‘The House I Live In’ screens at Union

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By Clara Boesch

On Thursday, Feb. 21st, the Union College Alumni Speaker Series invited producer Shirel Kozak ’07 to share with the campus community her award-winning film, The House I Live In.Before the screening that evening, Kozak sat down to dinner with a handful of Union professors and students at a long table in Aperitivo.  Munching on a salad, Shirel discussed her experiences working on the film.After graduating Union with a degree in Political Science, Kozak moved to New York City, where she found a creative outlet by working for documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki. Though she had no previous experience in the film industry, Kozak’s passion for politics landed her on the set of The House I Live In.Working for four long years on the project, Kozak has dealt with all areas of documentary film production.  Initially, she assisted with small tasks on set, but noted that she quickly learned to “wear many hats” among her small staff of five people.  She helped the locations department, worked with the film’s finances, and eventually became the film’s co-producer.Kozak screened The House I Live In in the Reamer Auditorium later that evening to an audience of over 55 students and faculty after dinner.  The film explores both Jarecki’s personal quest to discover how America’s so-called “war on drugs” has influenced his family in addition to the issues it has inflicted upon the nation as a whole.In the film, Jarecki is critical of the government’s policies regarding drugs, noting that unfair legislation has made the United States the largest jailer in the world. Filmed in over twenty states, the documentary details the experiences of drug dealers, inmates, officers, politicians, and family members who have been affected by the nation’s drug policies.The House I Live In is undoubtedly eye opening and moving, though after the screening, some audience members expressed concern about its negative portrayal of police officers in the controversial film.During a brief question and answer session, Kozak recalled working on the film for sixteen to eighteen hours each day leading up to its screening at the Sundance Film Festival this year, where it took home the prestigious Grand Jury Prize.  She also admitted that she is currently hoping to create a film of her own in the near future, but shied away from revealing details lest she jinx herself.Kozak’s experiences after graduating from Union College are certainly laudable and inspiring for any motivated student looking to raise awareness and promote change. To see Kozak’s achievements in The House I Live In, tune in to its premiere on PBS on April 8th.

 

 

On Thursday, Feb. 21, the Union College Alumni Speaker Series invited producer Shirel Kozak ‘07 to share with the campus community her award-winning film, The House I Live In.

Before the screening that evening, Kozak sat down to dinner with a handful of Union professors and students at a long table in Aperitivo. Munching on a salad, Kozak discussed her experiences working on the film.

After graduating Union with a degree in political science, Kozak moved to New York City, where she found a creative outlet by working for documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki.

Though she had no previous experience in the film industry, Kozak’s passion for politics landed her on the set of The House I Live In.

After working for four long years on the project, Kozak has dealt with all areas of documentary film production. Initially, she assisted with small tasks on set, but noted that she quickly learned to “wear many hats” among her small staff of five people. She helped the locations department, worked with the film’s finances and eventually became the film’s co-producer.

Kozak screened The House I Live In in Reamer Auditorium to an audience of over 55 students and faculty after dinner that night. The film explores both Jarecki’s personal quest to discover how America’s so-called “war on drugs” has influenced his family, in addition to the issues it has inflicted upon the nation as a whole.

In the film, Jarecki is critical of the government’s policies regarding drugs, noting that unfair legislation has made the United States the largest jailer in the world. Filmed in over 20 states, the documentary details the experiences of drug dealers, inmates, officers, politicians and family members who have been affected by our nation’s drug policies.

The House I Live In In is undoubtedly eye-opening and moving, though after the screening some audience members expressed concern about the controversial film’s negative portrayal of police officers.

During a brief question and answer session, Kozak recalled working on the film for 16 to 18 hours each day leading up to its screening at the Sundance Film Festival this year, where it took home the prestigious Grand Jury Prize.  She also admitted that she is currently hoping to create a film of her own in the near future, but shied away from revealing details, lest she jinx herself.

Kozak’s experiences after graduating from Union are certainly laudable and inspiring for any motivated student looking to raise awareness and promote change. To see Kozak’s achievements in The House I Live In, tune in to its premiere on PBS on April 8.

 

 

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