Darren Dean (front left) and other fellows soak up knowledge at the Labs
Whew. I’m sure most everyone would agree when I say, “What a week!”
Sort of like filmmaker boot camp.
My only regret was not being able to celebrate with everyone on the Labs’ final day because I had to attend my wife’s boss’ daughter’s wedding (NOTE: We filmmakers should always defer to the needs of our significant others. Should this well of filmmaking dry up, as everyone keeps predicting – we will all need an employed person in our household. And we don’t want to piss them off!). Nevertheless, we all probably started drinking around the same time and – rest assured – I certainly raised my glass to all of you.
Was it just me, or did it feel like our noodles were turned inside out by week’s end? While I went into this hoping that I’d learned much of what would be discussed over the last few years, I was easily disarmed by that which I didn’t know.
And while it was abundantly clear that I’ve made (as we all probably have) mistakes along the way, it was refreshing to hear about the regrettable decisions of our mentors and the mistakes they made along the way. For me, it is pretty bold to be as successful as Scott and John and Amy and Rose and peel away the layers in an effort to better us all. When a mentor tells you about some grave move they made in years past, followed by an “I never thought I’d work again,” it is not only revealing, but relieving. It’s kind of like your dad admitting he dropped acid or your mom admitting that she regrettably slept with the captain of the football team. It doesn’t make our own mistakes go away, but simply serves to elucidate how fallible we all are. More importantly – and all egos aside – it reminds us, too, of how much we need to learn.
I have to say that I don’t agree with one of our mentors this week who implied that we are all in competition with each other. Yes – there will be festivals. Yes – there will be distributors vying for our work. And, yes – we all want to be the best that we can be. But here, as we learn – not only from our mentors, but each other – we grow into each other’s work.
The most telling line I heard all week – repeatedly, from different filmmakers – was, “I wish I’d made that film.” When you can look at the efforts and works of others and wish that they were yours, it means that you are akin with it.
I’m sure Alrick and Tovah would agree that, while we leave this week having made one film, we wish we had made nine others. And, in the year(s) that come, we will likely find ourselves championing each of your films as much as we do our own. They are all as much a part of us as KINYARWANDA.