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Director Susan Polis Schutz Talks About Her Documentary, 'Seeds of Resiliency'

The film opens at the Laemmle Theaters in Encino and Beverly Hills Friday.

Seeds of Resiliency, a documentary about overcoming adversity, opens Friday to an exclusive L.A. engagement at the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino and the Music Hall in Beverly Hills. Tickets cost just $5, and all the proceeds will go to various charities, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The film tells 12 separate stories, including that of a Holocaust survivor, a Ugandan refugee and a quadriplegic man. The filmmaker examines their stories as they surmount the tragedies in their lives.

Patch caught up with the director, Susan Polis Schutz, for a quick Q&A.

How did the idea for this documentary come about?

Everyone has traumas and challenges in life. I was wondering why some people are able to overcome these and then lead happy lives while others just miserably "curl up in a ball." I wanted to see if the resilient people had common characteristics.

How did you get the idea to focus on 12 separate stories? How did you meet the people you follow in the film?

I found people who had very bad tragedies happen to them, but who now lead joyful, productive lives. Sometimes I read about the people I interviewed, but most of those who appear in Seeds of Resiliency were recommended by others.

As a filmmaker, what were some of the practical challenges you faced?

This was a very emotional and difficult movie to make. My interviews included these men and women talking about very painful times, and not only was it difficult to hear, but it was hard for the interviewees to have to "relive" their experiences by opening up to me.

How does 'Seeds of Resiliency' follow on from your previous work?

The mission of IronZeal, my film company, is to help people live better, more meaningful and productive lives. I only create films that make a difference in the world.

100 percent of the proceeds of the film are going to charity. What made you decide to do this, and how will you select the charities?

I am following my mission. Many of the people I interviewed started organizations to help others overcome tragedies similar to theirs. I decided to donate all the ticket proceeds to some of those organizations and others.

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Seeds of Resiliency. 2012. Unrated. 60 minutes. Opens Friday, October 26 at the Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills and the Town Center 5 in Encino. Tickets are $5, all proceeds to charity. Click here for showtimes in Encino, and here for Beverly Hills.

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