Paulina & Irja

  • February 25, 2013

PAULINE & IRJA is a 10-minute documentary, commissioned by Al Jazeera International for their “Witness” strand, that follows two octogenarian activists to a peace rally in downtown Los Angeles in the aftermath of 9/11.

Pauline and Irja live at Sunset Hall, a retirement home for “free-thinking” elders in Los Angeles. Reflecting on a long history of resistance, they express dismay at the impending war abroad and threats to civil liberties at home. While they are not about to give up the struggle, they reluctantly admit they are getting old. They challenge younger generations to join the fight for a better world.

The film evolved out of a global collaborative project called War&Peace that was deveoped by members of D-Word, an online community for documentary filmmakers, in response to 9/11. A collection of short web documentaries, Co-Producers Ben Kempas and Sarah George launched War&Peace as part of the Docs Online program at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) in November 2001.

The original 3-minute version of PAULINE & IRJA was shot and edited by Director Sarah George (and serves as a reminder of why she likes to work with talented professionals in these roles!) Her friend and longtime collaborator Pallas Weber edited the 10-minute version which includes archival images – such as the one above – and footage of the ‘Radical Teen Cheerleaders’ who performed at many peace rallies in Los Angeles in 2001.