The Things We Keep: Which news stories stay with us and why?

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Editor’s note: This film will be removed on August 28, 2020.

Casey Kauffman and Alessandro Cassigoli met when they were in their early 20s, sharing a flat in Rome.

Casey, an American who aspired to become a journalist, and Alessandro, an Italian with ambitions of becoming a filmmaker, had very different personalities. But a friendship soon blossomed between them.

Casey would meet people from all walks of life, while Alessandro would film his encounters.

“Since Alessandro loved filmmaking and I was starting out in journalism, we had a common interest in filming things,” Casey recalls. “We talked a lot about video cameras, about characters, about how to capture special moments …”

But then Casey moved to the Middle East to begin his career as a journalist, while Alessandro set off for Berlin.

“When I started working as a one-man-band reporter and cameraman for Al Jazeera, Alessandro wanted to see the footage. And I wanted him to have it,” Casey explains.

Casey’s footage, shot in the back of immigrant trucks and homeless shelters, moved Alessandro, leading a comfortable life in Europe [Al Jazeera]

He began sending all of his raw footage to his friend. The most horrific and hilarious moments, too unconventional for Casey’s TV reports, all ended up with Alessandro.

But what started out simply as a way to keep in touch soon became something more – allowing the two friends to discover a world they never knew.

Casey’s footage, shot in the back of immigrant trucks heading to Europe, during bombing campaigns in Gaza City and in homeless shelters in the United States, penetrated Alessandro’s comfortable life in Europe.

As the tapes and hard drives kept coming, Alessandro, once shy and introverted, started to feel more connected to the stories they contained.

As he sifted through the footage, it was often those moments that weren’t directly related to the straight news story Casey was reporting that Alessandro was most drawn to.

“There is humanity in this footage where you would least expect it,” he reflects.

But while Alessandro delved deeper into his footage, Casey, constantly faced with other people’s trauma, struggled to maintain the idealism that first drew him to journalism.

The Things We Keep is the story of their unique video correspondence over the course of a decade and a broader reflection on the themes of discovery, trust, disillusionment and what it means to come home. It reveals the ways in which a friendship can open your eyes to others, and, in the process, to yourself.

Source: Al Jazeera

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