personal/universalJanuary 17, 2011
Over the lifespan of this project, I’ve struggled repeatedly with how to answer the question, “So… what’s your film about?” My pitch was so far from snappy, and sorely lacking in what my friend Danica would refer to as RAZZamaTAZZ!
But as this film makes its way out into the world, I’m starting to understand its potential appeal. And I think it’s connected to this weird paradox we discovered as we were pouring over the writing–that the more personal we got in our storytelling, the more universal our story became.
The themes and issues that surface throughout our film (multi-cultural families, American Dream, mixed race identities, gender violence, inter-generational trauma…)–these are just the particulars of my own personal journey. (And I see now, this is where my pitch was getting bogged down. Because I was trying to encapsulate all this stuff…)
We’re all complicated, and yet remarkably predictable. These issues we raise in our film are definitely complex and multi-faceted and layered and highly charged. But it all boils down to that one simple question–who am i?
I believe we humans are deeply and profoundly narcissistic. Everywhere we look, we see ourselves reflected back at us. And perhaps nowhere is this made more clear to me than with our kids, who mirror our truest selves. This is the lens through which we see the world–the eye of the beholder. It’s unique and universal, blinding and beautiful.
But it’s also the root of all connection, understanding, and love. In an earlier version of the film, I said, “Over the course of making this movie, my camera became my mirror, and I came to see in my family the seeds of who I am.” And now in turn, this film will become a mirror for all those who watch it, and they will see in it, and draw meaning from those parts that most closely reflect their own lives…
So as we travel with this film this year, my prime directive will be to CONNECT.
To connect with individuals who are moved by our film. To connect folks in need with folks who can help. And to inspire everyone who sees this film to join in this conversation about inheritance and legacy, and the meaning that we ascribe to both. What we pass on, how we pass it on, and why.
Because that, to me, is the real heart of the film.
(thanks to amy for inspiring this post…)