Review Fix chats with Director and Producer Apo W. Bazidi who discusses his film, “How Far is Home.”
About Apo W. Bazidi:
Director and Producer Apo W. Bazidi is an award-winning filmmaker who, born in Eastern Turkey to Kurdish parents, had been interested in storytelling since he was a child. After immigrating to San Francisco and meeting his mentor Angelo Ciaffi who encouraged him to pursue his passion for a career in film, Apo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Film & Television Production from the University of Southern California in 2011. Bazidi’s films are primarily concerned with social issues and the importance of global cultural interactions. His most recent work Resistance is Life won 8 Awards for Best Documentary Feature at San Diego Film Festival, Dances With Films and many more. Apo believes in making a positive change and his lifelong motto is “Be creative and inspire”.
Review Fix: Why is the topic of this film important today?
Apo W. Bazidi: Current attitudes in the US and across the world towards immigrants and ethnic diversity have been very harsh and negative. As the world shifts towards anti-immigration populism, many immigrants fear of an uncertain future. As an immigrant and an American who overcame harsh political and religious discrimination I had to say something about this and I had to show hold a mirror to this issue.
Review Fix: What inspired this film?
Bazidi: Definitely meeting young souls like Ahmed and Ruba has inspired me to tell this story. When I walked down to the cafeteria of Thomas Jefferson Newcomers Academy, I saw so many children from all parts of the world eating together in peace and harmony. It was like a mini UN without politics. That was the moment of inspiration.
Review Fix: How difficult was this film to put together?
Bazidi: It wasn’t that difficult to put it together. We had some technical issues, just like many projects face but overall it was a successful journey for us.
Review Fix: Tell me about the Ahmed and Ruba.
Bazidi: Young refugees like Ahmed and Ruba are great examples of determined people. They come from an uneasy background, escaping war and terror. They lost both their parents in the US right after they migrated yet they never lost hope and nor their smile. They pursued their dreams through education and working hard to become great members of society. Despite the portrait of immigrants in mass media, Ahmed and Ruba are the perfect examples of good refugees who has so much to offer us.
Review Fix: What was the feeling like on set?
Bazidi: The set was full of joy and great hope. Children from all over the world in this special place was striving through their dreams. Marisol Burgos, the head principal of the school, was very welcoming and she has opened the doors of her school, she called it her home, for me to tell their story. We had a tiny production crew, and we didn’t want to interfere with the students’ education. I also volunteered in some classes to teach high school students how to vlog and tell their stories. So overall the feeling on the set was very pleasant
Review Fix: What films have inspired it the most?
Bazidi: During the festival circle of my previous film Resistance is Life, I saw a documentary called 6 Weeks to Mother’s Day which was an inspiration for me to tell this film in its cinematic language.
Review Fix: What have you learned about yourself through this entire process?
Bazidi: I have learned that as an individual and artist if I have something to say about an issue I must act on it because actions speak louder. I’m also grateful to revisit the steps I walked in the past as an immigrant and share this message as part of my life.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Bazidi: My next project is called Campeón de Corazones (Champion of Hearts) following a former Cuban national and world champion boxer’s life through his philosophy and teachings.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Bazidi: As I said it before, Feelings Don’t have Borders. Everyone’s sorrow, pain, and joy is the same and we have to look at each other from this base. If we achieve this then this world will be more peaceful.