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From Vision Magazine: A Conversation with Oren Stambouli

May 9, 2007

Trust 22 by Oren Stambouli Fellow Zaadzster and filmmaker, Oren Stambouli just won the Best Documentary prize @ the Tenerife International Film Festival and recieved coverage in Vision Magazine this month.

To spread the good word of a fellow New Era Filmmaker and in congratulations, I’m posting his recent conversation with publisher Sydney L. Murray of Vision Magazine.

Congratulations, Oren! –D.

Watching the film Trust 22 I am struck once again by the way people can live life as a work in progress and trust that what they see in their mind’s eye can be achieved. It is the art of living.

This is a film that took the premise that if you know where you want to go and trust that the way to get there will be revealed, then you can achieve your dreams. Oren Stambouli, the director and creator of this film took a moment to give us some insight on this film.

Vision Magazine: Our theme this month is the living artist, do you see yourself as a living artist?

Oren Stambouli: Absolutely. I think that when you take an idea and create something that people can enjoy it is an art. In fim, I always try to tell stories that no else has told. My job as a filmmaker is to tell these stories in such a way that people can relate to them; and to tell the stories in an artistic way by using different tools like camera movement and colors, the film and the music–and melding them all into one beautiful creation. It’s audio and visual and acting and film making all at the same time.

VM: Where did the title of your film come from?

OS: From two things, the first is that the whole film was made from trust. When I began I didn’t have a camera I didn’t know where I was going to go. I wanted to tell a story with a message and just went with it and started following the synchronistic things that were happening in my life. The people that I met, and my guidance from the universe is the trust part. And the number 22 has been appearing everywhere for me since I began this journey. You know when you see something all the time–the number 22 was that for me. And when I was thinking of the title it has Trust in it and then 22 and then it made perfect sense because it was a word play on Catch 22. With Catch 22 you don’t know if you are in or out.

Most people would say you have to see to believe, so basically this film is a way to show you that you have to trust; you have to trust in your dreams, you have to believe in them. It’s not how, it’s what you want to get. Instead of focusing on how, focus on what you want to get. My intention was to make a film and I didn’t know how it was going to happen but I knew I wanted to make a film–and when I committed to this, things happened.

VM: How did the idea come about to use four different actors portraying one person’s journey?

OS: I knew that part of the film was going to show how the film was made, but I didn’t have the budget to hire a lot of people. I thought: I’ll tell this story without focusing on me, and my journey and decided to split the character into four different people. They are going to tell the story because anyone can do it. When you have goals and intentions and explore something good it is going to happen.

It is for everybody, you don’t have to be rich or poor or black or white–it works very time for every one.

And the other thing about trust is that we are all the same, we are all one. And by having four characters telling one story, everyone can relate to at least one of the characters. We are different as artists but at the end of the day we are all connected. And a lot of people helped me throughout the film and without the help of those people I wouldn’t have been able to make it happen, so it is a little bit of an homage to all of those people who helped me along the way.

VM: So how has this film changed your life?

OS: First it gave me a lot of confidence. It helped me to understand that it does work when you visualize and when you are focused on the things you want then things happen. The other thing is to realize that there are a lot of good people out there. For some reason we are under the impression that there are more people who want to do damage to the planet than there are good people who are fighting for something beautiful. I found so many amazing people that didn’t care about anything except just helping others. That was a big thing. When I was in South Africa I never had anything to worry about. There was always somebody who helped me or took care of me.

Coming back to America, I drove from Los Angeles to Miami with my whole house packed in my car. Everything was perfect. I met amazing people along the way. There are so many good-hearted people out there.

With my movie I don’t expect people to say this is the ‘Holy Grail’ because each person has a different way to connect to their power and that is one of the things I tried to portray as clearly as possible: that each person has a different way to connect but we are all saying the same thing. All of the people I have met whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist the only difference is the way they connect [to their higher power]. Some do it with prayer; some do it with meditation or yoga or whatever it is for them. And the only thing I would tell everybody is that they are all right. Find the one thing that is going to work for you and make a commitment as well as accept all of the people who might be better using other ways. That is one of the biggest lessons I learned from making this movie, which changed me.

VM: What brought you to make your own film?

OS: The point when I decided to make the film I had been working for Nickelodeon. I had a great job, I was living in New York and everything was going well. But I wanted to do something on my own and I wanted to make the leap from television to film. I was learning these things and applying them to my life and I wanted to spread the message, but at the same time I wanted to make a film and be in line with my bigger intention, which was making film. I think that is important for everyone to do something that they are passionate about.


I don’t know if I changed and I see more change, but I do think people are more open to this kind of message, and when you begin to apply this way of thinking and being in the world your whole life changes.

Trust 22 is available for sale at Trust22.com and coming to a film festival and screening near you.

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