Tag Archives: filmmakers

Being Present

by Gail Mooney
October 14 2012

I’m looking out at the beautiful coastline of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and enjoying the “now. I’m here to attend the Carmel Art & Film Festival and after spending a couple of days in movie theaters,

Filmmaker party at the Carmel Art & Film Festival

I needed to take a break from the darkness and experience the environment I’m in.

The last few months, I’ve been busy and bogged down by lots of detail work and planning for the future and in the process, forgetting to be present in the here and now.  It’s far too easy sometimes for me to get caught up with the “big picture” and forget to take notice of where I am or even who I am. When that happens, I know I need to get out of my “norm” in order to take notice of who I really am.

As I walked through the village of Carmel my first evening in town, my visual sense was on overdrive as I passed by gallery after gallery. I was overwhelmed by the energy I got from seeing the colors, shapes and textures of the paintings and sculpture, through the shop windows. Art is everywhere in this small town.

Carmel has a vibe all of its own and this film festival reflected that in every way.  Last night was a filmmaker dinner and party on the beach.  It was a very memorable evening, sitting around fire pits on the beach, drinking wine, watching the sun go down and having wonderful conversations with other filmmakers and artists. I looked up at one point just to look at the millions of stars in the dark clear sky and I knew exactly where I was. These days many small towns have lost what is unique about them, swapping their identities for strip malls and corporate brands.  It’s no wonder; we can hold onto our own identities or even think about who we really are in our homogenized culture.

I think we all forget sometimes to stop and really be present in the place or situation we are in – instead of always thinking ahead – or worse yet lamenting the past. We get sidetracked sometimes by lots of things and people who have different priorities and agendas for you, and before we know it, we end up letting all that “stuff” take us away from our own purpose. When that happens, we aren’t happy and when we become unhappy, we make other people unhappy.

I feel grateful today.  Not only am I proud to be part of this amazing film festival but also I’m grateful that this beautiful little spot on Earth has fed my soul with inspiration.

 

Never Ending Circles

by Gail Mooney
March 19 2012

This morning is one of those mornings that I can’t seem to get focused.  My mind is spinning in a hundred different directions.  There have been too many times in my life when I’ve woken early, not able to sleep because my mind is too active. I’ve learned to “manage” my active mind with meditation, so that I can “turn off”, but I haven’t quite mastered managing my dreams and last night they were vivid, making my mind a virtual circus this morning.

I’m headed to the West Coast this week to attend another festival that our film has been selected by, The Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival.  I’m looking forward to this festival for a couple of reasons.  For starters, Opening Our Eyes will be one of the “featured” films, but perhaps more importantly, it will be a unique experience for me to be part of a festival that is dedicated to women filmmakers.  I’ve spent the better part of my professional life in a man’s world.  Still do to some extent, so it will be a treat to speak with other women who are doing similar things that I am.

When I was at the SLO Film Festival last week, I had the opportunity to see an absolutely wonderful documentary called “Who Does She Think She Is?”  The film follows a number of contemporary females artists who were working in film, visual arts, and music.

Renoir's Studio, France

These were women of different ages, races, geographic locations who were all working in the “arts” and struggling to “get noticed” in the “top” echelons of their prospective fields, which were predominantly male.

They were also struggling to find a balance between their passions (their art) – and their families and personal life. I think most women, regardless if they are working in the arts, can relate to the constant struggle of balancing what they give of themselves to their family – and to what is calling out to them, inside.

The film brought out something very interesting –  in ancient times the arts were predominantly female – the goddesses at work.  Somewhere along the timeline of the ages – women dropped out of sight in terms of being high profile in the arts world.  What top artists’ names instantly pop into your head?  Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Michelangelo, DaVinci?  All male. Nowadays, even though statistically there are more women working in the arts than men, there are few female artists at “the top.”

I sometimes wonder, why the tables are tilted gender wise, in regards to “worth”.  Is it because women, especially women my age, still somehow feel, that when they pursue their dreams so intensely, they often run the risk of compromising their personal life and relationships? I know I have felt the “norms of society” passing judgment on me at times.

I’m not sure if I will ever be “the norm”, nor do I think I will ever want to be.  Half the time I don’t even take notice of things like that because I’m so caught up in pursuing what it is I feel I just have to do. It was very clear when I was at the SLO Film Festival last week that I was certainly not “the norm” as far as “indie filmmakers” are concerned – a group that is mostly “30 something” males. No doubt, I will be more of “the norm” at the LA Women’s FF this week, but then again I probably won’t even think about it.  I’m just doing what it is I’m supposed to be doing at this point in my life.  Or at least that’s what my inner voice keeps telling me.

Everyone asks, “What’s next?”  I do have a “what’s next” project in my mind.  But I’m not quite ready to abandon this one yet.  One young filmmaker told me last week “You never really finish a film – but you do get to a point when you can let go of it and move on to something else”.  That time is coming – I’m feeling it.  But right now, I’m not ready to let go of this one – the circle is not yet complete.

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