By: Lori Hoffman
Edited: by Colleen Page
“Thirteen” is a short film that portrays a message that two hour films might never be able to do. In the short thirteen minutes of running time, I was able to empathize with one of the main characters, a thirteen year old boy, Musa, who was part of ISIS. Once learning that his parents were killed by Americans, it is easier to understand how children integrate into war and how the ideas and morals of ISIS are passed through generations. Whether or not one agrees with these, I believe most sympathize with youth regardless. Sylvia, the leading actress who is a US soldier being tortured for intel, even tries to save Musa despite the fact that he is the one who is left by her torturers with a gun to guard her. When he shows his face and she realizes how young he is, she thinks of her own nephew and attempts to help the boy escape. She transforms from a tough military woman into a motherly figure for Musa by trying to teach and protect him. I truly was moved by the film and the lasting feelings with which it left me that foster ideas about how youth is affected by war, ideologies are passed through generations, and how powerful a woman’s influence can be.
The Art Of Monteque was fortunate to interview writer, director and producer Sasha Sibley, of “Thirteen”
Lori Hoffman: How difficult was it to get funding?Lori Hoffman
Sasha Sibley: He saved up and funded the film on his own.
L.H: What were you looking for in a lead actress?
S.S: He wanted a character who was believably in the military, and also for the part to be female in order to see the connection between her and the kid develop as a maternal instinct kicks in as she tries to save him. He wanted her to be female, but tough enough to look like she was actually in the military or she could be special ops.
L.H The leading role was a very powerful one. What kind of female empowerment do you feel she brought to the screen?
S.S: Female and children soldiers are underrepresented groups not often discussed, so he wanted to show these groups that are not often talked about. Jolene Andersen (Silvia) took on the role in a personal way that comes through on the screen.
L.H Being 19, how does your generation view the struggles between the US and ISIS and how do you envision the future of these struggles?
S.S: The conflict is terrifying, but we can’t lose sight of who we are as Americans. There’s an acceptance that it is a scary and terrible thing, but it isn’t just happening here in the US. It’s all over the world.
L.H What is it like to be a writer, producer, director just beginning your career in LA?
S.S: It’s exhilarating, scary, fun and rewarding. He grew up in Maryland and enjoys the energy and vibe in LA. He has hope, but he is still figuring things out, like how to get to where he wants to be.
L.H What is the next project you are working on?
S.S: He is working on getting investors, which is challenging, for a feature film he has already written. [TAOM]
For information about the film go to https://www.thirteenfilm.com/