15 October 2008

The Lattice of Coincidence

On the first day of the Brooklyn International Film Festival last year, where DAUGHTERS OF WISDOM had its World Premiere, I met a Swedish filmmaker named Lovisa. I ‘collect’ Swedes, so the fact that I found a bright, talented and eager one at a film festival in New York wasn’t a big surprise. We became friends, and 6 months later she invited me to the holiday party for her company Governess Films at a bar in Hell’s Kitchen. There she introduced me to Joseph, a film director/producer and partner in his own production company, Cypress Films. Lovisa said “You have to meet Joe. He’s looking for someone to direct a documentary in Alaska in winter. You lived in Stockholm in winter, you lived in a rural monastic community in Tibet. You’re it”

I did meet Joe at Lovisa’s party, and again at his own holiday party the following week. Turned out he had directed a film from a script that Mike Jones, my friend and old colleague from Filmmaker Magazine, had written. And he was developing another that Annie Nocenti, my old colleague from Scenario Magazine, wrote. So this was destiny, no? I was working on another project at the time, but I started to do some research and Joe and I kept in touch over the next few months, slowly getting more and more excited about the project’s potential. In February, I went to the Sedona International Film Festival with DAUGHTERS. It was a fantastic festival in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet (see the "Sedona on My Mind" entry below). There I met fellow filmmakers Joe and Steve from Tampa, who I spent a fair bit of time with during the festival. They said, “hey, if you’re ever in Tampa, come stay with us.” Sure, like I pass through Tampa regularly.

But lo and behold, two days after I got back from Sedona,
I got an invitation to the Ybor City Film Festival in Tampa, and I was on the phone with Joe and Steve “booking” my room for April. While I was in Tampa, Joe and Steve had some friends over on Saturday night. I got to talking with this guy Joe (are you sensing a pattern? Ha!), who was at the party taking a break from intense packing for his move to…Alaska. He had gone on a cruise there and had never shaken the place. Three determined years later he had found a job up there and was going to drive from Tampa to Anchorage a few weeks later. He was very excited at the prospect of my visit at some point and we kept in touch over the next few months.

Finally, last Wednesday, Joe did indeed pick me up at the Anchorage Airport. We spent the few days after that roaming around in the rain in the scenery south of Anchorage. But it
ned out that he didn’t actually know Joe and Steve in Tampa and had just gone to their house that night with a friend who told him it was time to get his nose out of moving boxes for an evening. Funny how these things happen. Above is a photo Joe snapped of me on the Seward Glacier Cruise. He's a great photographer, and I'll pass his website on to you soon.

Now I’m in the town of Whittier on Prince William Sound, which is my home for two weeks. The people here are great, and I’ve been enjoying getting to know them. The crew arrives on Monday, and this film will be something special if I can help it. Each film is in its own way. But I am struck this morning as I watch the sun rise slowly at 8:30 am into a grey October day, of just how grateful I continue to be for the opportunity I had to make DAUGHTERS OF WISDOM and to share it with such receptive and thoughtful audiences, and for the gift it has now given me to continue my craft in another community of exceptional people.