Yesterday my editor Shondra and I made a field trip to show our rough cut of THE CIRCLE to Ross McElwee's Fundamentals of Filmmaking (as in 16mm - they shoot and edit a group documentary on celluloid!) class at Harvard. We are both big fans of Ross's work, and I also taught with him and edited his film IN PARAGUAY.
This was the first time we have shown the film on a big screen to an audience. It was wonderful to see that Janet's story is really moving viewers. The students were really interested to see more in the film by some of the other subjects - like Clarissa Turner, founder of the Legacy Lives On survivor support circle, Strong Oak Lefebvre, an indigenous restorative justice leader, and Ismael Fortunato, a young man who struggles with anger after a close friend was murdered and another friend stabbed.
Ismael is a participant in a violence prevention circle that has been running every other week out of Margarita Muñiz Academy. I have filmed several of their circle gatherings - facilitated by Janet, Clarissa, and another mother-survivor named Charmise - and it has been such a powerful journey. These mothers can move mountains in people's hearts!
Ross's students are making a documentary about the Bernie Sanders campaign in Massachusetts. They said they often get privileged access at campaign events when the other reporters see their Aaton! Shondra and I showed them the photo of our index card wall to talk about how we are finding the structure for our film. A lot of rearranging of those cards yet to come...