I realized a lifelong dream a few weeks ago: I showed a movie of my own creation on a huge screen in front of hundreds of people. Granted, it was a rather short film and the story was not at all how I had imagined. But I was running out of time. I couldn’t afford to procrastinate and dream about it any longer. So when the opportunity came along, and with the encouragement and help of a friend, I poured a piece of myself into a movie that I hope my family will cherish for a long time.
Actually, the opportunity came as part of fulfilling a more recent dream of mine. As I wrote a year ago in Father & Sundance, the feature-length documentary So Much So Fast is an incredibly inspiring film for me. Before I had even seen it, I knew we needed to make an event of showing it in Minnesota. We finally made it happen on May 5th at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis, coincidentally as part of ALS Awareness Month (and conveniently, on Cinco de Mayo, in case people felt the need for a drink afterward).
My favorite films tend to make me laugh, cry, and think. They move me mentally and emotionally from the stillness of my seat. They make me want to go out and do something positive with my life. So Much So Fast is one of those movies. So I was hesitant about showing something of my own as an opener. After so many years of dreaming about it, I still didn’t have a clue what I wanted to say.
My friend Mark convinced me to do it anyway. How often do you have a big screen and a captive audience at your fingertips, right? After many twists and turns, I decided to simply share what I’m passionate about. The legacy video I’ve been recording for Eva the last two years reflects how I’ve been dealing with my illness, just as So Much So Fast depicts the Heywood family’s response to ALS. It felt like a perfect match.
So I sifted through my legacy footage and combined it with some super-cool music. I also incorporated audio segments from what has morphed into a separate interview project with my aforementioned friend Mark. I sweated over end result for weeks, right up to the deadline. I burned the DVD a few hours before the screening. And I must say, I’m very happy with the results. Pride is not a feeling I afford myself often, but I was grinning ear-to-ear watching it with everyone in the theater.
The entire event was wonderful, and incredibly upbeat and energetic for a couple of films inspired by fatal illness. Our primary goal was to raise awareness, but we managed to raise nearly $4000 for ALS-TDI as well. Thanks again to my friends Sandy and Mark and all the volunteers for helping make it happen. Thanks so much to those who attended and gave so generously. I turned 35 years old this month. I didn’t quite blow out all the candles, but you still helped make a birthday wish come true.
NOTE: In case you missed it, I posted a copy of my movie here: Legacy (try it with headphones!). You can also purchase the So Much So Fast DVD online at West City Films.