2015 was a year of many highs in my film world, coupled with some great challenges in other aspects of my life. The life of an artist/maker is often filled with struggle and I hope one day soon artists and creators can truly make a living at their art like anyone else, without the endless work and constant “hustle.”I know there are successful artists out there, but there needs to be room for more! And for self-determination, plurality of voices and visions, and unique storytelling.
For the first time in a while, I look ahead to a new year that is filled with possibility and I am stronger, if a little battle-worn, for having survived this last year. I am proud of the Machete Kisumontao documentary completed in 2015, and its screenings in Puerto Rico, Pittsburgh, and NYC. I hope the band benefits from the work.
In 2016, I look forward to sharing new art, new collaborations, and continuing to work on great projects about great creators, such as Guaracha Latin Dance Band and Afro-Cuban and Indigenous artists and communities, in Pittsburgh and in Cuba.
Community is my “buzzword” for 2016. Documentaries are collaborative events, and I cannot wait to meet more of the community that has been, and is still, touched by Guaracha and the Sagués. Love is also the theme, and love takes many forms including through charity, helping, listening, sharing traditions, healing, art, and…creating community.
A huge thanks to people who have supported my work by watching my videos, attending screenings, offering congratulations, and sharing their work and stories with me. And to Yvonne and Huny at 1839mag for their awesome work on my feature in the mag.
It was a big risk to try to start a new vocation, create art from my own perspective, and to help tell stories that might have gone overlooked. I try to keep my ego out of it, haha, but I’m all about using whatever powers I have for GOOD. And I am in awe of the subjects of my films, and the women, LGBTQ, disabled, and POC filmmakers and indie media makers and documenters who are driven to change the narrative and include the whole truth through the stories and histories of their communities. They say history is told by the victors. I think it’s been told by the oppressors, and it’s time to flood the world with stories/truths of the soon-to-be-formerly oppressed.
Peace, Truth, Art, Love, and Power to you all in 2016!
photo by sarah huny young for 1839mag