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

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

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.”

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.

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