Laura Cohen and Paul Aflalo have been following the results of the Radio-Canada Internationale (RCI) Digital Diversity film contest closely for one reason: to see if their short documentary Jahsun has made it to the next round.
The two Concordia Communications students used their experience from the classroom to direct a little gem about an extraordinary musician, Jahsun. He is the focus of the short because of his leadership in Kalmunity, a musical movement happening in Montreal. The group consists of 70 artists getting back to grassroots of music.
Partly a biography, mostly a reflection on following your dreams, Jahsun explores this theme with great imagery, awesome sound and great black & white stills.
“It’s a social and artistic movement. And when they perform it’s like they’re sending a message of community and peace,” Cohen said in an interview.
Cohen and Aflalo have big hopes for this documentary. “We’re hoping to win the contest,” Cohen elaborated. “Once the contest is over we’ll have it posted on Citizenshift (an affiliate of the National Film Board). We also applied to a few festivals, we’re going to be screened at the Recontre Internationale du Documentaire de Montreal. Hopefully it’ll take us to different places, we believe in it!”
Cohen and Aflalo, soon to be graduates, fell on the project accidentally. “We were working on another project on Haiti and that’s how we met. When we heard of the contest, we were trying to think of someone who is strong within the community who brings people together and the person who came to mind was Jahsun, right away. He’s sort of the glue that keeps everyone together at Kalmunity.”
The two have been inspired by the Kalmunity movement the moment they saw the crew perform to the point where Jahsun was no longer just a subject but had become a friend.
“When you go see their show you feel like you’re a part of them, you don’t feel like your some observer watching a band on stage. It just makes you feel like you’re a part of it,” Aflalo explained.
“If you ever have a really bad week just go see Kalmunity and you’ll be feeling ten times better. You’re inspired to do something instead of sitting on your ass and do nothing.”
To check out Jahsun visit www.rcinet.ca, voting begins on Nov. 5. Kalmunity performs every Tuesday 8-11 p.m. at Sablo Kafé located at 50 St-Zotique.