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Hands Project Interview with Naiara Eizaguirre-Paulos

Hands Project is spending the month interviewing friends and artists that are making their own projects in art, film, and photography. This week, I talked to Naiara, a filmmaker in Brooklyn.  Her hands are featured in the opening of my video.

Interview with Naiara Eizaguirre-Paulos, Filmmaker



Alex: Where are you from?

Naiara: Basque Country

Alex: So Spain?

Naiara: (Laughs) … no, the Basque Country.

Alex: How did you end up in Brooklyn, New York?

Naiara: Because I reached the height of my journalism in San Sebastian , Spain.  I was working as a journalist and teaching young journalists, but I still felt that there was more for me to do, for my own work.

Alex: so you got on a plane?

Naiara: No, not exactly, I did research on interesting programs, and I found the New School program, in documentary media studies. I find that documentary film studies filled something that was missing in my career.  Documentary film demands that you spend time with the subject and nurse out the details. Journalism lives and dies each morning and night. The story ends at the end of each day, and there isn’t the time to develop the story. 

Alex: Great, so you applied to the New School for Documentary Film Studies and were accepted?

Naiara: Yes I quit my job, (that was the best, after 7 years going to the same office, the feeling was fantastic). Actually I didn’t quit, I asked for two years sabbatical.

Alex: So when you arrived in New York , you started your program immediately?

Naiara: Yes I think I arrived on a Wednesday and the program began on a Friday.

Alex: And then did you dive immediately into a documentary film project?

Naiara: Yes the program is very intense and demanding.

Alex: I’m familiar with the project that you shot during this program, ‘Resident Alien’, what is that about and how were you attracted to the subject?

Naiara: Its about a refugee from gang violence in Honduras. He escaped to the US when he was 15 years old, he crossed the border through Mexico as an undocumented kid, and now he’s fighting against being deported, and trying to get his visa. You know when i came to the US in 2014, I read in the news that 60,000 kids were crossing border alone.

Alex: 60,000 kids!

Naiara: Yes, thats insane! When I read that in the news, I thought that kids should not be crossing the border and risking their lives, they should be playing outside, like I did. If you are an adult and you are trying to find a better life, I can understand that, but kids being forced to cross the border alone, traveling with murderers, crossing the dessert, riding the beast (the cross border train) at 15? shouldn’t be happening, come on!?

Alex: You’ve had quite a good response to the documentary, yes?

Naiara: Yes, being honest, immigration is a hot topic, and I knew that it was both a news story, and something that would be in the news for awhile, so it was more than a news story, with a greater life cycle.

Alex: Where has it shown?

Naiara: The world premiere was in DOC NYC film festival, the largest documentary film festival in the US. It was screened in Frontline Club London and Georgia as part of a Refugee Film Program held by Cinema For Peace.

Alex: So does it make you want to stay in the U.S.? Are you a Brooklynite now?

Naiara: Yes! (laughter) There are great opportunities here that you don’t find in Spain. people invest in talent, and i’m aware that they are investing money for the sake of money, but at least this society is open to investing in talent, in creativity, and you don’t need to be the son of someone, or have a huge recognizable career.

Alex: So you‘ve found that your work can breathe here and is appreciated?

Naiara: Yes, definitely. That’s why I want to stay.

Source – https://youtu.be/vCuRk-96SSc