9/22 – 9/26/15
Seeking out collaboration in this project has been difficult.
Not because of the weight of grief, open investigations, or other legal matters, but because my scheduling has been so compact — I’m in and out of a location in a few days, sometimes less than an hour.*
When I do get to collaborate, a whole set of new rules and issues come into play.
The film has been about/in/around spaces more than it is about people. However, in the instances of the film when people emerge or become involved, the film becomes even more…something. The spaces are activated, and the actions of whomever exists within the space can carry a different meaning….at least that’s what is intended.
*Often I’m unable to reach any representative of the decedents home, and on rare occasion that I do, only a few are willing to collaborate.
I don’t think it’s a failing of the film, in fact, I think the lacking of participation or access to family is part and parcel of what makes this film work.
At the inception of the project, I wanted to hinge formal dealings and questions on the idea of presenting or aestheticizing grief, or grappling with the limitations of documentary. I am no Michael Moore, Morgan Spurlock, or Davis Guggenheim (nor do I have those kinds of resources and privilege).
This film isn’t an explicit rallying cry in the tradition of the filmmakers above, but rather, an attempt at somehow documenting a range of things/feelings: from culpability, complicity, helplessness, distance, time, and frustration.
I don’t perceive this frustration to be a flaw, but almost a kind of moral choice.
As if to suggest value in the technical limitation of the medium. That navigating state violence and racial legacies cannot be undone in one film, and truly accepting that may shift the burden of representation into something….more…..
I’m rambling at this point, but thankfully the film doesn’t. It’s not laden with experts or police or advocates pontificating. In our age of online access to information, it sometimes becomes important to strip that all away, to remove that didacticism that we’re so accustomed to for orientation.
Stripping the film of those elements shifts the burden of work unto the audience.
I drove the miles,
meditated on every galloon of gas being burned,
let myself run the gamut of emotions when I arrive at my destination:
I want you to experience the same without anyone on screen telling you to do so.
There’s quite a bit of storytelling risk in doing that….
But I’m learning a lot about storytelling and documentary form.
I’m learning what it is to watch, what it is to listen, to not speak, to be able to only show…so….much.