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Working hard to overcome the many challenges of growing up in a poor and violent Brooklyn neighborhood, Eddie Lama developed a deep sense of identification with the vulnerable and voiceless beings of our world. In one of the most moving sections of THE WITNESS, he describes the harrowing experience of being beaten and left for dead, crying out for help and no one responding. Eddie then shares how this trauma helped him understand the plight of animals, who so often endure violence with no one to even witness their tragic fate, much less advocate on their behalf.
In 2001, the Peace Abbey gave Eddie their Courage of Conscience Award. Upon accepting it, he said, In my lifetime I have been both the oppressor and the oppressed, both the fomenter of discord and the advocate for peace, both the perpetrator and the victim. But most significantly, I have been both the silence and the voice. It is the human voice that is the primary tool for change.
Eddie s willingness to so openly share both the dark and the light of his own life has inspired many who have seen THE WITNESS to follow his example, making a conscious decision to do all they can not to participate in the exploitation of others, be they two-legged or four-legged.
Today, Eddie continues to rescue and provide homes for unwanted and abandoned animals, while also operating a non-profit organization, FaunaVision, which focuses on his unique approach to mobile, street-level video education.
Jenny Stein, a graduate of UCLAs Independent Film and Television Producers Program, is Co-Founder with James LaVeck of Tribe of Heart, a charitable non-profit organization that uses the art of storytelling and documentary to present a vision of a compassionate future. THE WITNESS is Ms. Stein's award-winning directorial debut.
Jenny shoots, edits and scores Tribe of Heart films, striving to merge the up-front authenticity of documentary with the fluid emotional dynamics usually found in dramatic films. More than her filmmaking classes at Cornell or her graduate education at UCLA's film school, she credits her childhood musical training and her alternative school education with influencing how and why she chooses to expresses herself through documentary filmmaking.
She says: At heart, I m a choreographer who finds music and motion in everything--the spoken word, the moving image, even the flow of ideas. My goal as an artist is not to get people to think what I think, but to see what I see, to feel what I feel when I look out into the world. I hope to inspire people to undertake their own quest for truth and self-knowledge, and most important, to think for themselves.
Documentaries by Jenny Stein and her filmmaking partner James LaVeck have appeared in 77 festivals around the world, where they have won 18 awards, including 4 for Best of Festival and 13 for Best Documentary. Their work has also appeared on PBS, LinkTV FreeSpeech TV, and the United Kingdom's Community Channel.
If you care anything about animals, you must see this movie. Jenny Stein and James LaBeck are master film makers. Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by Nappy's Mom
Eddie Lama is my hero. Not an easy film to watch; I sobbed through at least half of it - opens the heart to awareness of so much suffering. Read morePublished on May 10, 2012 by Stuart S. Smith
NOT well done at all. I was looking for a movie to show friends, family, or co-workers who showed interest in vegetarianism or veganism who didn't want to read a book. Read morePublished on December 1, 2008 by F. Young
One of the most disturbing, but best films I've ever seen. A person would have to be emotionally stunted not to feel something watching this movie. Read morePublished on November 25, 2008 by PJ
The Witness is a life changing film, and I know some of the footage is not pleasant, but that is what wakes people up !! Read morePublished on November 5, 2006 by Devin Listrom
Eddie Lama, the subject of this documentary, is a middle-aged concrete and aluminum contractor who grew up on the tough streets of Brooklyn. Read morePublished on February 28, 2006 by Tammy
Artist Peter Max says, "A short film with a big heart"
LOS ANGELES TIMES heralds "unique, indelible 43-minute documentary"
The Witness tells the inspiring and... Read more