“She Has Endured So Many Tough Situations”: Director Heather Lenz | Kusama – Infinity
As you made your film during the increasingly chaotic backdrop of the last year, how did you as a filmmaker control, ignore, give in to or, conversely, perhaps creatively exploit the wild and unpredictable? What roles did chaos and order play in your work?
In my experience, there will always be unexpected situations that arise and create chaos. That said, some people enjoy creating chaotic situations. Personally, I prefer to avoid such people. I see the job of a producer as being a job of clearing obstacles and making it as easy as possible to focus on the work that needs to happen. My producing partner Karen Johnson has tried to do that for me. I am also fortunate to be working with a wonderful editor, Keita Ideno, who is always calm, cool and collected even when working on intense pressure. When bad situations are foisted upon you, sometimes you have no choice but to try to find your inner strength. Lately, when I’m in such situations I try to draw inspiration from the subject of my film, Yayoi Kusama. She has endured so many tough situations and figured out how to not only survive, but thrive. It’s in my nature to be a perfectionist so I always want to control every little detail which isn’t always possible in filmmaking. When I can’t direct everything as I hoped, I try to think of Amish quilt makers. Although their quilts are brilliant works of art they intentionally build imperfections into their designs because they believe that no one can create something perfect except God. As someone who loves great design I may not agree with that sentiment exactly but I find it’s a helpful way to let go of trying to make something “perfect” when it’s out of my control.
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Sunday, January 21 at 3:30pm — Ray]