Outlook: So, how was it, being inside that ambulance all that time? I think I
had claustrophobia right along with you.
Becker (laughs): No, at the time it felt OK, though looking back on it now, I
get a little claustrophobic! You know, it all started with this deep sadness
that I feel for my country for the incredible level of violence we're living.
And what we're going through fighting this drug-consuming crazy Mafia, and how
the violence is changing all of us. So I started shooting this documentary,
trying to find some hope, trying to find some heroes, in these same streets in
where the drug gangs work. One day I was very close to a guy
who was shot, and the paramedics’ code for that is “5 Bravo.” The guy
actually made it, thank God, but looking at him, showing fear, of course, but
some sadness, and something peaceful...it really moved me. And that moment
inspired me to write the script. And I wanted to include all this crazy stuff
going on between the
, including what happens at the border.
one point in the dialogue, you had the female paramedic, saying cynically,
has motivation for
to continue to go down, down, down, so then they'll ask us to
come save them, and when we do, we take all their oil, or something.
(laughs) Yeah, the conspiracy theory from the movie. The point about that is
that it's hard for me to believe that the U.S. Government is involved in all
this conflict so far away:
, whatever, all these bases all over the world. But why not be
involved, instead, in this incredibly violent war that we're living in
? And the tons of drugs that go through every day--
PO: ------How are we not complicit in
Yeah! We're all part of it. We're all guilty in a way. I'm not trying to blame
anybody, but I'm trying to point out the complexity of the problem. This is a
real statistic: 70% of the weapons recovered from the drug gangs in
are bought here in the
, legally. So that tells you it could be stopped. It wouldn't
be easy. But it can be done.
PO: Is part of the solution to just
make all drugs legal and then tax them?
KB: I don't
know, man. No matter what you make legal, the Mafia will still find a way to
do something else illegal, terrorism, kidnapping, human trafficking......My
real view of the solution is that as human beings, all society has to change
inside. We have to stop wanting so much. We have to try to stop filling this
void we have with drugs. We have to be a little more spiritual---not
religious---whatever everybody believes. But this void that a human being has
by nature, this emptiness, we have to stop trying to fill that with alcohol,
drugs, money---we have to change ourselves. It's not just the fault of the
people who do the wrong thing; it's that so many fail to do the right thing.
PO: The rape scene was difficult, even
if it was off-camera, and we couldn't see it. We could still hear it.
KB: Yeah, we
actually filmed it, at first, but decided it was too much. I wasn't going for
porn here, but I wanted to make an impact, so I was appealing to the dark mind
of the audience. I gave them the guide of the sound, but you have to picture
it, you have to imagine it. You see it in your own mind.
PO: I know it was low-budget ($500k)
and only 2 ˝ weeks of shooting. But are there things you'd change if you
KB: Yes, the
first scene, when I'm with my wife. The camera is too still, the lighting is
too samey. I also needed to have more faith in my own intuition about things,
especially at the beginning, rather than listening to other people's visions.
You have to go with your own instincts. But at the end of the day, the small
technical stuff is not as important as the story, and the story is how I
wanted it to be. The ending is a little crazy, you know, against the fourth
wall, but I wanted to do something different. I am happy with the result.
Hopefully, I'll get the chance to do something bigger with more resources.
PO: I hope you do.
And thanks for your time.
Ronald P. Salfen is the Parish Associate, Woodhaven Presbyterian Church,