Bearing Witness Triptych: Just Breathe the Air
Our short film is based on a found poem by Jack Cochran, extracted from Trump’s remarks about the COVID pandemic, recorded by Bob Woodward and shared with interviewers during pre-release publicity for his book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.” The poem repeats three times, first spoken by Trump, then shown as text, and finally spoken by the poet, who bears witness to the consequences of Trump’s decision to play down the danger, even though he knew very early just how dangerous the virus would be.
Director: Jack Cochran, Pamela Falkenberg
Country: United States
Director Statement: The impetus for our film was the shock we experienced when we heard the excerpts from tapes Woodward recorded for his book about Donald Trump, and released during interviews during his promotional book tour. We were shocked to learn that Trump knew very early just how dangerous and easily transmissible the COVID19 virus was, but kept that information from the American public. By the time we heard the tapes, the bungled response that downplayed the virus in an attempt to protect stock market results and Trump’s reelection campaign rather than American lives had resulted in more deaths per capita than almost every other county in the world. We used found footage to supplement the footage we could shoot during the lockdown to tell our story, which is based on the found poem that Jack Cochran extracted from the the Woodward tapes. The resulting experimental film repeats the poem three times, once in Trump’s own words, once in English text, and once as read by the poet. .
Producer: Pamela Falkenberg
Writer: Jack Cochrang