One of the greatest and most inspiring surprises for me last year was “Finding Normal,” a gripping and moving documentary by local filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, who went deep into the world of recovering addicts and turned up an amazing fly-on-the-wall portrait of the addicts and the peer mentors who help them find a new path in life through a downtown Portland program.
Well, Lindstrom has set his sites on another story set on the local streets: the case of James Chasse, a troubled 42 year old who was effectively beaten to death in September, 2006, in broad daylight on a Pearl District corner by three Portland cops. The Chasse case has been a real lightning rod for critics of the training and technique of police officers, particularly in their encounters with the disenfranchised and/or disturbed. (You can read details of the incident and the shockwaves it produced here.)
Lindstrom has begun work on “Alien Boy,” a documentary about Chasse’s life and death and the issues his killing has raised, and, being a virtual one-man show operating on a not-even-shoestring budget, he could use a hand. It seems to be a perfect marriage of artist and subject matter, and you could feel pretty good about yourself if you visited the film’s web site and donated money or support or even helped tell other folks about the project.
The word you’re looking for is mitzvah.