‘The Great Disconnect’ is the next film by the predominantly Caymanian production team of filmakers who also produced the ‘Bright Spot’; a seemingly unassuming documentary about coconut oil that quickly morphed into something everyone just kind of knew they had to see.
Though the topic this time is somewhat distant from coconut oil, the interest in this group’s work is still palpable and folks know they are possibly in for a treat.
The Caymanian Times had an opportunity to speak exclusively with the film’s Director, Tamer Soliman who told us more about the creative process and revealed plans for a major premier in Grand Cayman later this year.
The production team includes Rob Tyler (Co-Director, DP), Jeremy Walton (Co-Producer, Executive Producer), Neville Hicks (Executive Producer), StephenPrice (Executive Producer)and Candy Whicker (Associate Producer) all of whom are either from or live in Grand Cayman.
Sarah Douglas (Story Editor and Writer) and Tamer (Producer and director) moved back to Canada about 2 years ago now.
1. Why did you feel the need to do Disconnected now?
“Before making this film, I had been aware of the concept of community wellbeing, but I never really thought too much about it, and I definitely didn’t think it was a key factor in achieving optimal health. Working as a health and wellness professional for over a decade, I advised my clients that health was defined by two things: what we ate and how much we exercised.
But all of that changed after a trip to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Rob, my good friend and Director of Photography, and I stayed a few nights in a small mountain camp, outfitted with just the basics for simple village life. The purpose of the trip was to learn from the local population about food, nutrition and sustainable living, but what really overwhelmed us was the profound sense of community. Despite lacking (many possessions and material things), the people of this village seemed happy, healthy and connected to one another. This made me wonder – how do people in North America feel about their sense of community and connectedness? And what, if any, effect does this have on our health and overall wellbeing?
These questions inspired me to direct and produce The Great Disconnect. As I met with experts in economic, social and urban design, I discovered how multifaceted this idea of community wellbeing is, and the ill effects that happen as a result of community breakdown. These issues not only impact personal health and wellbeing but the health and wellbeing of communities on a much larger scale. Loneliness and social isolation are being labeled as epidemics - epidemics that may become one of society’s biggest challenges of the 21st century.
Making this film has changed my definition of what it really means to be healthy - physically, emotionally, and socially. My hope is that by watching this film people will reflect on the idea that to be well, we need to find ways to come together. The health of society as a whole depends on it.
2. Where did you shoot most of the project?
We shot mostly in Vancouver for 3 reasons. The first reason is because most of the interviewees we wanted to interview were located there. Secondly, It’s where a lot of the research on loneliness and mental health gets published so interviewees and strangers we came across could speak to it relatively easily. Lastly, we conducted a real life experiment with one of our main characters and she lived in Vancouver as well.
We did however begin filming in Jamaica starting with a community of Rastafarians. As I mentioned in the answer to your previous question, their profound sense of community truly overwhelmed us. After lengthy scripting sessions we realized that we had a really big topic to explore so off we went to interview experts in Toronto, Vancouver and L.A.. What was great about being in big cities was that we could capture cinematic shots that coincide with the main themes expressed by the interviewees of the film.
3. The editing and production are ace. Is this something you do in-house? How do you make this happen?
It was a truly a team effort that required the skills, talents, patience and collaboration of many individuals. Please refer to the creator tab on www.disconnecteddoc.com.
4. After Bright Spot, this release shows that these projects are coming from thinking minds and a level of awareness is evident in the topics you are choosing. Do you see film making as a means to change society?
It’s without a doubt one of the most powerful mediums to create change. What happened with Brigth Spot is truly magical. We hope that the call to action in The Great Disconnect has the same kind of impact.
5. Can you say which businesses in Cayman have assisted with funding?
• RBC is our title sponsor
• DART our platinum sponsor
• 3 GOLD sponsors: Ironshore Pharma, Oceanfront realty, TRIO design & architecture.
• 5 Silver sponsors: Bogle Insurance, CUC, Red Sail, Maples, Fosters
• 3 Bronze: Mourant, Genesis, Carey Olsen
6. Will you have a premier in Cayman?
Yes! It’s around the corner and we hope everyone comes out! Details are below:
October 11th and 12th
Regal Cinemas, Camana Bay
Showings at 6:00pm and 8:00pm
Tickets are $15 on October 11th and includes entry to the private after party in Camana Bay Crescent
Tickets are $10 on October 12th
There will be a Q&A with the filmmakers after all 4 showings.
https://www.tickettailor.com/events/disconnected-premiere Event details are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Disconnecteddoc/
7. Is any of the documentary shot in Grand Cayman?
Because the film needed a big city feel we had to stick to big cities. We hope Cayman forgives us for this.
8. How do you plan to distribute the film?
We currently have a distribution contract with an agency called Showcase entertainment
https://www.thescmediagroup.com out of California. They’re extremely credible and love the film’s premise. They are currently working on a distribution deal internationally for us. Because of our contract, the film isn’t yet available to be shown publicly (other than in cayman) or through VOD channels. We are however able to license the film to non-profits, NGO’s and educational institutions looking to screen the film at conferences, school assembly’s or in their communities. Over the next 3 month there will be close to 30 screenings across Canada in that capacity. We’ve also received requests from Australia, Sweden, the U.K. and the United-States, which is just amazing! If organizations are interested in licensing the film, they can contact us for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Will it be available online as well?
At some point for sure! We’ll let everyone know soon. To keep up to date with the film’s developments they can subscribe to the site here:
www.disconnecteddoc.com or follow us on a Facebook here:
10. Are there any actors Caymanian/Otherwise whom we might know in the film?
I narrate and appear in the film as the guide that threads the different themes of the film. Our most internationally known interviewee is Ron Finley. He’s known for starting community garden projects in South Central Los Angeles, a theme we explore in the film. He's got one of the most viewed TED talks of all time which you can watch here: https://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la?language=en
11. How long did this project take to complete?
The short answer is 2 years and a bit :). The long answer is: Our filming was interspersed and happened between October 2016 until March of 2017. We began editing shortly after and completed our first version at 42 minutes which, some might remember screened at CayFilm in 2017. When we we’re approached by our distribution agency during the spring of 2017, they advised us that the film would be more appealing if it was lengthened to 60 minutes. This was a challenging endeavor because we truly thought that we had exhausted our footage but it enticed us enough to go back and review the whole footage, which was worth it because we found more and integrated them into the footage. The film was made into a feature length production in November of 2018. We’ve been slowly rolling out our distribution strategy since.
12.Can you tell us a little about the soundtrack for the film?
It’s all licensed music from independent musicians. We mainly used artlist io - https://artlist.io
13. Is there anything else you would like to include that I may not have asked? Please feel free to share anything you wish for the public to know regarding the documentary or about the producers.
The film has an important message that’s resonating with so many people. We didn’t expect it but It’s really amazing to see. We think it’ll resonate equally with the people of Cayman and I personally can’t wait to be in Cayman on October 11th when we kick off the first screening. What’s great is that after the screenings the discussion continues with a Q&A and an after party.
Event details are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Disconnecteddoc/
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