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Grassroots film ‘The Human Experience’ resonates with students, community

–dbaxter2@my.apsu.edu

Thursday, Jan. 31, APSU held a screening of the critically-acclaimed film “The Human Experience” in the Clement Auditorium.
Produced by Grassroots Films, “The Human Experience” is a documentary that tells the story of Jeffrey Azize and his travels as he sets out in search of answers to the question, “What does it mean to be human?”

The screening was sponsored by 12 campus organizations, including the Wilbur N. Daniel African-American Cultural Center, Student Government Association and Disability Services and was free and open to the Clarksville community. Director Charles Kinnane and producer Michael Campo were also present for the screening and held a question-and-answer session immediately following the showing.

Many students said they were moved and inspired by the film, and reported identifying with its overall moral message. “I found this documentary to be a very serendipitous experience,” said Amber Bowens, a freshman theatre major. Bowens added that we never know what exactly is in store for us, and we have to stay optimistic for the future

The film is divided into three experiences which take Jeffrey and his friends to New York, Peru, and Ghana. The first experience follows Azize and his brother Clifford to the streets of New York City where the boys live with the homeless for a week in one of the coldest winters in the city.

The boys look for sympathy among their homeless companions, learning how to survive on the streets of New York City. During their second experience, the brothers join a group of surfers from Surf For The Cause, traveling to Peru. There, they visit a hospital for abandoned children in the Andes Mountains.

Their final experience takes the brothers, along with their friends Michael Campo and Matthew Sanchez, to Africa. At the time, Michael is on his way to visit a leper colony in Ghana. On their way to the colony, the boys meet victims of AIDS and their families. Once they reach the leper colony, they befriend disfigured lepers who have been exiled from their villages.

“The Human Experience” also explore the personal relationship with Jeffrey Azize and his brother and their estranged father, who they had not seen in ten years. At the end of the film, Jeffrey and Clifford have a surprise meeting with their father and are reunited.

Their father had battled drug and alcohol abuse along with abusing their mother for years, but Jeffrey and Clifford still profess their love and forgiveness towards him. Thus, despite exhibiting a lot of human suffering, “The Human Experience” ends on a positive note.

About Denzel Baxter, Staff Writer

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