Last week, POV aired Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock’s latest film, Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner. Viewers wrote in with questions about the film for Ms. Mock via email and via blog comments. She’ll be answering a selection of those questions on the POV Blog this week.
Question: Wrestling With Angels is about the life and work of Tony Kushner, a playwright who addresses topics like war and peace, gay rights, terrorism, American foreign policy and race relations in his plays and screenplays. How do you see Kushner’s political point of view play out in his work? How do you express your political views in your documentary films?
Freida Lee Mock: The question of art and politics has come up often in the discussions surrounding the film. A recent project I worked on demonstrates some of the ways I think about the connection between the two.
Adel Hamad is a Sudanese man who had been held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly 5 years without a court hearing. I heard about Adel’s case, and I worked together with actor Martin Sheen on a video about Adel’s case, and about the need for transparency and open hearings for detainees.
I’m happy to report that Adel Hamad was released in December 2007, and has been reunited with his family in Sudan. You can watch a video of Adel being reunited with his daughter at the Project Hamad Blog (footage courtesy of Al Jazeera). This is the result of all that hard work — a good man goes home to his family. However, Adel was only one of the many detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and many others are still in custody, still in legal limbo. You can find out more about Adel Hamad and the necessity of habeas corpas at Project Hamad.
Other viewers of Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner have also asked me about the relationship between art and politics in Tony Kushner’s work, and in my work. You can watch me talk about this topic in the video below.
Read Part II of Freida Lee Mock’s response to viewer questions.