Sunday, April 19, 2009

Boston International Film Festival

Screened earlier today at the Boston International Film Festival.  It was a great time.  People really responded well to the film.  We were paired with another film, Mississippi Damned, that also explores the issues of families, secrets, loss,  and memories.  The thing I found most interesting about looking at these two films together is the enormous unspoken toll families exact upon their own, all in the name of love.  In both films, girls were harmed most by the ones they loved most.  It speaks to the power of those we love on our lives.  Also worth noting is the fact that the stories, although both dealing with African American families, shined the spotlight on families with completely different socio-economics, levels of education, concepts of sexual identity, etc.  I found that to be a huge leap in a dawning realization that African Americans are not some monolith, but have lives and stories as different and as universal as any other ethnic or racial group.  Seems obvious to say; but still a fact not represented in mainstream media.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 2-Lake Arrowhead Film Festival

So today was a day of movies that went straight for the heart, for the entire crowd, but for me personally, as well.

The first film I watched was 'Older Than America' by Georgina Lightning. It tells the story of the atrocities done by the Catholic Church via Reservation Schools aimed at "civilizing" Indian "savages." It was a atrocity that was still sanctioned by the church and the government as late as the mid-70s. It touched me personally on several fronts. My family has roots deep within the indigenous experience in this country, but much of that experience is unspoken. The reasons for the silence ring true also for the black members of my family...we share the history of holocausts that have altered the current state of both populations. This movie brings the discussion to one side of this equation by framing it in an incredible drama. When you see the title showing somewhere around you, go see it!

The second film was 'Reach For Me' directed by LeVar Burton. It focuses on the relationships of a group of people living their final days and people working in a hospice. It is a beautiful story that plays heavy on the heart without ever becoming maudlin. I had the privilege of spending my grandfather's last few days of his life in hospice. Much like in the film, I learned that death brings new life experiences that give another layer to our understanding of both. In the end, death isn't scary, it just is. Once again, go see this one. (Have to say, also, Adrienne Barbeau lent a beautiful performance in the film...and was gracious enough to pose for a pic for me to send to my father, possibly earning me a spot in heaven.)

The last film I want to mention, 'No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos, covered the professional lives of two of the greatest cinematographers in the game. If you love movies, you have probably seen their work. Check it out.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lake Arrowhead-Day 1

So, the first greeting I received here at the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival was from one of the official screeners.  He told me how much he loved, loved The Hands, and how it had touched his heart, and how the story has stayed with him still.  It doesn't get much better than that for a filmmaker.

We screened first thing this morning.  My travel companion (Ashley) and I were the first ones in the room.  I was more than a little nervous about that.  I mean, what's your worst nightmare if you are screening your film?  That no one shows up, right?  Well, a few minutes later, we had a little crowd.  It was received well by the audience and the other filmmakers.  Pretty cool.

Saw a film (Jackson) last night directed by the guy that wrote Pretty Woman, J. F. Lawton.  It was a wonderful example of what an indie film can be, and why they are so important.  As Lawton noted, the combination of homeless men as lead characters and a storyline interspersed with operatic arias, studios would not know how to market, or pigeon hole, it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On the countdown to Lake Arrowhead.  Hoping you will check out The Hands and the other films in Shorts Program 1.  I am looking forward to meeting the other filmmakers and checking out all of the wonderful films.

More good news:  Kwame, directed by my editor Edward, executive produced by yours truly, garnered Best Student Film at the Cleveland International Film Festival.