I began working in film production more than 20 years ago. I have worked on commercials, music videos, short films, feature films and documentary films. I worked in the art department, as an assistant director a writer, producer and director. During these years, filmmaking was my primary source of income.
In 2019, I was diagnosed with POEMS Syndrome, a rare, autoimmune disease that affects three out of one million people. The disease causes nerve and muscle damage which can severely limit strength and mobility. I have been in remission for over 18 months and have regained a considerable degree of independence and mobility but still primarily rely on a wheelchair. This has made it very difficult to continue working in film. I am mostly limited to working as a writer and producer. A grant such as this will help me continue my work in film.
Most of my work, whether documentary or narrative, has explored persons and stories that are not often told. They include the effort to return the Mexican gray wolf to the wild, the effects of addiction on individuals and their families and artists who participate in the graffiti festival, “Paint Louis”. Some of my films tell stories about families and community- a family owned hardware store in business over 72 years, a young woman who chooses to be married in her family’s bowling alley and those who join together to live in intentional, self-sustaining communities. Most recently I helped co-produce One Toke Over The Line…And Still Smoking, a documentary about the music and stories of folk rock duo Brewer & Shipley. I am currently in pre-production on a short film, Green Frog Cafe, that wrote and will produce later this year.
My goal as a filmmaker is to tell unique and personal stories that enlighten and inform the viewer. My documentary work is influenced by the direct cinema style seen in the work of the Maysles brothers and the verité style of Werner Herzog and others. I am also drawn to the narrative film work of directors such as John Schlesinger, Robert Altman and Quentin Tarantino who often mix drama and comedy to tell stories of characters outside of the mainstream.
I want to continue to work in film and tell stories that I have discovered or based on characters I have created. I also enjoy working as a crew member on films, commercials and music videos created by others. Because of the relative lack of film production work in St. Louis, I often worked as a crew member on a variety of projects. Because of my disability, I am limited in my ability to work as a crew member on these productions. I am very capable of writing and producing projects, but these opportunities are limited and often involve fundraising. A grant from your organization will very much help me to pursue film projects and to continue to work as an artist.
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