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Foregoing Festivals in the Time of Social Distancing

I'd like to say that my life is business as usual, but like everybody else, I am impacted by the social distancing measures required to thwart the spread of COVID-19. That includes missing the opportunity to show my current documentary to audiences at festivals and other large gatherings.

Since cinephiles - including me - can't currently congregate, I have decided to use this time to begin laying the groundwork for my next documentary project. This upcoming film will be about one of the most highly decorated Vietnam war pilots from the US, a man of apparent paradoxes who saved so many lives yet lost his tragically after he returned stateside. He was a Wisconsin native and I will be working with his sister along with other family members and some of his friends.

I have a phone meeting tomorrow with said sister to fine-tune our outline and begin structuring our budget. After that, we need to determine our marketing and distribution plan (we have some ideas) and where we will seek funds. Then we'll get cracking on our funding proposal and a website that will allow those interested to follow our progress throughout the project.

I sat in on a webinar put on by Sundance Co//ab and Kickstarter last week about crowdfunding. The folks leading the discussion shared that it might feel strange to be asking for money for a film at a time like this when so many are struggling and scared, but that films remain artistic endeavors and that art can and does bring hope, elucidation and healing. Even in times like this. They encouraged us to move forward with plans, even if we can't currently move forward with filming.

I am fortunate to say that I haven't lost anyone to COVID-19, and I pray that this statement remains true. But having said this, I hope that other filmmakers, especially those dealing with personal, human losses, will investigate, document and educate, so that hopefully, if there is a next time pandemic, we will be even better prepared.

The time will come again when people flock to film festivals and other large venues. Will we remember this period of strictly limited social and artistic contact and strive to foster greater connection? I wonder.

I hope you all stay safe and stay healthy.

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