For a couple of months now, people have been asking me: "What is your movie about?" I can't blame them, word travels fast in our small community, and everyone is eager to support you in your endeavors. The movie in question however, is a fifteen minute short, so it's hard to provide an answer without giving away what little plot there is.
Lucky for them and me, all those questions are about the to be answered. I'd be lying if I said it isn't a relief to just be done with the whole thing finally out of my hands, and into the world. Of all the times we could have been making a movie August was hands down the worst. But in the end, we did it!
It's going to premiere at The Orcas Island Film Festival on Friday, and enter into a competition with two other films. The winning film will be shown at The Seattle International Film Festival next spring. So before I say anything more: Watch The Commute and vote for it here!
In the spring, I had an interesting conversation with Heather's filmmaker husband Darin, and a friend of his, about the importance of creating local art and culture, as a part of truly making a home somewhere. How, just as with local food, there's resilience in creating our own music, movies, theatre, and art, not just buying into the monoculture of the dominant society. Having contributed a little towards that goal makes me proud.
Having seen how outsiders to these Islands often portray them as this paradise of scenic, calm and beautiful vistas, kind of like the chamber of commerce, or the bureau of tourism might want to showcase them, I wanted to make something that spoke a little truth, however light-heartedly to what it's really like to live here, if you're not just on an endless whimsical vacation, or comfortably retired, or monied.
I also wanted to poke a bit of fun at the small-town dynamics, the wild and whacky things we deal with in order to make a life here, while still showing all the love I have for this place. (Most everything that happens in the movie draws in small part from real life.)
I've always been a little obsessed the most American genre of this utterly American art form; the road movie. So, when Emmy originally came up with the idea, I jumped at the chance to make one. (Don't worry, the amount of gas we used wouldn't have gotten us even to Seattle and back.)
As someone who can be a real perfectionist and my own worst critic, having that tight deadline, and all the other limitations that filming on an island brings (limited pool of actors and crew, limited availability of equipment, etc.), really helped me to just do my best, and not worry too much about whether it was going to turn out exactly as I would have liked to. It was a real community effort, and in the end I sort of realized that really, if I could just make a movie that made folks in my community smile, I'd be happy with it.
Making this movie was also a pretty great excuse to take time to hang out with friends during the busiest month of the year, to get up at five in the morning, and also to really stretch all of our limits.
I Can't wait to get started on my next project and I can't wait to hear what y'all think of The Commute!