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Filmmaker Q&A: Matthew Millan (Stronger Than Bullets)

For the last few days, we've been presenting you with a series of blogs featuring some of the filmmakers from this year's festival - Linda Ohama (A NEW MOON OVER TOHOKU), Jordan Roberts (BURN YOUR MAPS), Jonatan Relayze (ROSA CHUMBE), and Toby Fell-Holden (BALCONY). Today's subject is Matthew Millan of the music documentary STRONGER THAN BULLETS, which highlights the role of music and community in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprising in Libya in February 2011. He talks about a different side of the country than the one we are usually presented within the media.


Can you tell us something fun about the making of STRONGER THAN BULLETS? 

When we were planning the music festival, I learned very quickly what insh'allah actually means to Libyans. When someone said, "We will be at the meeting at Tibesty Hotel at 6 PM, insha'allah," it didn't quite mean God willing but more, "If there is a dire emergency, and all of the potable water is at Tibesty Hotel, then I will see you there at 6 PM. Otherwise, I am going to continue playing Skyrim online with my buddies."

What are you looking forward to doing the most when you're in Calgary for the festival? 

I am most looking forward to the Q&A after the screenings, particularly because Hammuda Abidia, one of the stars of the film, will be there to field questions.

What do you hope audiences will take away from watching your film? 

I would like audiences to feel the mighty power of music to elevate the human spirit above even the direst of conditions. I would also like them to see Libya in a completely different light than what they are used to, given the media attention that it has received. Instead of images of Ansar al-Sharia parading around the U.S. Mission amid the buildings aflame, I would like the iconic image of Libya to be Masoud Buisir singing his song on a stretcher after being wounded by a sniper.


STRONGER THAN BULLETS plays on Friday, September 23 (7:00 PM, Globe Upstairs) and on Sunday, September 25 (4:30, Eau Claire 2). Matthew, as well as the producers Harold Millan and Hammuda Abidia, will be in attendance at the Friday screening.

Have you picked up your copy of the program guide yet? It's got everything you need to make the most out of your film festival experience! Swing by the Box Office Headquarters at Eau Claire Market, or the newsstands at the Globe Cinema, and get one to take home today. Remember, everything kicks off on Wednesday with our opening gala, MAUDIE!