The Human Experience
posted by LIM College
The Human Experience is a captivating documentary that really makes you think about life. Two brothers, Jeffrey and Clifford Azize, decided to go forth and see what it's like being in other people's shoes. They did 3 experiments.
#1 They both experienced what it was like being homeless in New York City in the middle of one of the coldest winters. Not only did they sleep outdoors, they roamed around the streets, begged for money, visited a homeless shelter, and even talked to other homeless people about their perspectives on life. The people they chatted with mostly believed they are still alive for a certain reason and appreciate the fact they're still alive & surviving.
#2 Then they visited Peruvian orphans. These kids deal with illnesses, disabilities, and/or were abandoned by their parents. Despite all that, these children have such a positive outlook on life.
#3 After, they visited a village of isolated Ghanian lepers. The people there suffer from leprosy, which according to PubMed Health is: "Leprosy is an infectious disease that has been known since biblical times. It is characterized by disfiguring skin sores, nerve damage, and progressive debilitation." Even they have a positive outlook on life as well.
I was able to interview one of the brothers, Jeffrey Azize, about the movie:
How long did it take you to film the entire documentary? It took 1 year.
What was the exact reason why you decided to do it? How did you come up with the idea? Grassroots Films came up with the idea to follow me on these experiences. I always wanted to be a part of something that could help to change the world in an original way -- something big. I knew if I were to stick with Grassroots Films, that I would be able to accomplish this.
You went and experienced 3 different lifestyles, if you were able to do any more, what would you decide to do and go out and experience? I would have loved to go to Asia. It would be incredible to visit with the Tibetan monks and then maybe even spend some time in India as well.
Was there any moment during any of those times you were filming that you second guessed yourself and felt like backing out? Never. I had the support of the film crew (AKA, my family!)
When you both decided to see what it's like being homeless in NY, it was one of the coldest weeks of winter. Do you wish you could have done it during the warmer season? Was it planned? No, it was kind of a spontaneous moment, going into action. The cold was a great factor in our experience, making it more difficult than it would have been any other season. It gave us a greater understanding of the situation that other homeless were going through. Were any of the other segments planned or was it more going with the flow? We planned on going to Peru with Surf For The Cause at the last minute. It was more so "going with the flow" than anything. Though we made some last-minute plans to go to the various locations, we had no idea what was ahead of us!
Do you think it would have been different if each of you were alone rather than together? Would you be able to handle it without the support system you had for each other? Though I could have handled it, it would have been a lot more difficult doing it alone. But to share and go through the experience with those close to me allowed me to go into a deeper understanding of the situations I was in.
Which of the 3 impacted your life the most? Each experience had a deep and profound impact on my life in many ways. Each had their gems. I couldn't pick just one.
Is there anything that you do differently now in your own lives? As for differences in my life after the film's journeys, I am more aware of the poverty that goes unseen throughout the world, and the need to continue addressing it. The relationship between my father and I is also different -- definitely better than ever before.
What are you up to now? What are your current career paths? Still looking to help change the world in new ways. I've had the amazing opportunity to travel all over the world with The Human Experience and meet with people inspired in their own way by the film. It's been really incredible.
Do you plan on coming out with another documentary film anytime soon? I am currently working on Grassroots Films' new project -- but hey, that's top secret!
According to the movie's description, the film really proved this statement: "By spotlighting heartwarming stories from around the world, this uplifting documentary shows viewers that every single person, no matter his or her lot in life, is beautiful."
-- Audrey Ong