What is your biggest motivator as an artist? What is your biggest fear?
I desire connection. That is my core desire as a human being, and I have found that making art facilitates that. I make art to make friends. I think that art that can be a catalyst for community. It can bring people together and allow people to understand each other better.
My biggest fear is to cause harm. This fear drives me to always check myself and be very thoughtful. Stories are incredibly powerful and as such they can be used as weapons. Stories can build a sense of connection or destroy it. Many communities have been devastated by thoughtless or predatory storytelling. There is a sad legacy of privileged storytellers imposing their own narratives upon the people and communities that they depict, thus marginalizing and silencing them. Visual colonialism.
I think that documentary storytelling is about reflecting the voices, experiences, and perspectives of the subjects/protagonists on the other side of the camera, and I am committed to a relational and thoughtful process that allows me to connect and understand deeply, so that I can reflect authentically.
Whose opinion about your work do you respect most?
My subjects/protagonists and their communities. If I don’t do right by them first, then all the critical praise in the world is meaningless.
My peers: other artists and filmmakers whose work that I respect and am inspired by.
Holly, my wife.
Still waiting on God to explicitly weigh in, but the haphazard path forward keeps being cleared, and I find meaning in that.