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BTS 11 - FEBRUARY

Weekly BTS

Weekly behind the scenes updates on the work of Lev Omelchenko. 

BTS 11 - FEBRUARY

Lev Omelchenko

PART ONE - UKRAINE

In the past month I've assembled a 45 min edit from the footage I shot on my grandmothers farm. I have enough footage to make it into my first feature length film. However, as I cut it, I keep wishing I shot things differently. As the film stands right now, its mostly all cut from footage shot on a single day, really a single morning of my grandmother's 70th birthday. After the morning, the footage becomes a lot more sparse, with practically nothing from the evening. I'm conflicted about the quality of the film, of the footage, and my approach to it. If this is going to be my first feature film, I would really like to do something more polished. Yet, I also like the rawness of this film. I didn't know how I would be cutting this film. I didn't know what kind of film I would be making. By the time I was leaving Ukraine, up until I started going through the footage, I thought this would be a multichannel installation. However, it has emerged as a long form documentary film. 

It's been a really interesting process, especially paired with my work with Sunday Morning at Seven. I've watched several Chantal Akerman films in the past month, which have informed how I think about space and time within a frame. Constantly I find myself wishing that I didn't move the camera, that I just let it soak in all the detail of my grandmother's home, her farm, her space and time. 

I'm considering a fundraiser screening this film once it's "done" as a first iteration, and using the money I might make off the ticket sales and prints to go back to Ukraine this summer to do a fresh take on the film. Maybe it'll be a whole new film, maybe I'll interconnect the footage between the years. Maybe it'll become a ritual, a pilgrimage. 

All I know is I want an excuse to go back. 

 

PART TWO SUNDAY MORNING AT 7

My work on this project continues. I'm struggling to find enthusiastic commitment to this project from my filmmaker friends. It's a big film, and to ask anyone to work on it for free is a huge leap. I'd like to do a crowdfunding campaign, and am comitted enough to it to put my own money into it as well. (Hoping crypto does well in the coming months). 

Here's a draft of the script:

And some photos from the lovely SIP+SUPPORT:

PART THREE - ZAMI

Anicka came to my birthday bonfire when I got back from NYC, and got me a book as a birthday present. 

"Zami. A New Spelling of My Name" by Audre Lorde. 

The book is the only one I finished in February, and it's a beautiful and wild read about the loves and struggles of a young Audre Lorde. One of the reasons this post is coming so late, is that I wanted to do a review of the book, but I have a hard time articulating anything intelligent about it. She just writes so so beautifully about the love life, about the passion and about the pain. It really cultivates a desire in me to fall deeply in love with someone. 

Her adventures, to Mexico, her survival in NYC with no money, her pereservernce in difficult and suffocating situations, give me such inspiration. And makes me want to demand more of myself. 

And this is true when I look at my grandmother work. There's a powerful perseverance. Survival. Motion.  

I think someone should make a film about Audre's life, based on this book. 

So here are some really powerful quotes from the book that I Starred or "Wowed"

" 'Just because you're strong doesn't mean you can let other people depend on you too much. It's not fair to them, because when you can't be what they want they're disappointed, and you feel bad.' " (153)
"It was here in the breathtaking dawns and quick hill-twilights of Cuernavaca that I learned it really is easier to be quiet in the woods. One morning I came down the hill toward the square at dawn to catch my ride to teh District. The birds suddenly cut loose all around me in the unberlievable sweet warm air. I had never heard anythign so beautiful and unexpected before. I felt shaken by the waves of song. For the first time in my life, I had an insight into what poetry could be. I could use words to recreate that feeling, rather than to create a dream, which was what so much of my writing had been" (p169) 
"in a paradoxical sense, once I accepted my position as different from the larger society as well as from any single sub-society - Black or gay - I felt I didn't have to try so hard. TO be accepted. To look femme. To be straight. To lok straight. To be proper. To look "nice" TO be liked. TO be loved. TO be approved. What I didn't realize was how much harder I had to try merely to stay alive, or rather, to stay human. How much stronger a person I became in that trying" (p181) 
"Muriel and I talked about love as a voluntary commitment, while we each struggled through the steps of an old dance, not consciously learned, but desperately followed. We had learned well in the kitchens of our mothers, both powerful women who did not let go easily. In those warm places of survival, love was another name for control, however openly given" (p214)
"I lost my sister, Gennie, to my silence and her pain and despair, to both our angers and to a world's cruelty that destroys its own young in passing - not even as a rebel gesture or sacrifice or hope for another living of the spriit, but out of not noticing or caring about the destruction. I have never been blind to that cruelty, which according to one definition of mental health, makes me mentally unhealthy" (252) 

PART FOUR - WORK HUSTLE 

Sooo for real, the reason I didn't make more posts this month is cuz I didn't do that much. The whole, gigs will come my way and I'll totally make enough money to pay my bills didn't pan out that well in January. And it didn't seem to improve in Feb either...

So I was feeling kinda stressed, thinking about my options, considering ways to not burn through my savings while I spent a fortune repairing my car. Waiting on people to hit me up. etc etc. Not having a job can be very stressful and time consuming when you don't know where your money is coming from! 

And then things are seeming to come thrruuuu. It looks like I'll have a contract with  WonderRoot, which, if it goes through as it seems that it will - will provide me with a pretty consistent income for several months. Not a ton, but enough to ease some of the stress I've had to deal with in February. I would also get the opportunity to meet some interesting people through the gig and hopefully expand my community in this city even further. 

Here's to hoping it all works out!!!

 

PART FIVE - LIBRARY

Being involved with this organization is cool - giving me a chance to slowly get more familiarized with "Solidarity Economy", "Next Economy", Coops, conscious consumerism, non-hierarchical decision making etc etc. I realize that ultimately everyone has certain skills, a certain awareness and if I can contribute with what I know how to do and like to do, I can feel ok with not being as skilled in other areas. 

I haven't done graphic design in a while, especially not for anyone other than myself. I was pretty happy with the logo I came up with - and it's definitely inspired by my father's process of drawing things out by hand and then translating it into a digital design.