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Organizers of the Filmic Wild: Living the Story to Make the Story Organizers of the Filmic Wild: Living the Story to Make the Story

Organizers of the Filmic Wild: Living the Story to Make the Story

April 29, 2013

Why then, can’t one use community organizing for the sake of art? Isn’t one goal of art, in its reception, to illuminate a truth that feels resonant with a wide-reaching group of humans, no matter where specifically each comes from? So then why not find that common bond in the process of that art’s creation? 

The “community” in community filmmaking doesn’t merely refer to the insular circle of the crew; it also refer to the actual area you’re making your temporary home, so frequently forgotten in the chaos of a film production. In our first trips to the bayou, we were less location scouters snapping photos and leaving, and more casual visitors, slowly and organically getting to know the people through celebration, conversation, and more than a few beers. Needless to say the film is inspired by their spirit, but once they came to understand our vision, they were trading in our currency of passion as well. Many in Terrebonne Parish gave their time, energy, boats, and animals because the film was special to them.

In casting the film with entirely people local to Southern Louisiana, the first thing we would ask an auditioner is that he or she tell us a little about themselves -- who they are, where they come from, what they do. In other words, share your story. Step 1. This was ten times more important to us than if they could read lines off a script. 

Stories connect us, get us to empathize, and experience our common humanity. That’s very powerful, and power can create change. But it’s also the stuff of art. 


A founding member of New Orleans' Court 13, Michael Gottwald has been a producer, field organizer, new media director, occasional freelance writer, and everlasting film dork. His past work includes "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Benh Zeitlin) and "Tchoupitoulas" (the Ross Brothers), also a music video for Big Freedia, and he is currently producing "Ping Pong Summer" (Michael Tully), and "Western" (the Ross Brothers). He is currently a fellow at NYU's Cinema Research Institute, where he is studying how grassroots political campaign tactics can be used in the self-distribution of film.

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Organizers of the Filmic Wild: Living the Story to Make the Story