Film Director creates tribute film for Mother on 18th anniversary of her death.
“My mother wasn’t perfect. She was flawed, but she was real. She was valid, and she was here. My mom will live on through me.”
My mother died on August 12th, 1999 — I never knew how to feel about it.
With the eighteen anniversary of her death approaching, I didn’t want to be sad again. I decided to express myself through film.
I’ve created video content professionally since 2013, and in 2016 I really started a personal focus on content creation. I used film as a form of artistic expression. I launched my personal channel with the film “What does it mean to be a man?” It was also the fifth YouTube Channel I launched.
This channel was different. It was my name, so giving up on it became giving up on myself. I joke “I put the Personal, in Personal Channel.” This film really fits into that. Most people don’t know I lost my mother. I don’t talk about it. I really didn’t know how to. Before I made this film she was a stranger.
This film came up when I was asked on one of my channels:
I didn’t really have an answer to this then, but this comment stuck with me. I decided a week before August 12th, I wanted to make this film. The First thing I started on was script. Script writing for me, isn’t that hard, but since this was a very personal film, and the nature of the internet is “Pics or it didn’t happen.”
I wanted to shut down anyone who didn’t believe my mother had passed, but also wanted a great hook, so opening with her death certificate adverted the expectation of a normal meeting, and proved the fate of my mother. Most people have told me from the film’s opening they had to keep watching. On YouTube, You’ve GOT to hook them in the first 10 seconds, and I think this film is effective in that pursuit.
This isn’t the first documentary I have done, but is definitely one I researched the most on. Most people know their Mother throughout life, but I researched mine. Luckily, my mother left me THOUSANDS of photos to look through, and left a lot of comments on them.
I had the help of three close friends to help me create this film. Alecia, Joe, And Stacy. I told them about this article, and wanted to know their thoughts about the film.
Here are the questions:
- What did you think when Andrew wanted help on this film?
- How was Andrew during filming?
- What did you think of the finished film?
Alecia: “ The film felt personal and it was cool to be apart of it! Especially to see my boss’s past, meeting his mom, and seeing his crazy grandma. The film was filmed exactly how he wanted it, cinematic and about Lori’s Legacy. The only real thought I had was I hope this was closure for Andrew and his Grandma.
Joe: “1. I knew absolutely nothing going into this film. Andrew asked me if I wanted to help him with a short film. As soon as I was informed on what the film was and how much it meant to him I was completely ready to help.
2. Andrew seemed extremely focused during filming. Time crunches and all. But the best thing was finding photos of his mom and watching his face light up.
3. The finished film is very cinematic I feel like it went on to capture everything he wanted. I can say that it touched a piece of my soul.”
Stacy: “I thought that it was courageous of him to go through old memories and dig up more feelings that most people would just want to forget, just to make it easier. He kept himself very calm and collected when filming, but it was clear it wasn’t an easy thing for him to do. The finished film looked just like I thought it would, and I’ve hoped since seeing it that it met his expectations as well because the film clearly means a lot to him. I am proud of what he has accomplished, and the film is a wonderful tribute.”
It made me happy that overall, they enjoyed the film, and it would not have been possible with out them. Any good director knows that they are nothing without their crew, and I am happy to have them help me.
With this film, I didn’t know how people would perceive it. I was terrified to create this film, and I think that anytime you put a piece of yourself out there it is open for interpretation.
However, I wanted her story to be out here. Her story is my story, my grandma’s story, and in a way everyone understands loss.
The immediate reaction made me incredibly happy, a lot of people loved the film, and that was genuinely unexpected.
I had both friends, family, and strangers tell me how much they enjoyed the film and how much it related to them. It made me happy that people understood.
To this point in my career this is my most cinematic film I have made for YouTube, and possibly just in general. It’s hit 500+ views already, and for my channel that’s pretty great!
The thing I also realized there are going to be people who see this film and feel nothing. That’s fine, they don’t have to. That’s not the point. The point overall is to share my Mother’s Legacy.
I hope if they take anything away from this film is just how short life truly is, and tomorrow is never guaranteed.
We are all legacies and this channel is mine. This post is mine, and the best part is while I may fade. The internet being forever isn’t a bad thing.
Overall, what I learned from this film is that when you create something you care about, the people can tell, and will share. This tested my theory that if you grab people’s attention, that films, even on YouTube can do well. This has raised my watch-time and grew my channel.
All the while letting the world know who my mother was, challenging my creativity, and spreading a positive message. I hope my mother would be proud, and I hope people recognize their own legacy.
I’m Andrew Kan, Thank you for reading.