SHOW TIMES: Please Remove Your Shoes with writer and director QA

Nov. 10, 7:00 p.m. | Bright Family Screening Room | Free

strongTim Strain, Beacon Staff/strong

Rocco Giuliano was inspired. And he was angry.

The movie producer and South Boston resident was approached by his longtime friend and business associate Rob DelGuadio in early 2009 with a job offer. DelGuadio had recently been tapped to direct a documentary, to be financed by ex-Army officer and emThe Air Charter Guide/em — a journal about the airline industry —  publisher Fred Gevalt, about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in a post-9/11 world.

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Gevalt had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars travelling across the country for the better part of a year, filming and transcribing interviews with former and current TSA workers who had become disillusioned by the agency’s practices, before deciding that he needed to hire a real filmmaker — DelGuadio — to tell the story. Giuliano was hired to sift through the interviews and thousands of pages of transcripts, assembling a script that eventually became the 93-minute documentary emPlease Remove Your Shoes/em.  The film will screen tonight at 7 p.m. in the Paramount Center’s Bright Family Screening Room.

emShoes/em tells the story of six TSA insiders and the experiences that led them to become cynical about the system.  DelGuadio and his crew hopped across America to shoot their subjects, often lensing in airports and on runways. The director/producer duo wanted to focus on individual whistleblowers within the TSA who had put their jobs on the line to expose the agency’s corruption and ineptitude, rather than attempting to craft something that encompassed the entire issue. Giuliano said that as he was crafting a narrative out of the initial interviews’ transcripts, he became passionate about the subject matter.

“The TSA does a lot of things that are morally, constitutionally, and legally questionable,” said Giuliano in a phone interview.  “If you don’t believe that the TSA is keeping us safe, which I don’t, then it’s very disturbing.”

The interviewees attest that combine to assert that the agency — which has an annual operating budget of $8 billion — sets aside a troublingly and indefensibly high amount of money to protect itself rather than the country’s fliers.

“The money is a big issue because it is symbolic of an allocation of resources that doesn’t make any sense,” said Giuliano. “The most dangerous thing most people do is get into a [vehicle]. And yet we’re spending all this money to counter a relatively remote threat [another attack on a plane] in the most inefficient way you can possibly imagine.”

This won’t be the first time the film has shown at Emerson.  After DelGuadio (who also served as the editor) finished a first assembly of the film, the rough cut was shown at Emerson in early 2010.

“It was the very first time anyone laid eyes on any coherent assembly of the footage,” said Giuliano in a phone interview. “And based on some of the feedback we got there, we actually re-worked the film a little bit.”

Part of the reason the filmmakers decided to showcase their work at Emerson was because of Giuliano’s  relationship with television production and studies professor Henry Dane. Giuliano  says they both live in the same artist co-op in South Boston and give feedback on one another’s work. Giuliano has spoken in Dane’s classes before, qualifying him as a guest lecturer.

Giuliano and DelGuadio will continue the dialogue with the Emerson community by presenting the film and hosting a Qamp;A session afterward.

emStrain can be reached at timothy_strain@emerson.edu. Follow him on Twitter @timstrain./em

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Photo Courtesy of Rocco Giuliano

According to Giuliano, the documentary explores the “morally, constitutionally, and legally questionable” acts that the TSA commits to prevent terrorism.