January 18, 2008

A Filmmaker's Indomitable Spirit

When I was asked to participate on Mountainfilm’s blog, I was incredibly honored and then immediately terrified. I have nothing but the deepest respect and admiration for the people who work/participate in the festival. I was introduced to Mountainfilm last year when a short film I had done was accepted to the festival. The time I spent at Telluride genuinely changed my life and the way I saw the world. I often hear that nothing created by mankind can rival the beauty of nature. I might have to disagree. Mountainfilm, created and kept alive by passionate like-minded individuals is one of the most breath-takingly beautiful things I have ever witnessed. If you have an opportunity to see this living, breathing organism of passion, love and inclusion…you will never forget it.The two emotions that the festival volunteers, patrons and filmmakers exuded were passion and optimism. So that is what I would like to touch on here.When I went to shoot my short film I had no experience, no equipment, no crew and no money. All I had was an idea, a lot of passion and a naïve belief that it could be done. I wish I could say that doors were thrown open and everyone that I asked to help said yes. But that’s not what happened. A great many people not only told me no but wanted to sit me down and explain in painful detail why it wouldn’t work. If I asked ten people to join me, nine said no. But that one in ten that said yes, brought an unwavering strength to the project and my life. If I had a truckload of money to pay, I could have had a cast and crew in seconds. But the moment the money dried up, I would have lost every one of them. But when I only had a dream to offer, those who signed on were there through thick and thin.There is not one single person listed in our credits that I wouldn’t do anything in the world for today. When I reached out for help, each one of them not only gave me a hand but also gave one hundred percent of themselves. It’s a really beautiful thing to be a part of something that is completely collaborative and created by a group of people who really cared for each other.I encourage everyone to surround themselves with passionate optimistic people who share a vision. If you are concerned about the quality of water in your town, get educated and get active! If there is a social issue that stirs you, get educated and get active! If you feel strongly about something, I guarantee that there are others out there who share your passion. FIND THEM! Work with them to educate and inspire others. Change…real change…doesn’t come from our government enacting laws or celebrities doing grand gestures. It comes from everyday ordinary people looking at the world and saying, “There’s something wrong here. This MUST change.” Invite others to see your passion and optimism and don’t forget to take the time to see theirs.No experience, no money and no idea where to start? No problem. Reach out with passion and optimism…and someone will take your hand. It’s scary and a lot of people might shut you down, but those who don’t will find in you a strength and hidden talents that you didn’t even know you had inside of yourself.Good luck and enjoy the journey.Jonathan

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