Wherein I had a lovely conversation about Hal and cinema and art-making with Terry Burden, perhaps a little too early in the morning the day after our World Premiere, judging by the bags under my eyes!
Hal movie premiered at Sundance 2018! Guys, we did it! We had five screenings full of super enthusiastic and lovely cinefiles –– all eager to chat up renegade filmmaking and Ashby legacy. It was such a unique, action-packed, magical experience that I immediately came home to Los Angeles and collapsed with the flu for five days. All in, it was a raging success. Check out some of our our hot press action from Rolling Stone, birth.movies.death, Entertainment Weekly, Slash Film and Flavorwire; or some verbage on the podcast Road to Cinema, wherein I probably needed another cup of coffee. Viva la ASHBY!
Happy 2018 folks!
In the event you find yourself at the Sundance Film Festival next month, here is our screening schedule:
Mon. 1/22, 11:30 a.m., The MARC, PC
Tue. 1/23, 8:30 p.m., Prospector, PC
Thu. 1/25, 11:30 a.m., The MARC, PC
Fri. 1/26, 9:15 a.m., Holiday 2, PC
Sat. 1/27, 3:00 p.m., Broadway 6, SLC
18 Tons of Peace and Love in the New Year!
Wherein I chatted it up about the evolution of the project.
This is for Hal.
There's a lot of political noise today -- but here is a bit of inspiration: I directed a video for Yolie Flores for Congress (Los Angeles, 34th District) because she embodies all that I want to see representing me and the values I stand for -- a fighter for public education and students rights, a humane pathway to citizenship and not tearing families apart, marriage equality, protection of the environment, affordable housing, and protecting the ACA -- I could go on and on. Please watch this even if you don't vote in the 34th district on April 4th, because it may inspire to get more involved on a local level. Thank you to Shark Pig for making this all happen, beautifully. Thank you my husband and thank you Yolie Flores for Congress for continuing to fight the good fight! #yolieforcongress www.yolieforcongress.com
It is true that I wanted the officiant of my wedding to watch Donald Sutherland's performance in Little Murders before performing our ceremony. Thankfully, my husband chose to still marry me and have some kids. HERE IS A REAL LIST TO SINK YOUR TEETH INTO! With a generous plug for Once I Was! Thank you Formosa!
Here is the only picture I could find of anything remotely resembling the evening I had recently at AFI, taking part in a Hal Ashby editing2 seminar taught by Matt Chesse (pictured below, in Cuba, reading Being Hal Ashby) and artist Eric White. We showed Ashby film clips for three hours + scenes from my doc, talking nonstop about the space in between + humanity in film. Also -- one could make a very real comparison of In the Heat of the Night to Barack Obama's entire 8 years in office.
Next month we will reboot a similar panel + film discussion at AFI focusing on media/celebrity in film, showing clips from A Face in the Crowd, Ace in the Hole, Network, and Welcome to Me. Thee lovely Shira Piven will join us for a roundtable.
Happy Birthday to my brother Josh today!
"Those morons out there? Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak. Sure, I got 'em like this... You know what the public's like? A cage of Guinea Pigs. Good Night you stupid idiots. Good Night, you miserable slobs. They're a lot of trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they'll flap their flippers." -- Lonesome Rhodes, A Face in the Crowd (1957)
"To play this motif 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities.". So wrote Erik Satie on his 1893 composition "Vexations".
Say thank you. Say thank you to the women who gave you a voice. Say thank you to the women who were arrested and imprisoned and beaten and gassed for you to have a voice. Say thank you to the women who refused to back down, to the women who fought tirelessly to give you a voice. Say thank you to the women who put their lives on hold, who –lucky for you — did not have “better things to do” than to march and protest and rally for your voice. So you don’t feel like a “second class citizen.” So you get to feel “equal.”
Thank Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul for your right to vote.
Thank Elizabeth Stanton for your right to work.
Thank Maud Wood Park for your prenatal care and your identity outside of your husband.
Thank Rose Schneiderman for your humane working conditions.
Thank Eleanor Roosevelt and Molly Dewson for your ability to work in politics and affect policy.
Thank Margaret Sanger for your legal birth control.
Thank Carol Downer for your reproductive healthcare rights.
Thank Margaret Fuller for your equal education.
Thank Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shannon Turner, Gloria Steinem, Zelda Kingoff Nordlinger, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Malika Saada Saar, Wagatwe Wanjuki, Ida B. Wells, Malala Yousafzai. Thank your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother who did not have half of the rights you have now.
You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.
You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.
You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.
You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.
You still have to carry mace when walking alone at night. You still have to prove to the court why you were drunk on the night you were raped. You still have to justify your behavior when a man forces himself on you.
You still don’t have paid (or even unpaid) maternity leave. You still have to go back to work while your body is broken. While you silently suffer from postpartum depression.
You still have to fight to breastfeed in public. You still have to prove to other women it’s your right to do so. You still offend others with your breasts.
You are still objectified. You are still catcalled. You are still sexualized. You are still told you’re too skinny or you’re too fat. You’re still told you’re too old or too young. You’re applauded when you “age gracefully.” You’re still told men age “better.” You’re still told to dress like a lady. You are still judged on your outfit instead of what’s in your head. What brand bag you have still matters more than your college degree.
You are still being abused by your husband, by your boyfriend. You’re still being murdered by your partners. Being beaten by your soulmate.
You are still worse off if you are a woman of color, a gay woman, a transgender woman. You are still harassed, belittled, dehumanized.
Your daughters are still told they are beautiful before they are told they are smart. Your daughters are still told to behave even though “boys will be boys.” Your daughters are still told boys pull hair or pinch them because they like them.
You are not equal. Your daughters are not equal. You are still systemically oppressed.
Estonia allows parents to take up to three years of leave, fully paid for the first 435 days. United States has no policy requiring maternity leave.
Singapore’s women feel safe walking alone at night. American women do not.
New Zealand’s women have the smallest gender gap in wages, at 5.6%. United States’ pay gap is 20%.
Iceland has the highest number of women CEOs, at 44%. United States is at 4.0%.
The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.
But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?
I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.
Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.
But don’t worry. We will walk for you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you. And one day you will actually be equal, instead of just feeling like you are.
~ Dina Leygerman, 2017
Here I am a couple of weeks ago, sitting on my back porch with Robert Towne as he smokes a Cuban cigar and we talk about things. America. What is happening vs What has happened. He's lived through all this shit before, but as he put it, it's never been this bad. I wish I could say the wounds have healed a smidgen since this picture was taken, one week after the election results, but that would be a lie. Every day brings a new horror, wild confusion and a tsunami of rage.
I have been making this documentary on Hal Ashby for going on three years now. We are in the final stages of post-production, the 20th mile, the last trimester. I have learned an immense amount about Hal, and filmmaking and film history – but mostly I have realized the power of art and culture as it relates to the human condition. Hal made political films. They were not didactic tales of woe, but he commented on the frailties of mankind. Championed the underdog but never let the viewer 'hate' the bad guy, as we all know now, bad guys are the most compelling to watch. Instead, he just shows you what institutionalized racism can do, what the thumb of authority can do, what a narcissistic culture can overlook in the reflection of their vanity, how everyone needs and has a right to love whomever they chose. I could go on and on, but that's where I am at with this whole current nightmare of an administration. Trying to remember that people are complex, chaotic and (hopefully?) inherently good, just confused and easily scared.
If anyone wants to form a radicalized super PAC and make some short films to wage a video war on The Koch Bros or reach the hearts, minds and empathy of middle America, please contact me immediately. I am completely down. Until then, I'll be wrapping up this awesome little Hal movie. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. xo Amy