As I sit here, 5 years into a project (The Most Fearless, feature doc) and grinding away at the edit I am struck by the wholeness of the way you let us into your lives. For better or for worse you let us see you, really see you. In so many ways you trusted us, you let us see vulnerability mixed with pride. Some of you showed us only what you wanted us to see, or worse yet, what you thought we expected of you. This is what we won’t show. But you all trusted us, some more than others - you trusted us - and we spent five years with you. Your beauty, strength and in many cases the questioning, the unsteady movements - we were with you as you felt your way. You were with us as we felt our way.
Here I am working on sorting and pulling images together and seeing that much that was filmed was the easy stuff - the stuff that’s easy to present, easy to shoot, easy to translate and easy to watch. But thankfully that is not all that is there and what takes my breath away is everything else. Your beauty, strength and in many cases the questioning, the unsteady movements - we were with you as you felt your way. You were with us as we felt our way.
I have been concerned lately because there have been so many copycats out there. Even though we started this project five years ago, in just the last year there have been so many people wanting to come in and take your story and tell it as theirs. On the one hand this was inevitable - it is an incredible story and incredible stories find there way out into the world. On the other hand we owe you an apology. We not only let other press in, we encouraged it when it supported our view of the world. We should have understood that for each bright light there is a dark side. While we understand that we are only a tiny part of your lives, our actions certainly hastened some of the chaos that has followed.
But as we get into the real work of the edit of all the material we created together I am no longer worried, no longer fearful that this project might not reach it’s potential. With each image I see that we’ve witnessed so many of you growing up - and growing into the adults you are now. There is nothing in this world that can replace time, these past five years we spent working together cannot be recreated.
I see now that the beauty, strength and truth of this story could have only come through the lens of time. Only now am I learning that my job is to let your story come through me - that it is not of me, it is all is a reflection of our work together. And I cannot wait to see this film.