I’d originally wanted all the films I created in 2014 to explore the theme of death. After doing two heavy films, I was ready for some comedy. However, Athanasia is one of the ones I did before shifting gears. So, it’s serious, but also infused with moments of playfulness and hope.
I’m afraid of death. I’ve been very acutely aware of the fact of my own mortality since a random moment of clarity in the spring of 1994. I was sitting at the front windows of the Cole Valley flat I shared with three friends, watching passersby on the street below, and I was hit with an intense moment of insight—someday, I’m going to die. To not exist. To no longer experience the reality and presence of loved ones. Ever since then, I occasionally have this same blast of hyper-awareness. It’s frightening and troublesome.
So, one character in Athanasia hates death. Conversely, her partner thinks fear of death is silly and takes a back seat to love of life. “It has to happen, right? So why worry about it?” Somewhere in between, there’s room for great and necessary tenderness.
We filmed in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Mateo. The film stars J Aguilar and Caro Morales, and Beth Welch Snellings performs the beautiful Bach musical score.
It’s been quiet. After major deadlines at my day job that meant a bunch of late nights and even more early mornings, several colds, and non-stop short film production, I’m now going to bed earlier. And sleeping more. And spending time not doing much as I prep for post-production on Socorro, the last short film of this year. It’s about a traveling musician in a semi-futuristic world in search of love and companionship (and his quest to take out a bad guy). Another of the 2014 shorts, Funcle, had its premiere on November 8th at the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival and I’m sending it out to meet a few more submission deadlines. It’s about the two genderqueer buddies pictured above.
Although there are still a couple of months left in the year, it seems as good a time as any to check in—how did I do with this year’s resolutions?
I made four shorts instead of six. This is fine by me. (Or, using active voice: I’m fine with this.) The four are Winter’s Eve, Athanasia, Funcle, and Socorro, and I had a private screening of the first three to a small group of good friends and my family. These were a blast to make and share. If nothing else happens with them I’m content. The main reason: throughout it all, along with the pressures of work, I battled a bout of mild depression and seem to have won. Note to creative types who get bogged down easily by life at moments: read, rest, eat well, take walks, drink tea, and get some sunshine.
I’ve got two feature scripts in decent shape. Not perfect, but not bad. My major goal for next year is to pick one (not six) and run with it.
I’ve been mentoring. As I mentioned in an April post, mentoring is so much more valuable than being a mentee. I’ve confirmed this as true. I’ve been guiding three actors on their quest to hone their skills, and although it’s a long process, I feel I’ve been able to provide the right amount of encouragement and guidance, as desired and requested by my mentees. A good start was casting them in my short films.
I’ve lost track of my movie retreats. Being the mother of a two-year-old at age 45 is damn hard. What I’ve learned in this process: patience grows thinner as you get older, or perhaps during middle age. As I’ve said before: read, rest, eat well, take walks, drink tea, and get some sunshine. Do this with your two-year-old and it makes things a lot easier.
I got out more! I’m happy to have made several new friends in 2014 (I hope you know who you are!). Life is good.
The gist of the above: despite Republicans now controlling Congress, bees dying, drone attacks, and bad things generally persisting, life and creativity go on for the artistically minded. Find time to relax. Then start all over again (at a slower pace, as needed).