Los Angeles (PRWEB) September 10, 2013
As a journalist, Jens Erik Gould has covered some of the world’s most harrowing social, political and economic issues and documented their impacts on ordinary human beings. As a singer-songwriter, Gould uses music to share stories and generate social change. His latest project, "Bravery Tapes," is a short documentary web series that brings online video audiences up close and personal with stories of extraordinary courage and perseverance demonstrated by ordinary individuals in the face of adversity.
This week Gould, Director of Photography Jakub Kasztalski, and Video Editor Greg Reitman release "Bravery Tapes" episode #4 titled, "Harriet" a five-minute documentary about Harriet Kilgore, a homeless singer-songwriter on the Venice Beach boardwalk. After hearing Kilgore sing in some Venice Beach area clubs, Gould approached her and the two collaborated on an original song aptly named “Trials”.
When Gould arrived for a scheduled interview with Kilgore at a Venice Beach alley one morning in June, he found her on the ground and unable to move after being attacked as she slept on the street the night before. Her assailant, infuriated by Kilgore’s refusal of sex, repeatedly kicked her and crushed her hip.
The “Bravery Tapes ‘Harriet’” episode features some new elements viewers didn't see in the first three episodes, including Gould’s on-screen presence in the film as host and narrator.
With each episode of "Bravery Tapes" Gould takes viewers on an emotional tour of the human struggle, venturing to places of unimaginable violence, disease and social paralysis, to document the surprising and inspiring courage of those who manage to face down terror, find focus in uncertainty and regain power over their lives. In doing so, he hopes to inspire viewers to find courage when facing their own challenges.
"Bravery Tapes" episode #1, "Guns Down" opens in a Monterrey, Mexico Kindergarten classroom, where students lie prone on the floor, hands covering their heads as they have been taught by school officials to do when gunfire erupts close by. Outside the classroom window, gunmen kill five men as their teacher can be heard off-screen doing her best to calm and distract the terrified children by rallying them to sing a song from the "Barney" television series.
An original soundtrack composed by Gould creates the atmosphere as he leads the audience through the many dangers spun from Mexico’s drug violence culture--a routine part of life in cities like Monterrey. The episode concludes by showcasing Mexican youths publicly renouncing violence at great risk to their own safety.
Episode #2 titled "Sandi Le" focuses on the stigma of HIV among the Garifuna people of Honduras. The episode features a song Gould co-wrote with legendary Honduran recording artist Aurelio Martinez and was published on TIME Magazine’s website. Episode #3 "Eric and Juan", featured on the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times in June, portrays the doubly challenging lives of gay couples living under the shadow of pending immigration reform and the now-passed Supreme Court ruling on DOMA.
Inspired by the remarkable people he met while covering stories as a reporter, Gould says the "Bravery Tapes" series evolved organically from their experiences.
"I’ve always felt inspired when my reporting crosses paths with people who are brave and exceptional," he says. "In particular, there were several people I profiled years ago in Venezuela and Colombia who really made a mark on me. I decided that rather than keep it happenstance, I wanted to deliberately seek out these kinds of stories.
"Acts of bravery and courage occur all around us in our daily lives—on our streets, in our office buildings, in our homes," Gould says. "Many times we don’t even know they’re happening, but when we do they give us goose bumps. These stories need to be told because they inspire us to be better in our own lives."
In the new episode #4 titled "Harriet", Gould documents the former drug addict’s return to her music, her dog and her life as a musician in Venice Beach after a month-long hospitalization and ongoing recovery. The full version of the song "Trials," written by Kilgore and Gould and performed in this episode, is available at jenserik.bandcamp.com.
For more information, visit the "Bravery Tapes website, email jensgould(at)gmail(dot)com, or call (310) 562.1701.
About Jens Erik Gould:
Jens Erik Gould is a print, radio and TV journalist who has reported from more than a dozen countries on immigration, education, the drug trade, crime, the economy, politics, energy, entertainment and sports. He is also a singer-songwriter who has released three albums and has performed in multiple countries.
As a reporter, Gould currently covers Southern California for "TIME" Magazine and France 24 Television, as well as writing on Latino issues for "PoderHispanic" Magazine.
For three years Gould was a political and economy correspondent in Mexico City for Bloomberg News, covering the economy, politics and the drug war. Previously, he spent three years based in Venezuela where he covered Hugo Chavez for "The New York Times" and National Public Radio. Gould received a Pulitzer Center grant for reporting in 2013 and a Fulbright scholarship in 2002.