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“Trawling Old and Forgotten Hard Drives”: Director Irene Taylor Brodsky | Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements (photo by Irene Taylor Brodsky)

Whenever directors watch their own films, they always do so with the knowledge that there are moments that occurred during their production — whether that’s in the financing and development or shooting or post — that required incredible ingenuity, skill, planning or just plain luck, but whose difficulty is invisible to most spectators. These are the moments directors are often the most proud of, and that pride comes with the knowledge that no one on the outside could ever properly appreciate what went into them.

So, we ask: “What hidden part of your film are you most privately proud of and why?”

Snap-shot imagery comes so easy these days. Our phones are filled with short videos and imagery, the not-so-invisible plot points of our daily lives. We create them, share them and then, too often, forget about them.

I had 80 years of these family plot points at my fingertips. I knew if I curated them with the discipline of a director (and not the nostalgia of a mother and a daughter), they could take viewers deep into the emotional center of my family.

After my creative team went home, I’d sit alone late into the night clicking through a labyrinth of images, trawling old and forgotten hard drives, watching reels of 8mm movies, collating video tapes to be transferred. No matter how many selects reels I made, I still ended up with too much.

Any memoir runs the risk of being too indulgent. The hidden challenge for me was the discipline it took to craft meaning and narrative out of our imagery, not simply take you on my own trip down memory lane.

Sundance Responses 2019

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