Inauguration of a People

So I just finished watching the inauguration for President Obama's second term. I generally want to stay away from political discourse on this blog and site for pretty obvious reasons and I will try my best to stay under those guidelines with this post. Naturally, in the days of social media, we all have the opportunity to post our opinions and feelings on landmark moments like the one we witnessed today. It were these comments that inspired me to write this post and not the actual ceremony. I have an anecdote if you will indulge me. About a month ago, I was walking with Eljon and on the corner of Kenmare and Mulberry Streets there was a homeless man laying face down in the middle of the sidewalk experiencing a seizure. Outside of the convulsions, the man was paralyzed and seemed to be tearing. I assume out of fear. There were two people standing near him and one of them had called 911. I recalled that a pretty decent amount of people walked by us before we saw the man on the sidewalk. So that means that these folks saw him having the seizure and chose not to help him. Eljon and I were in shock to see him and were trying to figure out how to help him. I knew the paramedics were notified, but I felt like something else had to be done. Luckily, I saw a police van driving down the street. I literally jumped out in front of the van and made sure that they saw me. They stopped (thankfully so I didn't get hit) and pulled over. I told them that the man was having a seizure. When they saw that it was a homeless guy they IMMEDIATELY looked like they regretted getting out of the car. They were slow to respond and meandered instead of showing urgency. It was disappointing to say the least. I will say that the paramedics came, treated him and took him to the hospital.

I am reminded of that event today because I'm pretty certain that some of the people that walked by that man are the same people cheering for Obama during his inauguration today. These are the same people who had a chance to make their fellow man and community better, but chose not to do anything. I am not saying this to toot our own horn because we could have done more including comforting the man. We didn't do that. But the point I am trying to make is that there can't be a complete investment in our government, but not the same investment in ourselves and others. Why didn't more people help that guy out? Why did the cops change their attitude when they saw the man was homeless? Today is more about us than it is the government. There is potentially a moment every day to make this country better and what helps us move this forward is these moments. Not a dog and pony show. Not a vote. Not a liberal arts college debate that doesn't lead to action. Sometimes helping a guy out on the street makes things better. I don't want to make a grand statement with this post. But I do want to remind us all that helping each other out on a daily basis is just as important as the swearing in of a President. Our quality of life isn't just dependent upon decisions that our government makes. At the end of the day, we control that.

Thank you for reading.

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A Film A Day Keeps the .... Away

So I have been told from two different prominent sources that filmmakers are supposed to watch films, like all the time. In order to improve your craft, you have to see the work from others and learn from them. As an up and coming director, I realized that this was a truism that I had to heed. I know this seems rather obvious but putting it into practice can be troublesome at times. I must admit I have not been doing a great job of this lately. A lot of it has to do with the Yankees winning the world series (which will be its own post soon) and actually working on a film. But I realized that I just used those things as an excuse. So I'm taking up what Spike has told me a couple times and that is to watch a film a day. With a little bit more free time coming my way I decided to spend part of it just watching movies. I started my challenge yesterday and I plan on writing about each film that I see here on the blog. Keep in mind that there is no preconceived criteria for what I am going to watch. It can be a blockbuster, a horror film, a short, a documentary, a neo-realist, a revenge flick, whatever. I just have to see one a day. I am not sure if I can keep it up but I am going to do my best to accomplish this. So like I said I started this up yesterday with "By The People." on HBO. If you don't know, this is the President Obama documentary. The one cool thing about this film is that I work with one of the editors, the amazing Geeta Ghandbhir. Actually, I had the pleasure of working with all the editors of By The People, Sam Pollard and Arielle Ansalem, on When The Levees Broke. So this was a nice way to start off the film a day thing. I knew going into the film that it wasn't about Obama per se. The larger focus of the film was on the actual campaign and the people behind it. This piqued my interest because I heard so much about the people who comprised the campaign that it was nice to actually see some faces. Long story short, I was disappointed. The film feels rushed to me. In an attempt to satisfy the timeline of events, I think the film falls short of getting into any depth about major moments that occurred. One topic that I wanted way more coverage of was the Sarah Palin choice. Ever since she was announced as the vice presidential candidate I was severely intrigued by how everyone in the Obama camp felt about it. The film skims over the reaction leaving us with sound bites from the campaign trail and not from inside the walls. Now I understand part of this may have been at the behest of the Obama people, but this is just one example in which we fly by landmark moments in the campaign without really gaining insight that the filmmakers access could have provided the audience. What was nice to see was the intense dedication that the workers and volunteers gave the campaign. It was inspiring to see such young, smart and innovative people not only commit to a historic process, but also be more than capable of accomplishing success. Despite its shortcomings, the opportunity to shed some light on these trailblazers makes the film worth your time to see. I'm sorry for such a quick write up of the film, but I'm pretty sleepy. It's been a long day.

I saw COLLAPSE tonight which has had a big initial impact on me so I will talk about this film in depth tomorrow.