The Other Side of the Wind

Where the wind blows to die.  

The title of this post is inspired by the film that holds the record for the longest production time in history at forty-eight years.  Directed by a man who started his career by flaunting the power of the press.  This is what happens when a studio gives a director complete creative control….. He never knows when to cut.

I write this morning from the other side of my own wind, on the cusp of the first festival submission of a film that has been in development since 2009, is in its second rendition, and ultimately is being released with the most minimal of direction or narrative interference.  It took me 13 years to let the story tell itself.

Up until this morning in the shower, in my mind I was re-cutting this film, adding and removing elements, struggling to accept the outcome.  I just wrote the final line this morning, the only line of script I have had to write at all.  .  

Un Punk is an avant-garde punk rock experience film; a documentary recounting the events of one Saturday afternoon in June 2009 when I became a filmmaker; now the film with which I intend to launch my career.  Not at all the film we intended to make. I am reminded of the words of one of our stars at the screening of the first rendition “What if you gave this story 10 years?” 

What if you gave it 13?  This film has been a bee in our bonnets since we captured the initial footage.  To be honest, the shoot was chaotic, stressful, my first run at a production which also doubled as a live show and breast cancer fundraiser, as well as an opportunity for me to demonstrate my performance talents.  The unfolding of it at the end left me dejected, depleted, and traumatized that my dreams for this event had been snatched from me.  I remember thinking, in the pivotal moment, that if I didn’t stand up and say something, I would never forgive myself for setting such a bad example for my children, who were all in attendance at the event, and witness to what I was about to do.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but after re-watching it last night for a final time before submitting, it strikes me that the film unfolds a little like watching someone’s childhood trauma unfold.  Not surprising, since the events of that afternoon led to consequences that all of us are marked by to this day.  The kids won’t watch the film, and it’s taken me a lot of time and self reflection to come to terms with the piece myself.

The other side of the wind was Orson Welles last film, released posthumously.  One of my filmmaker heroes, a man who arrived in Hollywood with so much promise they gave him carte blanche.  It all started with a dream; and with the release of Citizen Kane, turned to a nightmare of controversy.  

Perhaps it also works in reverse.

Every time I need to take a step with this film I find myself having to recommit to it, and the moment it represents.  A test of my faith…. And courage.

Stay tuned for news of Un Punk’s festival run, I’m looking forward to seeing how far this little wind can blow!