The actress and social activist talks about collaborating on the book “I Live Here,” and the video documentaries that inspired it.
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Kirshner: My name is Mia Kirshner. The name of the book that I put together with my partners, Michael Simmons, Paul Shoebridge, James McKinnon is called “I Live Here”. Question: How did you develop an international worldview? Kirshner: I grew up in Toronto, Canada which is a city. It’s one of the most multicultural cities in the world and certainly I grew up around many cultures, many of whom were having a new immigrant experienced to Canada. My mother teaches English as a second language mostly to asylum seekers and my father works for the Canadian Jewish News as a journalist. So, certainly, growing in both parents moved to Canada when they were quite young, rather my father moved to Canada when he from, he was born in Germany in a displaced persons camp and my mom then moved to Canada after she met my father, so the theme of displacement was very much probably growing up. Question: How did you become an online social activist? Kirshner: Well, I mean Causecast came on, came to us where I met them very early on and they’re just launching and they’re like MySpace for social activism, so they put us on their site which is amazing. And the guy who runs it, Bryan, said, what do you need and I said well, we need money for the Malawi program and he said. okay, great, we’ll fund it and that was great. I mean, it was so, it’s great to be able to hold a book now and so people can see what we’re capable of doing. But as far as our website goes, basically, I mean, we hope for that it will become a site that people write to us, tell us what stories they want to hear, write about their experiences, upload their content, so eventually it become sort of a space for people to exchange dialog and sort of witness what’s happening in their own life. So, it’s early days, you know, the technologies as you guys know is not an easy thing and it requires a lot of time and work, but that’s the eventual goal with the site. Question: How has technology helped you in the field? Kirshner: I tried to use an MP3 player, is that a recorder but that was, as I can’t even say it properly, that didn’t work. The video was a big tool for me. Video are something I really appreciate and that’s where one of the stills comes from, this the video that I took. And, actually, the video ended up being something that was originally shot for stills, but it’s now on the website. This very, very raw footage that was cut into short little pieces that you can see. And as far as other technology I was working digitally like the photograph things and as far as the interviews go now, it was all pen and paper because there really is, that doesn’t exist in these places. I think it’s best when for me I found to sort of, like, it’s not, it didn’t feel right having a lot of equipment there and I think it’s best to sort of adapt to the community that you’re in. Question: How does technology help you raise money? Kirshner: You can buy the book on Amazon.com, independent booksellers which are very important to support and you can go to our website at www.i-live-here.com and it’s a very, it took a long time to build and it’s a very cool website where you can blog, upload, send feedback to what you think about what’s going on in your environment and what stories you want to tell and ways in which you can get involve. We’re a 501C3, so you can definitely donate if you like the work that we’re doing and you can learn about the foundation which we started, the I Live Here foundation.