It’s coming – and soon. The day I’ve been waiting for. The day we start shooting my third feature, OF DUST AND BONES.
For over a year now, I’ve been dreaming night and day about a story in the desert; the story of a woman who lives there and a man who comes to visit. A story of grief, guilt, and violent redemption.
I’ve worked hard to make it happen: writing the script, digging in with the actors I wrote it for, raising the money, bringing together my incredible producers.
And slowly a whole crew more has become involved, and they’ve been working with equal dedication and love to make it happen. It’s truly humbling – it does take a village to make a film, and I feel so grateful and appreciative of every single person who has chosen to be part of ours: from the friends (and strangers) who kicked in to our crowdfunding campaign to our equity financial investors, from the heads of the creative departments to the teams they are pulling together, from our producers to the friends who came out to the desert last week at last minute notice to help create the main set. Without each of these people, this film wouldn’t be possible. The film is not mine, it is being born from all of us.
I was out in the desert this last week, at the home where we will shoot this film, at the home that will be our home for the month of shooting that lies ahead.
The interior of this house has been thoroughly and completely transformed. Gone the bright, joyful, desert hippy colors, replaced with the dark tones of stained raw wood and animal skulls, a shadowy world, a refuge from life.
And up on a nearby hilltop, two weeks ago, there was nothing. Then I gathered some rocks and laid them down on the ground tracing a spiral on a small plateau. Since then, our brilliant art department crew have become masters of an ancient human art: creating a cairn that can be seen for miles. It’s the heart of our film: a dry stone monument, carefully and painstakingly balanced. It’s a raw testament to creativity, and already it possesses a powerful spirit.
We have created a rule for the cast and crew: every time you walk up the hill to the monument, you must bring a stone and offer it. The monument is symbolic of our film, created by all of us. And in less than a month, we will destroy it.
As we ease into production, it’s easy to get stressed. There’s so many variables at play making a film, and you can’t control them all. But I put my faith in this: we’ve worked hard and with pure intention, and we’ll continue to work hard and with pure intention for the weeks and months to come. What will result from it, no one can tell. Will it be like the movie that’s been playing in my head for a year? Somewhat…but I know we’ve planned as best we can and now we need to let go of attachment to the fixed idea of what we thought we were making, be present and awake and honest every moment that we are filming, and then we will have the chance to make something far better than the movie in my head. Something alive. Something true. That is what I aim to do.
I’ll close this with a quote from one of my filmmaking heroes, Robert Bresson:
My film is born first in my head, then dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.
Looking forward to the discovering the flowers of the desert…
PS If you’re on Instagram, please join the journey making this film: #OfDust.