Québec, Canada: Sharon MacLeod receives a phone call that her son Alexander is in critical condition at the hospital. He may not live through the night.
Alexander had been struggling through adolescence and had made a noose of his belt loop.
The saddest of all events comes to pass. A year later, Sharon tells how much she still misses him and still wonders if she and her husband Sylvain could have done something differently.
Something has happened to Alexander
Had barely turned 15
Got a phone call from a woman I’d never met
Belfast, Maine: Alex meets a potter named Dehmie and they become friends. She makes and glazes a colorful oval pot as a gift for him. Alex senses that the gift may be a sort of communication between two like-minded artists.
Dehmie calls the clay pot a “boat” as she gives it to him and says, “Whenever you look at this boat, think of how I believe in you.”
Alex told this story to Khalid and Will, who collaborated with him to create this documentary song. The recording is a run-through after the first draft of the song was completed.
Dehmie came into my life
She made the most beautiful thing
A boat made of clay that she gave to me
This feels like a weight that could make me feel lighter
Like a weight that could make me feel lighter
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: Malika Bakayoko’s mother and father come from different tribes with different languages.
Their language in common was French, so that is what she learned at home and school. Now she longs to feel comfortable with her tribal families, but she cannot even talk to them. She must always turn to her father and say, “What is she saying?”
Mom is Christian, Dad is Muslim
Mom is Ébrié, Dad is Dioula
So they speak in French
Neither of them taught us
The language of their tribe
Brussels, Belgium: Sacha De Keizer (on the left in the photo) grew up negotiating a French home life and a Flemish school life. Additionally she found herself acting as “a third wheel” confidant in her parents deteriorating marriage.
They divorced, and and she lost her family, her home, and even her loyal dog Happy. She says, in an understatement, there was “Collateral Damage.”
For me everything that is family
Is my house and my dog
She is the only one
who went through it all with me
I am the third wheel in the marriage
There was collateral damage
London, England: Camila Solis Torrez, who grew up with her Bolivian mother in England, recalls a time in 6th form when she yearned to be friends with people who shared a Spanish cultural background.
She finds them, but then she discovers that she is different from them. She’s not interested in fashion or the things they love to talk about. She becomes so isolated that her mom says, “Your room looks like you’re depressed.”
London, England: Noura Safar is a university student in London whose mother is half-German and half-Iranian. Her father is Iraqi. She grew up as an only child with Germany as her home, but her heart feels alive whenever she visits the Middle East.
In either place, she feels she’s only half of herself. She has learned that she has a half-brother from her father’s previous marriage. She’s reaching out to this half-brother, hoping, as an only child, to find a sense of kinship. She emails to introduce herself, wondering, “Should I say My Dad, Your Dad, or Our Dad?”
Hasting Brook, Maine: As a young boy, Don Mitchell witnessed a fire raging through his Maine village. But then, in the ashes, beautiful raspberries began to grow.
Film Design and Artwork: Clio Berta
Story Source: Interview with Don Mitchell by his son Roger Mitchell
The fire came, the fire came, the fire came down
Well, she started at Hasting Brook
Hasting Brook by the big falls
Between Jackson Sluice and Adam’s Ridge
She took out strip of land
And the trees, she took ‘em all
At a middle school in the Ukraine, Genevieve Roby sees a group bullying her friend Anja. Genevieve takes a stand and intervenes, but she is one against many.
I was in middle school
Friend from India
She was made fun of
For how much hair she had on her arms
Coming from one girl to another
Fabiola Ferrero, of Caracas, Venezuela, reexamines her path as a photojournalist, looking out into the world and also into herself. (English translation below)
Yo soy periodista
Llego acá no hay nada
Cerrada en cuatro paredes
En esta ciudad
Nora Willauer – teaching artist, cello, vocals
From the #MeToo Songs project
If I spoke up
After 40 years
Would it take away
What you’ve done
Would my life get any better
If you spent yours in jail
My father said
Do you have your legs
Do you have your arms
Then you will be okay
These words have kept me standing
And I’m still here
From the #Veteran Songs project: After Duane comes home from the Korean war, he finds direction through discovering faith in his religion and the love of his life.
Off to Korea
And then I was coming back
What was I gonna do, then
The Lord brought Ellie
Learning that a long-time friend is gay and has decided to move away, Malcolm Brooks wrestles with losing contact but wanting what’s best for his friend.
You finally told me your secret
You told no one for years
You tell me that soon you’ll be moving
There’s nobody like you here
Meeting in the buffer zone, Androulla Shati tells teaching artist Melodi Var Öngel about her childhood when Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots would play together.
Dali, my village
The only one left with people
People lived in peace