Short video portraits about artists, activists and entrepreneurs following their dreams.
While practicing directing and producing, exploring issues I am concerned about, I realized a pattern was emerging among my short documentaries: my subjects were all following callings.
Translated by Felipe Machado
Some push others to change how they think or behave, like Grada Kilomba or Sunita Dighe, and some change the environment around them so it's more like their vision of the world, like Ramesh Ganeriwal and Hugh Gorman. Ali Nicholaisen recognizes the power he has, despite his physical disability. And Jim Kelly sets a boundary on his expectations, so he is not disappointed. But they are all leading their own activities and lives - figuring out how to move forward on their own - rather than doing what someone else is telling them to do.
Listening to the different paces and accents they speak with, you can see how unique they all are. It's not just that their faces look different or they dress differently. And it's not just that they have different goals or come from different countries. They all express power differently and get joy and inspiration from different sources. Some believe it is more powerful to be relaxed when they speak and some more intense. They each choose different complexities of vocabulary to express themselves. And they each have different levels of self-appreciation or self-confidence.
I like to imagine how their relationships to their goals have worn their bodies or enlivened them, and also what legacies they will leave behind. Are they succeeding? If others emulated them or followed their advice would they be happier? Can they pay their bills doing these things? With agriculture and manufacturing becoming more automated, will everyone be able to make livelihoods on such things? Will we pay one another for them?
And how will the world change as a result of their work? Do all of these visions fit together into a more harmonious world culture? Is it wise to search for and follow a calling or are those drives based on childish misunderstandings of life? Perhaps it is our best fate to pursue these dreams and learn from our failures what purpose life truly holds.
I keep finding fascinating people to record, and I will continue to post them as I complete them. I, too, am building a life, following my dreams - a dynamic, meaningful, pleasurable experience that others enjoy with me, making a variety of styles of films about my passions.
I think it would be awesome if everyone could live such lives, and awesome also if they were all recorded and presented for others to learn from and admire. Perhaps other filmmakers are also out there in the world doing this, offering up these portraits in the maelstrom of internet media.
As of 2014 the most popular clip was Grada's, with more than 24,000 views. I was contacted by a Brazilian who wanted to translate it into Portuguese to share it with people he knew, and within a week after we finished it over 1,000 people had seen it.
No doubt her charisma and the dramatic issue she is addressing inspires people to share it with their friends. But I find the idiosyncrasies of each of my subjects mesmerizing. My favorite is always the one I'm working on at the moment, cutting and refining the expression of their souls for others to see...Edited by Rachael King