Updated: Oct 11, 2019
Wow, what a strange feeling- the palpable, actual, END of a three year project coming into focus. For so long, when asked about what I’ve been up to, what I’m doing with my life, how I’ve been using my math major in the real world, I have spoken abstractly about this project on the refugee population in Utica, NY. Abstractly because until very late in the project, deep into the edit, the real quality of the story is unknown, how people will come across on screen is uncertain, the exact message to be conveyed still elusive. Not to say there is no direction, because certainly there is a lot! And not to say there hasn’t been faith, as that is what holds a project like this together, it’s just that this type of filmmaking demands patience, an openness to being surprised, and a willingness to be flexible. Most of the actual storytelling necessarily happens late in the process. Now, about six months into the edit, something amazing is crystalizing.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks assembling the last scenes of the film. This is especially tricky when much of the middle of the film is yet to be edited, but is also a necessary step in giving ourselves a light in the fog towards which we can focus our efforts. After working on it for 6 or so days, I finally sat back and watched the whole of what I had put together. I made a lot of notes of things to fix, and had issues with some of my choices. But also, I cried. I was a little confused, as I have seen this footage over and over. But somehow, putting it all together, it just clicked. I was finally seeing on screen what we set out to capture: a city that embraces hope and human kindness as a part of culture. It’s amazing how long it takes to get to this point, to where the footage is actually saying what you know to be true. But it is also very gratifying, and the idea of sharing this with others is becoming a really exciting prospect.