Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fun in Fourth Grade

What fun I had on Monday visiting my daughter Maya's fourth grade class at Montclair Elementary School in Quincy.  I talked to them about life as an independent documentary filmmaker - and how I came to this career partly through other people sharing their passion for it when I was young.  It was neat to see how they responded to clips of my films (especially Monkey Dance), and how hands shot up with questions throughout.

And of course everyone enjoyed playing with my camera equipment...

Thank you to the students and Ms. Joyce for letting me visit!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Indelible Lalita at Notre Dame

My film Indelible Lalita will be screening at the DeBartolo Peformance Center at the University of Notre Dame on Friday, April 11 at 6:30pm as part of a monthly screening series sponsored by the Harper Cancer Research Institute.  I will be there for a Q&A.

I'm excited to show the film in this context, as I have been approached by many audience members who have faced cancer themselves or with family members and were moved by the film.

We had a fun screening last week (photo below, by Marie Hartness) at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women at Harvard University: another type of audience for this personal story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Art and Design of Sustainability

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is in the running for the Second Nature Climate Leadership Award. As part of the competition, the schools submit a video, which we produced over here at JMP. It was a great experience working with the various students, staff, and faculty at MassArt to create this video: it's clear that sustainability is truly in the DNA of MassArt. The entire MassArt community strives to make the world a more sustainable place through art and design. They have, among many other things, installed over 1500 LED lightbulbs, made sure their new facilities are LEED silver or gold certified, and created many classes and student organizations about sustainability. Good luck, MassArt! We're rooting for you!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

America Reframed rebroadcast

On Tuesday, March 11, World Channel will be re-broadcasting My Louisiana Love, a powerful story about a young woman who returns to southeast Louisiana to reunite with her Houma Indian family, only to find their traditional way of life threatened by environmental disaster.

I had the pleasure of editing and co-producing this film with Sharon Linezo Hong and Monique Verdin.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Imprint of the Past Upon the Present

I was glad to make it out last night to the LEF Foundation-hosted gathering in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the Flaherty Seminar.  I've been to the Seminar three times over the last 18 years, and each time was thoroughly memorable.  Spending a week in upstate New York, watching movies all day and night (last time I was there, we watched over 80 movies in 6 days), and talking about them with fellow filmmakers, programmers, and critics over meals and drinks.... it's a dream scenario.

The program was an interesting collection of documentary shorts set around the world - though, in keeping with Flaherty tradition, no one in the audience knew what we were going to see until it came onto the screen.  None of the films a traditional film structure.  As director and several-time Flaherty curator John Gianvito (pictured above, talking to Flaherty board member Elizabeth Delude-Dix) described it, what tied this program together was these films exploration of "the imprint of the past upon the present."  I'm quite taken with that idea.

These are the films that screened:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Gov. Hassan Visits Pittsfield Schools

I had a great time filming at Pittsfield Middle High School today, documenting Governor Maggie Hassan's visit there for Nellie Mae Education Foundation.  Nellie Mae has invested in districts across New England as they implement systemic change towards more student-centered learning.

I am also working on a longer-term documentation project for the school, creating a series of six 10-12 minute videos about different aspects of their remarkable transition. It's been interesting to spend so much time in a small rural school (about 30 students in each graduating class), one that reminds me a little of the school I attended in Ohio.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Amazed at My Production I Students

At the end of every semester, I question whether we should have a film screening just for my section of Production I at BU.  After all, we do a course-wide screening where three selected films from each section are screened together in a big hall.  I feel bad requiring my students - who by that point are exhausted and ready to head home for break - to come out in the evening for another event.

But I always decide to do it.  Because to me, it's an essential part of learning filmmaking - to sit in a darkened room and watch your film with a group of strangers (the students all invite friends, family, and actors, so there is a good mix of people). If your film is working, it will leap off the screen and make sense; if there are problems, they glare at you.  This year I had two sections, 32 students in all, and I was so impressed with the amount they learned. Most of them were complete beginners in September, and now, only there months late,r they can come up with a good story, direct it, shoot it, record non-synchronous sound (some even composed and recorded their own music track), and edit it into a powerful film.

When they lights came back on, spirits were high and I was convinced again at how important this is. (By the way, you can see an example of one of my students films here.)

Congratulations to the students, and have a great break!