back in LA now and trying to decompress from a seriously intense week in nyc participating in the IFP rough cut documentary lab. rundown in 3 sentences? basically the movie industry (ie festival circuit + distribution marketing landscape) is a craycray capitalist beast, and the IFP lab is a rad little safe zone, where organizers milton talbot and rose vincelli try to create a space of creativity and questioning. the purpose of the lab is to demystify the whole post-production process (techincally, financially, socially etc), in order to empower young filmmakers to be able to survive - cause it ain't easy. after having sat through a week of presentations and resource-sharing, i can officially say that putting a feature film out into the world is kind of an insanely diffcult feat (so difficult i feel blessed by my previous ignorance for having gotten me this far) but it gives me a hell of a lot of knoweldge and understanding that inspires me to wanna think, write, and create more in general.
IFP had many glamorous highlights - including getting to work with the editor of paris is burning! johnathan oppenheim. extremely MIND OPENING. and my new dad (mentor) ira sachs killin it with creative commentary and taking me to gay bars and stuff.
it was an amazing thing for the project - but also KIND OF wreaked havoc on me personally, because it caused me to question fundamental stuff. like even just- what is a movie really? a 'movie' as being distinct from a long film or video that could or could not have a storyline - but a thing that ultimately is commercially accessible through either theater, television, or dvd or some kind of streaming netflix thing. to have to think through these realities was a difficult but necessary confrontation. it requires a kind of objectification of your subject matter- by objectify i mean like simply putting something outside of yourself, giving up control. in movie terms, the avenues spread pretty far and wide. i am more used to art avenues, where you can have more control of your context by communicating through a more narrow, coded language. when you're making a movie, you almost have to be more careful and precise with your language because it becomes subject to a wider range of interpretation. and when you are queer and trans person of color this is really scary. for example i met a lot of people last week who are pretty high up in their field - and let's just say i was reminded that the movie industry, like all major cultural industries, is disappointingly racist and transphobic. and i say that not to shy away from it, i say that because i am engaged. (addendum: actually, i think the word "disappointing" is unfair to use here, because it implies that there is some kind of standard existing elsewhere, whereas in reality, racism and transphobia are so pervasive in everything that i question whether it is productive to point this out at all - particularly at the cost of alienating people... so while i can't take it back, i'm at least gonna think hard to figure out what i really mean...)
ideally i would love to work in a creative vaccuum and just like 'make the movie i want to make' - and ultimately i will DO that - but it feels important to hold these realities as a kind of CHECK. i'm interested to see how they weigh in on the creative outcome, cause they OBVZ affect the production.
in other wordz
photo by nan goldin.