1. When it comes to storytelling, where do you get your inspiration from?
From being and seeing how other people exist and survive and transcend their assumptions about where they are in time and space. I’m interested through storytelling in showing people that they can step away from the roles and labels society tries to make them commit to — especially those who are routinely caricatured and debased by the dominant social order.
2. What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced so far?
I don’t have challenges. I have had experiences I learn a great deal from and no one situation is better or worse than the other. I think I am consistently confronted with the choice of reliving traumas from the past, letting it manipulate and course through my nervous system in a way that’s debilitating and the other choice of deciding it has no power over me at all. I think truly surrendering and accepting the world as it is has in the past been a challenge for me…that there are people out there in great pain who express it on the bodies of others constantly…that I too am, like any other human being, am capable of great compassion but also terrible brutality. Recognizing and making space for that duality/multiplicitousness can be challenging.
3. What kind of world do you want to see now that your film “Piu Piu” is made? (For clarification) We know that there is a message you as a filmmaker are conveying to your audience, what is that message?
I’d like for people to start witnessing how their own pain and fear contributes to the narratives about society. We tell one another about how women are supposed to survive in order to garner compassion. For audiences to feel empowered to disrupt the ways things are “supposed to go” by revealing to them that understated bravery is of value; that cultivating a compassion for the other is essential and yet invisible.
4. As a filmmaker, what are some key lessons learned so far?
Be patient, people matter more than the thing you are making, to be clear in your vision but to stay open and flexible for everyone on your team to channel a layer of complexity that will enhance the experience and journey you will all be creating together… stress is an illusion we invest in that keeps us distracted for what our purpose is. Films that really move anyone have a lot to do with the energy put in them so as a writer-director I just do the best I can and recognize it’s a gift to work with people who dream and imagine and play seriously. Staying open to being enriched while being “in charge” as a director can sometimes challenge others assumptions of the role your ego is supposed to play in getting people in board but I just trust in the process. The process is key, and check your ego at the door.
5. What do you know today that you wish you knew when you began your journey as a filmmaker?
What I just said. But I did know that, I just didn’t let go of the ideas I had about what it took to make a film. These “gatekeepers” will have you thinking it’s impossible but it’s not. Those who feel like they’re least equipped to write and direct films are probably exactly who need to be making work. Form is nonsense, credentials are nonsense, prestige is just a way to exclude…
6. What would you say is your unique responsibility as a filmmaker?
To be honest and ugly.
How can others reach out to you and/or stay informed about your upcoming projects?