Sure there is probably a psychological aspect to this, when I was a kid my parents told me they would record my tantrums and play them back to me later so that I could see how ridiculous I looked. I don't really like seeing myself on video. This is also probably why I've always preferred to be behind the scenes of things.
There are a lot of unnecessary fears that are appearing for me. One strange fear is that a person will come watch the movie and then haggle me about how much they hate it. Another is that I will be stumped by questions. This is revealing of how much I like to be prepared. I am dealing a lot with my perfectionism, with the release of this film. On some level, I needed to finish the film because of grants, my time schedule, and just a general mental readiness. Even now when i see things there are scenes I'd re-cut, and I think my sound guy, Steven, is going through the same experience. Its not a perfect film by any means, but it was the best I could do and it was an incredible labor of love.
Since this is the first large public screening I am also afraid of being rejected by my hometown, Kirkwood. In some ways its much easier to travel to other communities and share the film because it is not such an up close and personal experience.
I think a lot about the form of this film. I probably consider it to be in the end more of a personal narrative vs an investigative documentary. When I began the film I interviewed the women I did, because I felt it was the story I had access too. I don't really consider myself a journalist but rather an artist and this was the sort of personal story I felt I could tell. Working on the film, I felt a personal catharsis as if something huge was being lifted off my conscious, as much as it may have benefited the women I interviewed.
I am mostly writing today though because my intern advised it, because I'm tired of the thoughts running through my head, and because this is the reality of me, living in my skin, and sharing this film.
The other strange thing about a film is that, these are ideas that I've thought about a while and they are also one that have passed for me, with each step of the making. As I've worked on it, I've generally felt a greater compassion, for all involved and there the night of the shooting. It's also strange to have a film be about one thing, but then to have another emotional takeaway based on my making of the film. For instance, I thought this was really a film sharing the story of Connie, her connection to these women, their experiences trying to have voice in their community, the way that their lives intersected with Cookie's, and how they made sense of the shooting. Along the way coming to understand the race component through my failed attempts at finding information about Meacham Park and then comprehending Harriet's stories, lead me to understand white privilege and institutional racism. It just shook me. So there are so many topics in this film, but I also don't want to misrepresent the film as something it is not. The presence of the film for me, psychologically, is much greater than just what is captured in the hour film.
Is it a film or a giant art project? Definitely I approach this as I have any other art projects, all encompassing, working in any media, collaborative and individualistic. Not knowing all the rules of film-making, I probably combine what I think I know, with intuition, with video art knowledge, with storytelling, and with how I'd make a painting.
My fear makes me want to travel away or hide out in my house. I've faced other things I've been afraid of in the past, and usually after I've experienced the fear, it doesn't have a hold on me or it becomes a lot smaller. I think I can face this one
So tomorrow and tonight, I will try to nurture myself with friends and meaningful experiences. I will be a participant. I will try to think positively about how amazing it is that I was able to complete this film and that I've had such meaningful conversations around it. I am already viewing it as a success. Anything else that happens is just icing on the cake.