investigative documentary, as others have done before us, we sought to make a dramatic film that could be accessible to a wide audience outside of the activists and journalists that might already be interested in this topic. So for us the challenge was to make a film that would appeal to people on both sides of that spectrum of involvement and awareness of the larger topic."
What they hope audiences will walk away with: "Rather than pointing to one specific message or cause, we would like
people to exit the theater with a little less fear to speak out or act
with courage when confronted with injustice and hypocrisy of all forms.
If anything, we want our film to be a reminder for people struggling for
justice and for human rights that sometimes the good guys really do
Films that inspired them: "One film that comes to mind immediately is “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” made by our Executive Producers Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker. First, you’re taking a story about the women’s peace movement in Liberia and elevating it out to a very broad audience. Then, we studied the way it was shot and edited and applied some of the lessons we could glean from it to the craft of Alias Ruby Blade. It also helped us to have the filmmakers themselves giving us notes in the edit. Another film I could point to as a inspiration would have to be "When We Were Kings" – in particular the editing style and interview technique of putting the subjects in the moment of an event that transpired in the past. The checkerboard style of editing of the brilliant first scene of that film was a direct inspiration for the end of our film, we watched it over and over again."
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.