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The Meeting ( the interpreter)

Here we finally arrive at the darker shadow selves of the characters from the film and stage production of The Neeting ( the interpreter) . The thrust of what motivates governments or individuals to abandon truest self over greed or fear haunts this short film’s theme . Their charm is corrupted by ambition and finally catch glimpses of the world the interpreter tries to escape from .

Catherine Gropper is winning awards and finalist selections for her film series The Meeting (the interpreter) inspired from her meetings with Anatoli Samochornov.Her doc. Tents of God (honorable mention,2019) Embers ( 4 star review The Scotsman 2001)Miss Crandall ‘s Classes ( Mead theatre,DC ). Member dramatists guild; New York women in film and television ; Clarion Choir; Promise Productions; worked with Zoe Caldwell; Salome Jens,Honor Roll in dramatists guild; films for indigenous people; doc. in pre production ( Save Our Swans ); wildlife environment

How did you start making films?

When I work with actors in my plays I become very respectful for their responses

and human expression. Occasionally, a camera lens can capture raw emotion, however

subtle, mirroring how we feel. So the camera’s silence tells the story of somebody inside.

I also love the light and reflections from nature that only a camera can capture in a time

lapse. Nothing escapes my curiosity and I use my phone wherever I am as a sketchbook

to draw ideas from. Probably I was making film in my mind before it was actualized

since I saw stories evolve out of human expressions, and mostly I love the universality of

how we all relate emotionally from our souls.

Why are you fascinated with the documentary genre?

The current events and news of this last decade has prompted me to reveal the

truth, the harrowing truth of what is really shaping our lives. In documentary genre I can

elicit specific images from history. When a documentary artist shapes her point of view,

it is substantiated by factual, rather than made-up, drama. These realities can be very


What was the first documentary project that you worked on?

“Tents of God” is a 12-minute documentary film set in Staten Island after

Hurricane Sandy smashed the islanders and natural habitat pretty badly. Visiting the

small and vital island, I experienced a personal loyalty to those who I interviewed. Their

lives were shattered and some of them were not even lucky enough to have the

government buy back their land so they could move on. Most wanted to stay, as any of

us would also. What struck me was their abiding sense of community. In some of the

frames I explored tents which were erected where people donated food, clothing and even

massage to lift their spirits. The D’Amico family whom I am still in touch with had to

completely rebuild their home. I got to meet the mother and her children and they have

promised me home-baked onion bread when I return. There is so much pride in Staten

Islanders. Lisa Oz reflects this in her answer of how her family loved where they lived

and her roots. Ultimately, just the gigantic symbol of those orange, languid ferries back

and forth to Manhattan that I took since I was young girl, had a particular visual that was

necessary to share on film.

Tell us about your latest short documentary and how it went into production.

It isn’t easy to amalgamate cinematic truths about current politicians. At first, I

would capture a lot of footage about the 2016 election because America was beginning to

show signs of shaving off its own convictions of the Constitution. The documentary in

the Montreal Independent Film Festival 2022 grew out of writing my stage play, “The

Meeting (The Interpreter).”

That story revolves around a particular protagonist who is the actual translator-

interpreter at the infamous Trump Tower in 2016. No matter how convoluted the facts

became about Russian collusion or Hillary Clinton or sanctions, the meeting really

happened. Like all of us caught in a continuum of stories and sick, searing political

ambitions, it became apparent that this one individual, this interpreter, had his life turned

upside down, and ultimately, because it represented us, the everyday men and women,

my intent was to watch how he made peace with conflicts surrounding him.

What was the inspiration behind the making of the latest short documentary?

I knew the Interpreter from this meeting and we became friends. I interview him

and we shared many conversations and maybe even interpretations of what transpired.

Ultimately, I had to shape a series of short films highlighting not only the historic

personalities prior to the 2016 election; it was also necessary to uphold the dignity and

private honor of the actual translator-interpreter who was very torn, being Russian-

American, between two countries that he loves.

What kind of impact would your documentary have on the world?

Like most artists, my hope is that my short films bring to life how our personal

lives are sometimes shattered just from realities that power-hungry leaders push into our

egos. I use edgy, harsh music and clips of the FBI which has, ironically, become a

character all by itself. I’d like to think that everyone would carefully concentrate on how

their personal liberties are being evacuated in the name of glossy media, soundbites and

numbing headlines.

Please name three of your most favorite documentary filmmakers.

Michael Moore captures contemporary history in scenes such as when George W.

reads to schoolchildren as someone whispers in his ear about the Twin Towers were

deliberately flown into. What is particularly powerful is without hearing anything the

viewer knows what he is being told, having lived through it. Moore is also not afraid to

film in other countries, such as Norway to film how humanely they treat and rehabilitate

inmates in prisons and he spectacularly edits with a painter’s artistic and meticulous style.

Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah” (1985), an almost 10-hour documentary does not use any

holocaust footage; rather, his film mainly records interviews and witnesses to reveal

history. Interviews are a particular strength in the genre of documentary.

David Attenborough is perhaps my favorite documentary filmmaker because he

narrates the exquisite and perfect harmony within nature, and we get to go up close and

swim with whales and fish through corals. The perfection of mother nature is a constant

reminder of how we must protect our oceans and earth.

How difficult is it to reach a larger audience with short documentaries and distribute


It actually depends on how good they are. The criteria for creating and editing a

first-rate short documentary is to distill it to its best form. Even then, it is very difficult to

reach a larger audience. Independent film festivals like this one, the Montreal

Independent Film Festival, open up possibilities for cinematic risk takers. That’s what

we all really are and your festival, particularly being in Montreal exposes short

documentaries form emerging documentaries in the hope of distributing them to a wider


What is your next documentary film?

My new film, “Mute Voices,” reveals how mute swans are being killed

unnecessarily in New York State in the name of management. I interviewed naturalists

including Fabian Cousteau and the award-winning actress, Jane Alexander, who is also an

avid protector of avian life. The sheer beauty of a white swan splashing down on its

natural habitat is a poem I try to capture. The film will be released in 2023.


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