Visiting Binghamton University on the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, filmmaker Don Hardy wanted the audience to understand one thing: people touched by tragedy can still find fulfillment.
Hardy, creator of the documentary “Love Hate Love” and Windsor, N.Y. native, came to BU Wednesday, Sept. 11 to speak about his film.
“I tried to tell the story of these people around the world affected by terrorism, and how they came out and did something nice for the world,” Hardy said.
The film followed three different families who were affected by 9/11, the 2005 London Underground bombings and the 2002 Bali bombings, respectively.
The Aldermans, who lost their son on 9/11, were the main focus of the film. The documentary depicted the family’s struggles with their loss and their efforts to commemorate him by going to Africa to help others who are suffering.
One boy they met, James, had been abducted and forced to become a child soldier. During his time as a soldier, he had been coerced into killing entire families.
The Aldermans set up 13 mental health clinics to help people like James overcome their traumas.
Hardy said the film started out as a tribute to 9/11, but turned into much more, breaking national boundaries and receiving support from activist and Academy Award-winner Sean Penn.
While the film focused on three specific events, the message was universal.
“We can all try to turn negatives into positives and do some good for our fellow man,” Hardy said.
After a long applause, Hardy accepted questions about the film and his own experiences while making it.
One audience member asked about how making the film affected Hardy. In his response, Hardy said he felt a “flood of emotions” watching the film for the first time in years.
“I remember sitting with James eating breakfast, and he didn’t know what the jelly was,” Hardy said. “It just realigns your perspective on a lot of things. You don’t get as mad waiting in line for coffee at Starbucks.”
The filmmaker said after living in California and Florida he had been wanting to screen the movie back in his hometown and was very happy when he was invited to BU.
The Binghamton University Forum, an organization that sponsors speakers on campus, hosted the event, with over 100 guests in attendance.
Hardy’s next film, The Human Experiment, will be released in October and reveals different chemicals people are exposed to daily.