whirlwind May, ie hall-of-mirrors

My film the black sea had the grand good fortune to be accepted to the Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival (nee Seattle True Independent FF). At once a vindication and a validation for me as a filmmaker (my first festival acceptance ever! which while yes, probably shouldn't be the metric by which artistic pursuits are gauged, felt resoundingly assuaging to my wounded pride/s), the true joy for me was sitting in a darkened theater with friends, cast and crew watching the film unfold.

filmmaker pass, STIFF 2015
we drove up from Portland the day before, checked into our airb-and-b (sp?) in the tangletown hood abutting green lake which we skirted prior to meeting the woman who graciously would babysit the kids the next night so M could accompany me to the screening. After we went to the T's house for dinner. In a sort of mythic bookending to the film's existence (which I am prone to seek out due in small measure to my insistent non-self-effacing) the first time I ever entered the beach house in Arch Cape that inspired the film was with M and the T's (M and ST were colleagues at the time and the house belonged/belongs to their boss). In fact, it is their very likeness in the 'the black sea' postcards that were created during the fundraising stage of the film (see below).  It is fair to say then in a general sense that they helped to inspire the film. We had a quick dinner and then I dropped M and the kids at home and headed off to the festival, quite uncertain what to expect.

ST & AT look out the Arch Cape windows
At the grand illusion cinema I met Jason K, the filmmaker whose feature showed that night (SEAHORSES, see it!) and tried to remain as calm as possible. I still had this nagging sensation that some mistake had been made and would be corrected momentarily by flushed-face staff escorting me out the back door. But no one came for me and I was allowed to sit in the cinema and watch the film.
check out #4
Next AM was an exercise in patience as I awaited my screening at 8 pm. Kids help keep you grounded  though and so busy that you can barely register anything beyond getting to the next muffin, the next playground, the next nap. (A highlight, we managed to go paddle-boating - a sentiment I never thought I'd find myself expressing -  on Green Lake.) The weather was pristine and the day was glorious. And before long it was time to go to the screening. M and I went and had a necessary (for me) beer. I could feel myself tail-spinning, nerves overwhelming my excitment. She ran through some steps for me to remain calm and talked me down. I owe her everything.

the great Erin McGarry (Charlotte) and  Bill Sebastian (Paul) bookend 'the black sea' director (ie me) and fellow filmmaker (in hat) Rick Walters
Before long we were there outside the theater as friends, cast, crew, other filmmakers began to arrive. I felt my body relax into it and was sustained by all the love.

Before long we were inside and 'the black sea' started. A variety of sensations watching this thing with others, in public forum, after much passage of time, primary among them: films take a long time to make and shit, my cast is amazing. Afterward I did a Q &A and went for beers w/ some black sea crew, DP and co-producer Scott Ballard, gaffer Kevin Forrest, fellow pdx filmmaker Ted Davee and the rad Bill Sebastian. (who plays Paul in the film and who flew up from LA to see it (!)).

I made it to bed late and drunkenly, fumbling quietly in the air-b-and-b (sp?) to not wake anyone up, riding huge waves of satisfaction. 10 years prior I had had 2 brain surgeries and faced an uncertain future, convinced I would be dead within months. Now I had succeeded in not only making a feature film but in showing it. So much work and life - a decade's worth - in an eye-blink. And the older you get you become increasingly aware the eye-blinks are finite.
children at dawn
5 days later I am back in Arch Cape, staying with my family at the very house we used to board/feed the crew while we shot 'the black sea'. It's 2 spots away from the house in the film (ie the one in the postcard, ie the one that inspired the movie, the one where we shot the movie). From the right spot on the deck or the beach we can see into this house, we can see that it's inhabited by a celebratory cluster of people on vacation. Shared meals, beach walks, fires in the fireplace. What milestones occur for some that go unnoted for others? Which rolling wave is the one with meaning and which is the one that is only memory? What film/s will I have summoned a decade from now? These thoughts churned in my head for awhile one morning as the grey sun rose, finding no solution or resting place. And then my son woke and we moved to a muffin, a playground, a nap.

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