April 24, 2013 | What We Need is the Impossible! | Richmond, VA
The screening at the Firehouse theater in Richmond was a highlight of the tour. Shannon Hooker, the assistant director of the Modlin Center for the Arts, and James Parrish of the James River Film Society both did fantastic jobs putting together a lovely event and insuring a good turnout.
I’ve done so many Q&As that sometimes it feels like there are no new questions – I’ve answered them all. But then, every once in a while, someone will come up with something that’s fresh and provocative and really forces me to think. After the Firehouse show, a fellow asked “why exactly are you making all these films – what’s your purpose with this?”
That’s a huge question! It’s basically, “why are you doing what you do????” A great question indeed. And a valuable one, too. I paused to try to come up with a decent answer. “That’s a big question . . .” I said – stalling while I put my thoughts together. “And it’s hard not to sound like a jerk sometimes talking about this kind of stuff,” which is true. I then went on to say something about it being possible through art to make powerful human connections – I know that through art and music and films, I have experienced powerful and profound moments of human connection and that those experiences have lingered with me – sometimes for years. I said that in the world today, that kind of connection can be – is – especially important and valuable, and so I hope with my work to achieve that. I said that I’m not sure I’m successful in that or not, but that’s what I aspire towards.
It was an OK answer. It was spontaneous and actually heartfelt, so I hope that it resonated with people, but mulling it over later that evening, I thought of many other things that I would have liked to have added. One further thought that I’ll add here is that I see art, and the human connection it can create, as being political in a very fundamental way. We are living at a time when the market and the culture it creates feeds our individuality and narcissism and hunger for instant gratification. Empathy and the imagination are not valued or fostered. And so for me my work fits into a struggle for humanist values. I’m reminded of a verse from Diane Di Prima. “the only war that matters is the/war against the imagination/ all other wars are subsumed/ in it”
On a much lighter note, it was lovely to see several friends who live in Richmond at the screening:
(left to right) Bob Paris, Sasha Waters, Ester Partegas, A.K. Burns, at the Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, VA.
Post by OSIP Touring Filmmaker, Sam Green