Yesterday I applied for Project:Involve, Film Independent’s “signature diversity program, dedicated to increasing diversity in the film industry by cultivating the careers of under-represented filmmakers.”
In my letter of intent, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on the role of story in narrative filmmaking. It differentiates me from most filmmakers, hence, something that must be taken into consideration in my application.
Here is what I wrote:
A note about storytelling: I do not believe cinema is primarily a vehicle to tell stories. Story is simply a formalistic choice the film artist may or may not utilize. Though I consider myself a “narrative filmmaker,” my passion is not to tell stories per se. In fact, I rarely begin with a story idea then contrive characters and conflict accordingly. Rather, I prefer to explore social, spiritual and personal issues first. At times, couching such issues within a complex story works best, and at other times, it may not. Whereas every narrative film invariably has a plot, there may not be much of a story to tell. Again, the difference lies in the artist’s object. I feel American cinema has been stifled by storytelling as default. Most filmmakers call themselves storytellers without realizing they have pigeonholed themselves within one of infinite forms. In fact, many narrative filmmakers cannot articulate the difference between story and plot. It is my hope that Project:Involve embraces all forms of cinema within the narrative film tradition.