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Archive for November, 2009

What A Strange, Strange Trip It Is…

November 29, 2009 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Aperture, Coal, Faith, Family, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, Lumix Pix, Molly, Uncategorized, Video, Yoga

So much has happened since I last blogged that it’s a struggle to settle on a place to start…

Lambert's-Cove-beach-scuplture500

Chicago

Did I tell you about Chicago? I traveled there for two reasons: to participate in the wedding of my dear friend Robin to her glorious, gorgeous, amazing wife Lindsey; and to film several interviews for The Dirty Truth About Coal.

The trip was a revelation. I have been out of work since March and “Soma Girls” was doing well. When I went to Chicago, therefore, I was 100% an independent filmmaker. I wasn’t making any money, but I was making great art and having the time of my life. For one week I had the great privilege of staying with my family–Lucy, Carlos & Xochi. Lucy’s sister is married to my brother, but all three families (Lucy’s, mine & Carlos’) all get along so well that I call them my inlaws. Conventions be damned! :)

Anyway, the filming was amazing. Lucy, an employee of the EPA, connected me with people, information and groups I would never have known about and so the interviews I got during my trip solidified that I have an amazing piece of work on my hands. Creatively, the trip was a thrill and layered with validation that, yes, indeed, I’m very good at this and should absolutely keep going.

Then there was the wedding… My friend Robin, even though she’s only one year older than I, has always acted as if she’s my mother or, at the very least, a very important older sister. Her grace with and care of me over the years has been one of the cornerstones in my life that has contributed to my success of self and profession. She has always been there for me and so to see her so in love and bringing to bear all her energies to this wonderful, beautiful match was a gift. Robin is a whole’lotta woman and she somehow found her perfect mate in kind, gentle, but also solid, loving and capable Lindsey.

“Soma Girls” World Premiere

On November 13, 2009 my latest documentary–a 27-minute short called “Soma Girls”–had it’s world premiere at the Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in New York City. It was a full-circle feeling for me. I have toiled at this “video thing” for a while now and, although I’ve had (in my mind) many successes, to have one as big and public as this was all the way BITCHIN’. :)

Upon hearing of our selection into the festival, Nandini and I had scrambled to get the last of the technical sections of the film done. This meant color correction and sound mix. The drop-dead dates for both ended up being one day after I got back from Chicago, which meant that while I was in Chicago I had to export the film in the proper format for both vendors. The problem? I didn’t have the film with me. :) All thanks here, then, go to my friend Drew who lives up the street from me and has a key to my house. He’s also a techie so when I asked if he could go in, get the hard drive the film was on, pack it up VERY, VERY CAREFULLY, and then ship it to me overnight in Chicago, there was a profound feeling of confidence of my part. :) Once I got the drive I re-arranged one shoot for Coal so I could have a day to prepare Soma Girls. Juggling indy film projects and then having dinner with extended family–not a bad day’s existence.

Once I got back from Chicago I went straight into the sound mix in Boston on the same day Nandini was doing the color correction in New York. We’re so very “2.0,” aren’t we? 😉 Both processes went very well and I was able to send the sound files to the color-corrector/masterer with plenty of time.

Nandini then dropped the digibeta master off with the festival folks and that was that until festival time. The festival was great and is better described on the SomeGirls.org blog. Suffice it to say I had a great, great time. Having this experience for the first time with a film I made with one of my very favorite filmmakers, Nandini, was a thrill and a privilege. It was the perfect “first.” :)

Inspired Yoga

The week after the festival, in fact three days after I’d come home, I left again for another indy gig. I had been contacted several months ago by a yoga instructor in DC. She had her own studio and a large following of students, and was interested in making a DVD of her intermediate level practice. I was flabbergasted, flattered and very excited as I’ve wanted to make an instructional yoga DVD for a while. It’s really hard to do because, in addition to being instructional it needs to be interesting/beautiful. Thankfully, one of my favorite camera people in Boston, my new pal Nikki, was available to shoot. She has an eye I knew I’d need and so with her involvement I felt 100% confident that I could produce something of value for Kyra, the instructor.

Kyra’s style of teaching and, really BEING is about soooo much more than yoga. She embodies the need to make people feel better about themselves in every way, and so that’s what Nikki and I were able to find during the shoot. One of my strengths as a director, I think, is my ability to really understand a person’s vibe and make the work bring that out. However we did it, we did it, cuz at the end of the first day of shooting–three cameras!–a bunch of us reviewed the footage and were amazed by it’s beauty. Somehow Nikki and I had managed to not let the existence and job of the cameras get in the way of Kyra’s message, a message she delivered with a fluid and seamless one-hour sequence. Kyra was AMAZING.

And that was only Day 1. Day 2 of shooting involved filming “pickups,” anything we felt needed more attention/a different angle, and recording the Voice Over.

