“So much of who we are…is what we can remember.” - “American Boy”(2022)
I have always been fascinated with memories. Why are we able to recall certain things, but not others? My earliest memory is getting a slushee and pizza with my grandma. I was two-years-old when this happened, yet I can remember it so vividly. The medicine aisle behind us and my grandma’s leather jacket. Yet, sometimes I’m able to get up, go to a room, and forget what I came for. Even scientist aren’t exactly sure how or why the brain stores the information that it does.
But, how accurate are our memories?
This curiosity led me to my exploration of truth and perspective. Several studies show the unreliability of eyewitnesses for criminal identification. The longer the time that has passed, the exponentially unreliable the testimony. How much of my earliest memory do I actually remember, and how much of it have I been telling myself is what I remember. Slowly having to fill in false details as the years go by.
I believe memory is one of the largest parts of our identity. Who we think we are. Not only is it a way of connecting with others(sharing stories and mutual memories), but a way of connecting with ourselves. Certain memories bring us nostalgia, and some, so emotional, that we’d rather forget. A great example and inspiration of mine is “First Cousin Once Removed”(2012) by Alan Berliner. The film follows a poet as his Alzheimer’s progresses(check it out!).
So, what is true?
Truth is the unachievable goal of documentarians and journalists. By simply being human, attaining truth is impossible. We are not omniscient and omnipresent gods. We are influenced and we have assumptions. All we can do is resist being human, and become the “fly on the wall.” I believe truth is best described by Werner Herzog’s Ecstatic Truth: “There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.”
I’ve heard that movies are the closest things we have to achieving waking dreams. I believe video is also the closest things we have to memories. Fragmented memories are sometimes even recalled through our dreams. When making my film, “American Boy”, the photos and videos that I showed my great-grandpa sparked certain memories. As if these dormant moments were once again reawakened. While filming, I also looked back at VHS footage of my own life that created memories for me. The first time I saw my baby sister. I have always remembered that moment, but how much of what I remembered is actually remembering back to the VHS footage of that moment. Does it even matter? Does the presence of the camera lens matter or the VHS footage being the perspective of my dad warp these memories? Are cameras better at capturing and storing these moments than our mind?
These questions and fascinations are what motivate me and inspire the core of all my work. Trying to answer and learn about these things are what led me to pursue documentary filmmaking and journalism.
Many of my films focus on family, especially learning about my own. I like incorporating myself into my work and self reflecting within my work. I’m required to constantly be referring to biases and “truth” for my job.
The creators that have explored the complexities of the human condition I’m interested in and have most impacted me and my work are: Andrew Callahan, John Wilson, Hunter S. Thompson, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Nathan Fielder, Taji Ameen, The Maysles Brothers, and Abbas Kiarostami.
I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2022 with a B.F.A in Digital Media and Design with a concentration in Film/Video Production. I focused on Video Production and Mass Media Communication. I actively write, film, produce, and edit independently and freelance. I also write and produce as a News Producer at a station in Bakersfield, California. I’m from Connecticut and currently based out of California.
Thank you and I hope you enjoyed my thoughts. Please feel free to explore the rest of my site and check out my work.