“We only have 10 more minutes before you need to be at work and we haven’t even gotten to talk about your latest film!” I bemoaned. Packing up my things I said, “You know what? I’ll walk you there. We gotta keep talking…”
“What are some motifs you’ve found emerging again and again in your work?”
“I’m always interested in humanity and touch. Relationships and people. I think we’re fascinating, we’re crazy, we destroy each other but we can also love each other. In NYC we forget to look at each other on the street or give a smile, we’re all just running in life and then life is over. That’s it. But that cannot just be it. In this newest film I study patience.
I love bringing abstraction or surrealism to human behavior because sometimes the world is too heavy. Why not put a pink background on it? I want to bring people inside a different world.
I’m interested in taking risks on a daily basis. Even if it just means changing your route home. Little things like that matter.
I like connecting to my childhood and inner child. That part of me is so free, so how can I go back to that?
Some of my work includes nudity. I forget about it, I know its sexual because we connect nudity with sexual behavior… but I think how we come to earth is so beautiful. Can we try to break all these social constructs that make us wear a blue shirt because we’re men, and go back to how it starts? Ourselves nude and not knowing anything? I want to start those conversations. That’s why I use that pink color. I was never able to like it. So now I love this color that means “girl”. I’m a boy and it doesn’t matter.
“Where did the idea for your film come from?”
I started with this sentence “Are you holding me or am I holding myself”? and I asked myself what does this sentence mean to you?… It’s when you’re in a relationship and this other person is just there. “Are you holding me or am I holding myself” within this relationship.
From there I have found many other things — its not necessary romantic. It comes out at the work level or with a friendship. It happens whenever you’re fighting for something and they are just there. It’s worse than if they say, “no”.
My other activation was within myself. When you hold yourself — from going to places or positions because of fear or insecurity. We are always holding ourselves back from achieving our full potential as human beings.
“What was it like creating this film?”
“This was the first time I had someone else on camera, the amazing Angelo Vasta. That’s the great and terrible thing about me — I want to do everything. But for this one I knew I needed someone filming because I was performing it and needed to fulfill that performance.
I decided to study 3 different objects — a shovel, a balloon and a rope — and studied how I could hold myself with these three objects. I studied risk and holding. I wanted all three actions to be new. I wanted to be honest with myself, only do them once and that’s it. They were risky and took lots of effort. I dug a hole for 3 hours having never dug a hole in my life! Sometimes in dance, we repeat so much that we forget how to learn from it.”
“What did this film mean to you?”
“This film was therapy.”
“I dig this hole. It’s a self-protective place but it’s also a grave. It’s this place you dug yourself into to protect yourself but then it’s the place that makes you stuck. Then it’s about rebirth. How you emerge and come alive again. So it has a lot of different meanings.
One of my realizations with this film was that it didn’t matter how much risk I was taking, how much I was holding myself with these objects…. at the end of the day I just wanted to be held by someone. I think that’s something that we all experience. At the end of the day we all just want to be with people that love us.”
I’m so thankful for the amazing team that helped me bring this vision/baby to life.
Angelo Vasta was the cinematographer, Jordan Chiolis created original music for the film, Winnie Cheung helped me with the coloring of the film as well with the application process. My assistant director and best friend who is always there for me, Sebastian Abarbanell, and my other 2 close friends Kyreed Jordan & Connor Speetjeens who are actually part of the film.