A Sense Of Purpose
  • Friday, Oct. 26, 2018
John Hillcoat

In this issue’s Directors Series, there’s a sense of profound purpose among the filmmakers we profiled. Consider director Paul Greengrass’ decision to connect with Netflix, thus gaining exposure on that platform as well as in theaters for his 22 July, which tells the true story of Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack and the events that followed. On July 22, 2011, 77 people were killed when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a car bomb in Oslo before traveling to the island of Utoya to carry out a mass shooting a couple of hours later at a leadership camp for teens. 22 July focuses in particular on one survivor’s journey to recovery—and in doing so portrays the country’s path to healing and reconciliation.

“The way our society was going is what drew me to this story to begin with,” explained Greengrass. “The far right rhetoric that motivated Breivik needs to be combated. His testimony in court was incredibly chilling.”

Noting that young viewers might be more likely to give 22 July a look-see on Netflix—with the theater option also available—Greengrass explained. “What this film deals with are issues that the young generation will have to take seriously. They will be on the frontline of this fight for the future of our society. Young people are our future and so this film gaining exposure among them figured heavily into my decision to team with Netflix.”

Meanwhile director John Hillcoat reflected on Corazón, his film about organ donation for Montefiore hospital out of agency JohnXHannes, NY. Corazón depicts the real-life story of Elena Ramirez, a young Dominican prostitute living in Santo Domingo who is selling her body to provide for her family—only Ramirez’s body is failing her. She has a bad heart. Elena meets Dr. Mario Garcia, who gives her a fighting chance to live via a mechanical heart surgery that he and his colleagues can only perform at Montefiore in the Bronx. This is a story of chance, hope, courage, friendship, love and generosity.

While Corazón received Cannes Lions plaudits, Hillcoat is most enthused over his film’s impact. “The last time I checked, the film had initiated 4,000 new organ donors—that’s equivalent to saving or improving 30,000 lives in that one person can donate eight vital organs,” said Hillcoat. “My hope is that the film continues to gain exposure. I’m proud of the work and what it’s doing.”

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