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UCLA Magazine Fall 2004
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How “Human” Are We?
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Fall 2004 Bruin Walk

It's showtime

WInning the Peace
War on Their Minds: Voices From American Kids
Top to bottom: Winning the Peace, War on Their Minds: Voices From American Kids, Elegy and Outside.

Eli Akira Kaufman grew up in a Marin County family straight out of central casting. “We’re pretty nonmilitary, peace-loving, tree huggers,” he says. But when the UCLA grad student started work on a short film set amid the recent fighting in Iraq, he was determined not to produce an anti-war polemic.

The result is the remarkably even-handed Winning the Peace. The 18-minute film tells the story of Sgt. Charlie Latif, an Iraqi-American marine whose desire to do the right thing collides tragically with the bloody reality of war. “It doesn’t tell you what to think, and that was the whole idea,” says Kaufman, whose mom, Tayeko, helped raise money for the $40,000 film by selling handmade quilts.

This fall, Showtime subscribers will have the chance to see Kaufman’s film during an evening of UCLA student shorts on war themes. Showtime, which provided $125,000 in funding for Images of War in the 21st Century, will air the works November 1 at 8 p.m. (PST).

Jenn Kao’s Outside is a sci-fi drama set in a world devastated by war. The story focuses on Devi, a young war survivor who is content to live alone in an underground bunker until an “outsider” awakens her to new possibilities.

Kao and her crew shot interior scenes on a sound stage in Melnitz Hall, then hauled the set to the Mojave Desert to film Devi’s encounter with the outsider. “In sci-fi, you get to create an entire world from scratch, which was something I really enjoyed doing,” Kao says.

Showtime viewers can also check out Jennifer Glos’ War on Their Minds: Voices of American Kids, Kristina Malsberger’s Elegy, Angela Mrema’s The Invisible Man, Dominance and Terror: A Discussion with Noam Chomsky from Roberto Oregel M.A. ’97 and Attention from Brad Sample ’01.

by Anne Burke

2005 The Regents of the University of California