The candles are burning, so is the incense. I’m drinking red wine on a school night past 11pm because I want to write. I haven’t felt like this in a very long time. My inspiration? The films of the Newport Beach Film Festival, the conversations they have inspired and the people I’ve met.
Saturday night, Kobe, Charity and I saw Bitter Seeds, a powerful portrayal of the Indian cotton farmers’ plight. Trusting Monsanto’s marketing, the farmers tossed their conventional seeds and bought Monsanto BT seeds believing they would yield high crops. Instead of good fortune, they have sunk into debt due to costly pesticides and fertilizer with half the promised crops and the harsh reality that they must buy new seeds every year because BT seeds are designed to be fertile only once. So connected to the land, they become utterly forlorn and distraught, feeling forsaken and deeply shamed, resulting in a suicide every 30 minutes. Afterwards we went to Alta Café for a slice of carrot cake and a discussion of the film and what we could do: vote to label GMOS in November, buy organic t-shirts, know your farmers, donate.
Jeff and I saw Winter, a film with breathtaking footage of freestyle skiing and extreme sports such as rope swinging, climbing the world’s tallest peaks without additional oxygen, free jumping, mountain uni-cycling, and more. We were captivated by these athletes’ focus, determination and fearlessness. The roper swinger employs his love of physics to calculate jumps with incredible precision and the very much loved and missed Sarah Burke, whose relentless excellence for her sport allowed women to be in the X-Games. The movie conveyed to me the exhilaration of being alive when you make peace, even welcome, fear rather than avoid it to stay safe.
This afternoon, while waiting for a volunteer assignment I engaged in conversation with a beautiful silver-haired Jewish woman from Long Island. She asked me what I did and told me she was curious because I used multiple syllable words! When I said I was an author turned business writer and community developer, she didn’t flinch. Her sister had been a NYC editor. I love when people don’t flinch at me for being an author.
Then Tim Vandesteeg, co-producer, for The Eyes of Thailand slapped down his postcards and said I must see this beautiful movie narrated by Ashley Judd about one woman’s struggle to help two elephant landmine survivors, Motala and Baby Mosha, walk on their own four legs. Turns out I was the usher for the film and also met producer/director Windy Borman, with whom I spoke with about her love for the subject and just plain nervousness an artist feels waiting to see what the audience thinks of her work, which by the way is ah-mazing!!! I felt so inspired by the film that I really hope they win an audience award.
Songs for Amy is the Irish Spotlight. Sigh. Beautiful music. Beautiful men (who can resist the peacoat?) Beautiful accents. Raw, unapologetic, fearless diving into the pain of love for the exquisite joy it brings. The bagpiper who played before the film was the gent who ran the Celtic booth where I did the majority of my book signings and whose tea shoppe I wrote my first book. I found myself wanting to be recognized in this posh crowd. Yet instead of going to the post film party at Muldoons and enjoying a Guinness, I came home to look through Jeff’s baby pictures with him for his last yearbook at Waldorf because honestly the film inspired me to truly engage in my life, rather than a life to be seen or envied.
Today I was part of the magic of bringing stories to life. Thankfully there are two more films in queue for this week.