Now, recording a voice over might sound straight forward at first, but remember this needed to be a ONE HOUR voice over. Because she’s incredible and a trooper, and committed to her work, incredible Kyra did the whole goddamned thing in one take. Perfectly. :) Nikki and I were amazed. “Is this not how this usually goes?” Kyra asked us after we’d reviewed the first take (oh yes, she did another entire take). “Noooooooooo,” we replied in unison, gleefully. :)

The perfection and efficiency of the voice over–something I didn’t expect at all–made it easy for me cobble together a solid rough cut that same night. Therefore, when Kyra got back from her evening classes at the end of Day 2, we were able to have her give the whole thing a listen to see if there was anything she wanted to record again. There was, we did it, and then went to sleep.

Day 3 was equally awesome. Nikki was in charge of the day’s shoot which will become the introduction to the DVD. Kyra had written a 2 minute intro that welcomes the viewer, talks a bit about her philosophy/her story, and describes what’s to come on the DVD. Nikki made ART out of the shoot at the DC Arboretum at magic hour. Magic hour is Nikki’s wheelhouse. A word of advice if you hire her to shoot for you: describe what you want, bring her to the location, and get the fuck out of the way. Because Nikki and Kyra were so in tune with each other, this footage is gorgeous and totally in sync with the vibe Kyra and I want for the DVD. :)

Thanksgiving & Today

That brings me to today. I came home from DC in time to have one day in Hudson before going to the Vineyard for a restful Thanksgiving. I celebrated mellowly with Dad, Sarah, and Sarah’s beautiful mother, Emily. Being on the Vineyard is always restful and restorative, and so I’m home now after having slept a lot and recouped some of the energy spent on the last couple of months.

Voila. I hope this makes everyone feel caught up. It certainly makes me feel that way. :) As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts. This life is nothing unless it’s shared. :)

Much love & thanks to you all,

Alexia

Make Something

November 12, 2009 By: admin Category: India, The Film, Uncategorized

I never thought I could be a filmmaker. You all–who read this blog–know that when I hear that word I see Martin Scorcese and then shrink back into the dark obscurity from which I came, but tonight, all that changes. Tonight, at the Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival, where my film “Soma Girls” will premiere tomorrow night, I hear director/creator Mira Nair, and all of a sudden I knew what I’ve know my whole life: there are no rules. You fucking well go off and do what you need to do and the universe steps up with other stuff/support that reminds you that you’re not insane. :)

Tonight I was given the clear message that there’s no room for resting on any laurels. The deal is that you’ve got to go, go, go! As an artist, I have a responsibility to break my back making things–for the moment it’s films, but maybe later it’ll be something else. Maybe music. :)

Mira Nair said: “To be brave comes with pain.” I understand that completely. This is the legacy that’s been passed down to me from my mother and father. Each of them took risks given their contexts, and each of them succeeded. So, it behooves me to keep moving.

I don’t know if I’ll be alone forever, but there may not be anyone willing to stick by close enough as I move. it’s a lot to ask, isn’t it? I pray, in the quiet, that there’s someone for whom my jumping up and down is enough, but it may just not be in the fucking cards, y’know? If so, then that’s my lot and I have to accept it, because what I’m sure of is that, in Ms. Nair’s words: I have to keep making things. It’s the only thing I know, and the only thing–other than family–that’s remained consistent.

To all you artists out there, and I’m speaking to everyone who reads this blog as I feel everyone is an artist: KEEP MOVING. Keep making your stuff. Don’t worry about money, time, or love–those things will find you when you most need them. Maybe that’s a doomsday message, but FUCKIT; in the end, the art will be what remains. :)

Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival!!!

November 12, 2009 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

Hey everyone, I’m blogging Nandini’s and my progress through the festival here (http://somagirls.wordpress.com/). I’ll also add pictures and thoughts on this blog, though, once I have some downtime. Alright, off to Day 2 of the fest!!!

Drawing The Line

November 02, 2009 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Molly, Uncategorized

line-in-the-snad

Someone wrote me something recently that blew my mind. They were insulting in a way I haven’t experienced in a long, long time. Letting my reaction of anger and amazement and hurt flow through me, though, I knew things had changed because the last thing I wanted to do was fight. I wanted to stand up for myself, but didn’t want to fight. What I realized was that there wasn’t anything to prove to this person because no matter what I’d say, they wouldn’t hear it.

I wrote back a terse, “Go fuck yourself, and this is what you’re wrong about” but that was it. I didn’t add any embellishments. For those who know me I know you’re all snickering at that. :) “Alexia, not adding embellishments???”

I don’t know how all the changes in me are manifesting themselves but am sure glad they’re starting to. It’s been a shit two years of being a doormat and I don’t want to go back. In a perfect world I’d get an apology from Molly–a LONG ONE, something to help fix some of the wounds–but I’m not going to hold my breath. Expecting any kind of grace and decency from her is what got me into trouble in the first place so I’m not going to put any effort into hoping she suddenly becomes a good person. That goes for others as well. These days I’m trusting my instincts when it comes to people that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight. I’m civil when I meet them, make sure I have an exit, and avoid them thereafter.

There are a lot of people in the world who just don’t know how to communicate with others, and it’s not my responsibility to teach them. I learned that the hard way with Molly. Not going to make the same mistake again.