Motivated by a desire to embrace fear and anguish rather than flee from them, filmmaker Velcrow Ripper embarked on a five-year journey around the globe, searching for ways in which humanity takes the experience of being scared and turns it into something sacred.
Ripper visits sites of various forms of catastrophe, among them genocide, environmental disaster and terrorism. With each visit, he searches for the seeds of hope amid the scenes of wreckage. He moves from the scarred city of Sarajevo to the minefields of Cambodia, from Lourdes to Flanders Fields, Afghanistan to the World Trade Center site. In each place, Ripper finds stories of survival and ingenuity despite the devastation. He learns of a musician in Afghanistan – forbidden to play or listen to music – who fills his house with songbirds; he witnesses Afghani women protesting in the streets to assert their rights; and he sees a doctor setting up a medical practice to tend to the victims of chemically devastated Bhopal.
Poetic and evocative, ScaredSacred is both a deeply moving personal travelogue and a political documentary about the state of the world as filtered through the eyes of its narrator. It was awarded a special jury prize at the Toronto International Film Festival7, and was named one of Canada=s Top Ten of 2004 by an independent, national panel of filmmakers, programmers, journalists and industry professionals.