Thursday, September 23, 2004

Hell-A or an indy filmmaker's adventures in the 'OC'

Los Angeles is the City you love to hate. The weather is perfect, there are beaches all over and the Mexican food rocks. But the joint but it feels like collection of the worst parts of Buford Highway multiplied by a million. Traffic, strip malls and dirt brown air make it such an unattractive place, that it makes you wonder why so many fucking people live there. Half of the people I know that live there say they 'fuckin' hate it'. But I must admit there is a strange appeal to the city. Maybe I just can't find the words to describe it, so I'll shut up now.

The screening went like gang busters. It was packed with people from all age groups, the youngest person was 16 and the oldest 70, and every political affiliation except Republican was represented. The ulterior motive for the screening as told to me by the organizer was to "plant the seeds of love in our activist community." Apparently the community in Orange County is plagued by divisions and factionalism. Not to mention increased harassment from the police due to their expanded powers under the Patriot Act.

So I was handed an awesome responsibility, one that I was not mentally prepared to take on. I was told all of this while in traffic on the way down to Santa Ana. I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed. When I arrived to the venue, these divisions became very apparent. People were hanging out in their mini groups and I found it hard to start conversations with folks.

After the film got rolling and the discussion was flowing, the mood in the room was turned around. New allegiances were forged, love was spread and I was able to see a glimmer of hope in most of those present. It was a very powerful moment. I made new connections with underground distributors and it even spawned an email conversation with a Universal Pictures exec. Weird!

I am not saying that my film changed all of these people, but sometimes it takes someone from the outside, or a different perspective to make you reconsider that way you view the world or deal with people. I wish I could put this in a bottle and give it away. In the meantime, pick a room in your house and stand on your head (use a pillow for God's sake).

Big ups to the ATL LA Exodus (Ben, Tim, Dan, Randy and Thomas) for your amazing hospitality.