What film ‘Little People’ teaches us about compassion and tolerance

Locally based filmmaker Daniel Malak doesn’t want us to forget the values and lessons of Ramadan, and he has eternalized that spirit in a short film called ‘Little People’ about the city’s street sweepers. It was an entry in last year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and is a strong reminder for all of us to think of those who may be “invisible” to us.

Tempo: Daniel what is the message of ‘Little People’?

Daniel: To shed a light on the lives of street sweepers who are a part of our society and work really hard to make sure the streets are clean.

Tempo: Were the street cleaners comfortable with being filmed?

Daniel: We needed to establish a connection and mutual trust. It took a couple of days for them to open up completely and thankfully they did. They were okay with being filmed, however they also wanted to carry on with their work.

Tempo: How similar were the stories of the street cleaners?

Daniel: Each one is unique however there were similarities when it came to their lack of education. They all barely had any dreams or ambitions and most feel that it is pointless now anyway.

Tempo: How do they face summer?

Daniel: We all know how hot it is in the summer, so to be outdoors in a forty plus degree with high humidity and not be able to drink water? That takes really strong and committed characters.

Tempo: What motivated you to create this film?

Daniel: The fact that the streets are constantly clean and I was curious to know who these people are who do all this hard work. They’re a part of the society I live in, and yet they’re not very visible. I needed to get to know who they are, know more about their lives. I wanted their story to be told.

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Tempo: What have you learned from this experience?

Daniel: I learnt that there are great people out there in this world that do amazing work but they usually go unnoticed.

Tempo: How else are you spreading awareness about this?

Daniel: Me and a couple of friends have started a campaign called Support a Street Sweeper, which we hope would get more people to notice street sweepers, and be able to communicate more with them. They’re a part of our society – the least we could do is say hello to them and thank them for the hard work they put in cleaning our streets. You can like our community page on Facebook: Support A Street Sweeper.

Tempo: Any upcoming projects?

Daniel: Yep, fingers crossed!


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