CADY McCLAIN

Director, Producer, Artist

We Are the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Posted on: September 25, 2016

nicole-connToday I was watching some of an interview I did with the filmmaker Nicole Conn and I found myself smiling.  One of the great pleasures of this documentary has been getting to know women like Nicole: women who are smart, talented, and beautifully unique.  Nicole is not categorized as a “mainstream” filmmaker yet, but she is an important one, and in a way she personifies why I am making this doc.  She personifies what I value: she is true to herself.  She is true to her vision.

She is true to her vision.

She loves old black and white movies.  She believes in romance.  She is a gay woman.  Her calling and talent is filmmaking, so she has made three seminal films about passionate relationships between lovers that happen to be female.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-9-13-17-am

Somehow her films, as wildly successful as they are (and they are WILDLY successful) are still not considered “mainstream.” So I have to ask myself, what is “mainstream”?  What is it about one narrative (a narrative that is not inclusive of the reality of a very large percentage of the world’s population, mind you) that continues to have a hold over what we as a society deem “normal”?

Without finger pointing or getting political, I think it is fair to say that it is a mode of storytelling that is on the verge of becoming irrelevant.

Why should lesbian cinema be marginalized?  Or “faith based” films, “Black” cinema, “Latin” cinema, “Asian” cinema, “Indian” cinema or “Women’s” cinema for that matter? What IS normal in a world full of variation? Why must we categorize everything and what is “mainstream” when the internet exposes us all to the cultures of the world?

What is “normal” in a world full of variation?

Let’s take a field of wildflowers as a nice metaphor. Is the daisy the predominant flower and therefore the most valuable?  It’s a nice daisy, but I think we would all agree: it’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  What we appreciate about the field of wildflowers is its variation, it’s limitless, imaginative variation.

cady-and-meera-menon-%22equity%22The process of making this documentary has exposed me to more kinds of storytelling and people than I ever thought possible.  It has been so fulfilling to watch the art films of German filmmaker Diana Cignoni; the transgender series, “HerStory,” directed by Sydney Freeland; and the powerful short film “And Nothing Happened” by Naima Ramos-Chapman that explores the surreal after-life of a rape survivor.  I think I’ve become a better person by watching Meera Menon’s powerful “Farah Goes Bang,” and the off-beat martial arts short film action fantasies of Toy Lei. And the documentaries exploring American India life by Anne Makepeace are nothing short of breathtaking. These women are visionaries.

I’m gambling that I’m not alone in this quest to expose more women’s stories to the world.

Watching these films and more have exposed me to worlds I did not know about and gave me insights that broadened my understanding of the world. One thing I learned is that categorizing films into “women’s stories” is a neat and tidy way to keep women from making their stories.  Who likes to be limited, judged as “less than,” laughed at? I also learned that being a visionary means holding your ground: not letting the words of others push you away from what you “see” in your mind as worthy.

Being a visionary means holding your ground.

I made this documentary because I want to give women and girls HOPE, ENCOURAGEMENT, and TOOLS. Something they can watch quietly in the middle of the night to hear other women talk about how they work without being judged, talked down to, or lectured at. I want all women who desire to tell a story to feel heard and seen, validated and understood.

Today, Sunday September 25th, I am beginning a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help me finish what has become a five hour documentary.  If you feel so compelled, I would be deeply grateful for any small support you can give.

screen-shot-2016-04-13-at-10-04-42-am

Click HERE to check out our Indiegogo pitch video!

I’m gambling that I’m not alone in this quest to expose more women’s stories to the world.

img_8222

 

It’s been an amazing journey.  Thank you for joining me every step of the way.

https://youtu.be/nGDkRbohaHk