On January 17th at 8:00 pm, my pal Shauna McGarry and I are hosting a new film series at Echo Park Film Center! It’s called I PRESENT TWO and the premise is this–
Each month, a local artist/filmmaker shows a new piece and presents two other works by artist/filmmakers that must be seen! Then, in the next month, one of those artists will present two other works and so on and so on. We hope to start a wonderful and ongoing conversation between the film center, the artists we admire, and our community.
I am kicking the night off as the first artist/filmmaker/curator. We will screen my short film BACK TO ABSTRACTION, then present THE BAD HALF by Duncan Birmingham (IFC’s Maron, Sundance) and WE THE MASSES by Robyn O’Neil (Herzog’s Rogue Film School, Whitney Biennial). Conversation with the filmmakers will follow.
I am so pumped that Robyn and Duncan are joining us on this very special night. They are two fun/interesting artists that I met this year while I was working on my own film. Their gentle supportive openness about making work, encouragement of my own process, and literature discussions really helped push me through to the finish.
I interviewed Robyn for Pastelegram’s CORONOGRAPH. It’s the first interview that just fell into place with ease, excitement, and creativity. It was truly collaborative– and I felt lifted up/valued in the process. Robyn also has a cool literature podcast too called ME READING STUFF. What I love the most about her is that she has this genuine confidence and enthusiasm for others. She is light and true. She doesn’t feel the need to act like a certain “artistic type” to be respected. She is just herself. She inspires me to do the same. Her short was developed at WERNER HERZOG’S ROGUE FILM SCHOOL. I mean, HOW COOL IS THAT? Is there anything she can’t do?
I met Duncan at a party. It was one of those nice nights where you are standing in the kitchen, looking for a drink, and you bump into this new person . . . and the conversation isn’t strained or polite– it’s so alarmingly easy and interesting, you keep talking and talking. The next day, he sent me a link to a few of his shorts and I just loved them. They are simple and funny– quietly nuanced– and that’s more difficult to do than it looks! Duncan is a producer/writer for IFC’s MARON and Starz’s BLUNT TALK. His shorts have been screened at Sundance, AFI, GenArt, SXSW and New York Film Festivals.
The Echo Park Film Center has a very cool mission statement that I’m honored to be a part of–
Echo Park Film Center is a non-profit media arts organization committed to providing equal and affordable community access to film/video resources via five channels:
• a neighborhood microcinema space
• free and nominal cost education programs
• a comprehensive film equipment and service retail department
• an eco-friendly mobile cinema & film school
• local and international artist residencies
We feel it is imperative that more members of marginalized communities become active participants in the creation and dissemination of experimental and documentary film in order to truly share the many powerful voices and visions that make up the fabric of contemporary life. With a special focus on “at risk” youth, EPFC programs and services use cinema as catalyst to inspire, educate, and empower communities.
My sweet pal and co-host Shauna McGarry is responsible for including me on this new journey and I am beyond grateful. I met Shauna a year or so ago at at craft fair that I co-hosted in December with super pal Kate Purdy. I was selling collages that I made. She bought one for her dear pal Samantha Morris as a Christmas gift. After that, I received a lovely email from Shauna about having a bite or coffee sometime. She had looked over my work and wanted to talk more about art and writing. I, of course, accepted! Shauna is a great tv writer– currently working at BAJILLION DOLLAR PROPERTIE$. She also co-hosts a monthly reading series called RADIO PICTURE SHOW. But more importantly, she’s maybe one of the most heart-felt and kindest people I know. Her essays are sincere works of magic.
BACK TO ABSTRACTION was initially conceived as a graphic novel, but I sat on it for like 8 years or something, feeling overwhelmed about drawing it all– and maybe also insecure about its worth. But, after I met Shauna, she invited me to read at RADIO PICTURE SHOW . . . which encouraged me to pull out that old graphic novel manuscript and adapt it into a slide show presentation. My pal Celia Finkelstein helped me with the photography. Afterwards, I felt a strong catharsis. My pal Matt Quezada was in the audience. He said if I ever wanted to adapt the performance into a film, he would love to direct. Thus, today, we have this short film!
I can go on and on about Matt and how much he helped make this film a reality. However, I think I will wait to share that in another post. I don’t want to bore you! I’ve already jabbered on for too long.
Basically, what I wanted to say here is that making things is not a solo journey. It takes a village and I’m thankful for the people I have met and continue to meet along the way. I hope you come out and support my film and these films– then, next month, I also hope you come back to learn about how other people meet and connect and make! I ALSO hope YOU keep making art and meeting others who encourage you to do so along the way. Looking back, I see that everything matters. Every small conversation brings a different kind of joy and opportunity. Show people who you are and tell people about your projects. Keep communicating and sharing. It’s important!