The stories in my 16 mm narrative films unearth resonant human moments, through drama and humor, in order to find sense in the world. Depicting relatable, seemingly insignificant interactions that ring true, my films uncover how significant moments build on one another to reveal meaning. This construction creates a cohesive story that parallels how the distinct experiences in one’s life are integral to the entirety of a person’s journey.
In my recent body of work, I place children in significant roles because I am interested in the power of children’s “work,” which is play. Through play children decipher life’s rules, joys, and pains by testing how different choices work or do not work. This process structures one’s worldview and patterns one’s adult life. Thus, the presence of a child’s perspective in my work spurs the viewer to interpret a moment as if for the first time, reinforcing my fundamental filmic purpose to capture the simple challenges and beauty of ordinary life.
My current work explores the intricacies of a hardworking African-American classical violinist as she flounders in her relationship with music, place, and womanhood. I utilize the violinist’s character as a child to impel the audience to pay attention to the significant experiences that shaped how she interprets the world as an adult; she is hung up on perfectionism, identifies with a male model for success, and sees both music and her options in severely narrow terms. Her experience of being displaced from New Orleans to a Lake Erie rust town pushes her to use improvisation as a survival tool and reform her vision of self and future.
I shape the narrative of my films by first collecting and creating images that stir me. I am drawn to images that simultaneously function logically within the plot of the story and also symbolically within the theme. Many of these images are derived from meaningful objects and indelible moments of my own childhood. My images also stem from the intimate, repetitive experiences garnered in my varied work environs. Additionally, I limit the color palette of the film. The colors I emphasize are selected from my same storehouse of memory. I adjust the placement, saturation, and quantity of the defined colors throughout the film in order to visually inform the audience of where the story is going and how the characters are changing. In this way, it is the imagery and colors I use in my films that are semiautobiographical, not the plot. Furthermore, I use theses elements to concisely link the immediate scene with the more expansive world. Through imagery and color, I reveal the delight and gravity inherent in the process of growing up. Never diminishing or over amplifying the struggles of childhood, I am interested in rendering common experiences that reveal the singularity of being human.