Filmmakers Amy Benson and Scott Squire discuss the complex behind the scenes story of the making of their documentary, Drawing the Tiger. The documentary tells the story of a family in Nepal living on less than a dollar a day who win the globalization jackpot: a charity scholarship for their daughter to go to school in the capital city. She promises to return, to free her family from poverty, but she does not return. Amy and Scott go into the ethical dilemmas they faced to tell this story, and how they are using visual storytelling to raise awareness of suicide to share in schools in Nepal.
This interview was conducted by PhotoWings in partnership with Blue Earth Alliance.
Amy Benson is the co-owner of Nonfiction Media, a production company in Seattle. She has shot and edited over 25 short films telling the stories of nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest, Africa and Asia. Her personal documentary short Three: Impressions from the Struggle for Girls’ Education was the centerpiece of the UNIFEM Singapore film festival. Another short, Called to Shine, about Clarksdale, Mississippi’s only female preacher, premiered at the Langston Hughes film festival. Her very first short about the life in a local homeless encampment won awards from SIFF and The Seattle Times. She produced and directed her first feature film, Drawing the Tiger, in 2015.
Scott Squire is a lifelong photographer with a master’s degree in journalism (UC Berkeley). His work on a homeless children living in Bucharest earned him the Dorothea Lange Fellowship and the Susan Meiselas Fellowship from UC Berkeley, and his photo essay on Cairo street café culture was featured on PBS’s Frontline World website. His first book, Edges of Bounty (2009, Heyday Press), is a fine art documentary photo essay on small scale, independent food production in the Central Valley of California. His first feature film was Drawing the Tiger, where he severed as Producer, Director, and Director of Photography.