Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cinematic Life Lessons

My films are my teachers. Making the short Miracle Maker has been a lesson in surrendering to the wild, unpredictable quality of life and art.

 I began working on Miracle Maker when my dad was diagnosed with cancer.  I found myself lighting the candle for Saint Jude even though I am not Catholic. Raised in a household where we put our faith in hard work, I always thought with practice, study, and long hours I could fix any problem. But when this philosophy failed me, I began to search for a deity, a saint, a god, or a legendary hero to rescue my family.

Francisco (Jovan Armand) and I on the journey.
And so I created my own miracle maker, named her Miss Kitty, painted her teeth gold, and cast her as Bonita Friedericy. I disguised myself as a twelve year-old boy named Francisco (Jovan Armand), and embarked on the journey to convince her to heal my dad.

Throughout the process, I’ve learned Francisco’s lesson. Destiny is a mix of you and the universe. You can become an insomniac looking for shooting stars, pull out every single one of your eyelashes, wait all day for 11:11, throw your life-savings of pennies into the fountain and still not get your wish.  Miracle Maker continues to teach me that I am not in control. At times this has been a very painful lesson for me, a director living in an age of positive thinking. However, it has also been a window into the beauty of letting go.

Cinematographer Amanda Treyz and I making early morning "plans." 
Miracle Maker is currently in post-production. Just when I thought I was close to picture lock, I did a voice over recording with Jovan and realized the film was not finished. Struck by how much he has changed in the last year, a new ending is slowly coming into focus. Once again, I am called to release my plans for the film and allow the story to tell itself.

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