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Heart of gold

By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 25, 2010

At the same time, you're doing an animated film on the same subject?
Well, actually, it's not post-Katrina, it's in the middle of Katrina. It's about this marvelous Muslim-American family, this guy named Abdulrahman Zeitoun, who stayed to look after his properties and the properties of friends of his and, with other people, did wonderful, heroic things in the wake of the flood. A true story. Then he fell into the clutches of Homeland Security and wound up in a really tough spot.

We're doing this as an animated film. It's an epic. It's gonna be a big old animated Hitchcock-thriller-style film. It's not political. It's an adventure story. We are excited about using animation in a way that it's rarely been used before — for a big-thriller drama.

Receiving an award like this must make you reflect on your career. What do you think your legacy might be?
The thing I mentioned to you about The Agronomist. If The Agronomist touched a soldier in Iraq and led him on a certain kind of journey to becoming a filmmaker himself committed to making films that somehow move his country forward, then that's an amazing legacy right there.

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