Note: This is a revised 2015 video essay script from a 2019 perspective.
I’ve made the goal to tell stories of hope and happiness since when I first started film-making. Who wants to spend 5 minutes or 2 hours watching something with no redeeming qualities? That’s false escapism. Real escapism should be from stories of hope and happiness, especially in the world we live in today.
You could make the counterpoint of ‘Poppy’ (2018) being a story of grief. The titular protagonist faces with the obstacle of moving forward in life as a young window. The thing is, the film teaches us that there are extreme times in life where we have to move forward, even when grief’s weight is overwhelming. It isn’t entirely about the main character’s downward spiral; it concludes with the beginning of a new journey for her.
2015’s ‘Under the Trees’ can have the perception of being sad and hopeless. The two leads, Nia and Opal, deal with the inevitable fate of separation at the end of the summer, and it ends with them separating. The thing is, the film teaches us that there are times where we have to simply move on from things. It isn’t necessarily over for Nia and Opal’s friendship, it’s just the beginning of new journeys for the two of them. Both have some semblance of hope: Nia has the beginning of a career path carved out, and Opal has time to still figure her own path, while being in a romantic relationship. Also, when Nia leaves, Opal is indeed sad, but she gets up, and physically moves on.
‘When We Were’ (2015) ends just as the previous two films with the two leads (or just the lead) separating at the end, but their time together was the best times of their lives, and they have the rest of their lives ahead of them.
I do a lot of love stories because I’m inspired to mostly. I find truth, life, hope, and happiness in relationship dynamics. That isn’t from an optimist’s lens, it's just the basic virtues from relationships.
Love has limits while true love is infinite. ‘Two to One’ (2015) represents love with the revolving door of relationships while ‘Offbeat’ (2014) represents true love with Will and Eliza making it through life’s challenges, eventually riding off into the sunset together.
Love requires endurance and so does life. Through that endurance, you learn about truth, happiness, hope and (eventually) life.
Those are the stories I tell.