I've said it before in public, I'll say it bloggily for the whole world to know: I am very lucky to have insanely talented friends.
Going on 13 is a documentary my long-time friends Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Dawn Valadez have been working on for something like 7-8 years. It's finally done and getting several screenings locally at the end of the month at the doc's official World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival (more on that soon).
The doc, about the crucial changes four brown girls in NoCal go through between the ages of 9 and 13, is tender, empathetic and pulls no punches.
Among its charms, it presents a possible strategy for dealing with the obligations that we storytellers have to our subjects (something Sleep Dealer made me think about a lot): give your subjects say in the story, and always feature them in all materials apart from what the storytellers have to say about them. Ariana, Esmeralda, Isha and Rosie get to shoot video diaries and sometimes talk back to the filmmakers.
Kristy and Dawn (Dawn would say mostly Kristy) have set up a faboo website with info on the film, the girls, an installation representing the girls' rooms, and a blog. The blog currently features K&D's adventures at the Taiwan International Children’s TV and Film Festival (TICTFF), where they get to play with toys, hang with cool translators and eat glorious street food (girls after my own heart).
In the meantime, head downtown and into The Kitchen tonight at 7 pm for a reading linked to one of my favorite magazines, Bidoun. Three writers in the Spring/Summer issue talk about a triplet of telling objects. I'm heading down there to hear the always provocative Gary Dauphin talking about Eldridge Cleaver's pants. The event announcement promises "Magic tricks! Slide shows! A harrowing journey to the Cairo Agricultural Museum!" as well as a video by Ziad Antar. Fun for all.
[Still of Isha and dumplings pix via Going on 13; Naguib Mahfouz's white linen suit illustration via Bidoun]