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“In New York, You Create Your Own Family” | Lana Wilson, Look Into My Eyes

A white man stares at his hands in a dimly lit room with brick walls.

Films are made of and from places: the locations they are filmed in, the settings they are meant to evoke, the geographies where they are imagined and worked on. What place tells its own story about your film, whether a particularly challenging location that required production ingenuity or a map reference that inspired you personally, politically or creatively?

Look Into My Eyes takes place in New York City. It was always a New York movie for me, even before the pandemic started, but the experience of being in New York City throughout the pandemic made me extra-committed to the setting. It was a time when psychics were seeing more clients than normal, as we all came to understand the preciousness of human connection more than ever before. Many of the psychics featured in the film also had artistic or show business aspirations which drew them to New York in the first place. Some of them are still performers. So their many creative aspirations also make this a real New York story to me. The experience of loneliness many of them have is a deeply New York-y one, too. This is a city where it’s okay to be lonely. It’s like how New York looks beautiful on a cloudy day, when LA would just look ugly in gray. It’s not something to be avoided by looking for a conventional family structure. In New York, you create your own family. In New York, you find your own people.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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