Monday, August 18, 2008

A Dream Postponed

Look at those puppy dog eyes. It can't be denied that those eyes are issuing a fierce apology to this blogger -- or, at least, that is exactly what I would like to think. I say this on account of a bit of news that came to me early this morning. With the aforementioned news came what in my opinion is an equal dose of good and bad news. Spike Lee's eyes, in the above picture, might say it all.

An anonymous reader of 24 Frames wrote a comment on my last post about Brandon Colvin's dream regarding myself, Spike Lee and the Telluride Film Festival. The anonymous reader wrote first that he is a fan of the blog and second that Spike Lee's film Miracle at St. Anna is set to premiere at this year's 33rd Annual Toronto International Film Festival, which happens only two days after the 35th Telluride Film Festival. Read about it here.

Apparently, it was announced in early July, which just goes to show how much news one can miss out on while abroad -- for those not in the know, I spent the last seven weeks or so abroad in the Czech Republic, where national cinema is on the rise, but where Hollywood blockbusters are the only things you'll find at the cinema otherwise. And, the arrival of these films is almost always unimaginably delayed -- for example, by the time I was about to leave Prague, The Hulk and Made of Honor were just being released. Pretty sad, though I did get to see a fabulous Czech film (with Eng. subs) by director Petr Zelenka, entitled Karamazovi based on Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. Highly, highly recommended.

Now, I mentioned earlier that hearing this news was something of a blessing and a curse. While I am understandably somewhat despondent to hear that Lee won't make it to Colorado to premiere his film, an important set of realizations come along with this sad news. First, I realize that this is by no means the end of a dream -- as the title of the post suggests, the dream is not over but only postponed. In fact, it hits me clearly now more than ever before that sitting idly by wishing that something were to happen is likely to be the least productive method of making these dreams come true.

Sheer force of will alone cannot direct one's future -- herein lies the difference between thought and action. Also notable is the fact that each individual is in complete control as the primary agent in his or her life -- in short, you are responsible for what happens. I can will towards coincidence as long as I want, but that won't change the fact that Lee's film is debuting at Toronto. By contrast, if I am to meet Spike Lee, another route must be taken.

Thankfully, this alternative route does not involve the act of stalking. That would be far too creepy and disrespectful. Instead, I am lucky to have as a friend a fellow by the name of Dan Sandford, Director of Graduate Admissions at New York University, where Spike Lee is Artistic Director of the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television and teaches the 3rd-Year MFA Film Production Program. Sandford is a great friend with an incomparable taste in contemporary and classic jazz music. He also represents a direct connection to New York University and Spike Lee.

I visited Dan in New York for the first time last December, both to reunite with him and explore the university, as I intend to apply to New York University for graduate studies. Herein lies the opportunity to not only meet Lee, but to have him as an instructor and close mentor. I still am not certain whether I will attend graduate studies for film production or analytic cinema studies. If I am accepted and attend for production, I will be taught by Lee. If I attend for cinema studies, I won't be instructed by him, but I will still have the opportunity for him to read the analysis of A Huey P. Newton Story that I presented at the University of Notre Dame in April. That's the dream that needs completion.

In looking forward, I see that Spike Lee's absence at the festival is not a major loss. The mystery of Telluride is still, and truthfully has always been, the draw of the festival. Any way you spin it, Telluride is going to be life-changing. You can't spoil a thing so great at this.

And, the other exceedingly positive thing that I learned from this news? I learned that people outside of my friends and family are frequenting this blog. Knowing that makes me beyond ecstatic. I hope that what I write from now until the festival's close brings you as much joy as it will me to be able to write it. Here's to you, anonymous reader(s). Cheers!

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