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Sound Focus

Surviving Shame, Silent Movie Magic, and a Horse in the Projects

Megan Sukys

As a Seattle–based filmmaker, Sabina Ansari helped tell the story of a woman who transformed a horrific attack into a cause for social justice. Sabina tells us how this experience inspired her own activism. Later, organist Dennis James reveals the magic of silent films.

At 2:00 p.m. – Surviving Shame

In 2006, Time Magazine named Pakistani activist Mukhtaran Mai. list of the 100 most Influential People in the World. A few years earlier, Mukhtaran had been gang raped in her village. She later turned that experience into a catalyst for social justice and rose to international prominence as a human rights activist. But when Seattle-based filmmaker Sabina Ansari first met Mukhtaran Mai, Mukhtaran was still in shock and barely able to speak about her experience. Sabina was there as a filmmaker to help tell Mukhtaran's story. This overwhelming task ended up transforming both women. For Sabina, it was the beginning of a long journey toward finding her own voice as a filmmaker and activist. Sabina Ansari speaks with Jeremy Richards.

At 2:20 p.m. – A Horse in the Projects (from The Story)

Aretha Crout was only 14 years old when she saved enough money to buy a horse. The catch was that she didn't have her parents' permission and she lived in the Northern Long Beach projects. Aretha tells Dick Gordon how she used a tense moment with her new pet to help other children from the projects change their behavior.

At 2:40 p.m. – Dennis James on Silent Films

The closest you can get to traveling back in time is watching a silent film with live music in a movie palace. At least, that's what Dennis James believes. He's an organist for silent films. He lives in Tacoma, but he plays for silent films all over the world. Dennis says old silent movies had a sense of wonder that modern film can't touch. He feels that wonder most when he accompanies three silent movies in particular. Jeannie Yandel asked him about those films, starting with the 1925 movie "The Phantom of the Opera."

At 2:55 p.m. – Old Cars in Cuba (from World Vision Report)

Automakers recently held their annual auto show in Detroit showing off the latest innovations in automobile technology and design. Hybrid and all electric cars were hot items at the show this year. Meanwhile, in Cuba, you could be on a 1950s film set when it comes to cars. Cubans were not allowed to buy new cars after the revolution, but were allowed to hang on to their old ones. So most cars on Cuban roads are American models made before 1959. There's a rumor that Raul Castro is considering lifting the ban on car ownership. But few Cubans will be able to afford one. After all, the average salary in Cuba is only $17 a month. Amelia de Sousa reports from Havana, in our ongoing series on life in Cuba.

Related Event

Sabina Ansari's documentary film "Shame," part of The Seattle Human Rights Film Festival, screens Saturday, February 7, 2009 at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum. Ansari will give a talk following the screening.

Dennis James accompanies the film "Son of the Sheik" at Lynwood Theater on Bainbridge Island on Sunday, February 15 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. On Thursday, February 19, he'll accompany the Buster Keaton film "College" at the Washington Center For The Performing Arts in Olympia.

Sound Focus Contacts
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