Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a Private Ear: a detective of sounds and their traces. His new film commission, 45th Parallel, focuses on the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, a unique municipal site that straddles the jurisdictions of Canada and the United States.
Built by the Haskell family in 1904, the site was originally constructed to provide education and cultural enrichment to the border communities located on the 45th parallel in Rock Island, Quebec and Derby Line, Vermont. A thick black line demarcating the border runs through the entire building, dividing the library collections and creating the only cross-border theatre in the world, where the audience and actors are in different countries.
Filmed on location, 45th Parallel activates this unique site’s legal and symbolic potential. The work is structured as a monologue in four acts, performed by acclaimed film director Mahdi Fleifel. The story centres on Hernández vs Mesa, a judicial case covering the fatal, cross-border shooting of an unarmed fifteen-year-old Mexican national in 2010 by a US Border Patrol agent.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan: 45th Parallel | Press Release