Simple Act of Kindness
The desert is a wide-open stretch of baking heat. In direct contrast to the experience that I had with Film Forward in China, there were sparse collections of people in Tucson. The dense population that crowds around you in China making you feel like you will never be alone again were absent here.
There was something different. Few things are able to grow in such a climate, and there is a small collection of the unique and strong out in the middle of this burning expanse of land.
But the reaction to the film is the same. Wonderfully, after all this time, people are still excited. They react with warmth like the film is a hopeful friend. I was invited to a Q&A with a small group of filmmakers in the area. They were so excited and invigorated by the idea of making movies that it made me blush a bit.
There is something that I always forget about the film: how special it is to see a seemingly simple film do well. Surrounded by people in a small community, I can’t help but remember all the things that made shooting in Taney county so special. It was a group of people who had never imagined someone would want to highlight their life, let alone that the film might resonate in every territory that it has shown. This secret hope that your story could elevate to something universal, even if the details are foreign, is accomplished.
There was one other thing that really hit me while escaping the heat. I watched A Small Act. If you haven’t seen this film, please watch it. While Winter’s Bone gives people hope that they may be able to find their own story that others might connect with, this film reminds you that no matter how small your good gesture may seem, it can actually change the lives of others. And this was the best lesson that I took from the desert. It had very little to do with the function of filmmaking and more to do with the courage of knowing how much the simple act of kindness can heal people. It’s something that can easily be forgotten in the business of filmmaking.