“I tell stories about people who struggle to survive but who find beauty in every moment.”
I have been making films and videos for close to 20 years using Super 8, 16mm film and digital video… Whether making a documentary, experimental or narrative piece, I begin by collecting information through interviews, articles or audiotapes. In examining the collected material, I usually find a path to the story that is waiting to be told.
I grew up watching Hollywood movies. When I immigrated to the US as a child I encountered an America that was unlike the one I had seen on television. This America was segregated. This America had deep pockets of poverty. It wasn’t until much later that I could articulate this disconnect. The films marketed and consumed about American culture did not fully represent the reality lived by poor people or people of color. It was not until much later that I understood the power of films, videos to shape our perspective of reality. If I had to articulate a guiding principle of my work, it would be amplifying the voices of people whose stories are marginalized in the American narrative or by the American narrative. I have told stories about women prisoners, veterans and immigrants. In these stories you will find as much beauty and joy as there is struggle.
Seven Square Miles (2020) is my latest film which follows a collaborative effort between a female police officer and a community activist, as they run a prison diversion program called Trenton Violence Reduction Strategy, in an attempt to reduce gun crime in the city. Over the course of a year we witness their struggle to keep this small but vital program alive as they confront the enormity of the task at hand.