Sunday, October 9, 2011
Fairytales Can Come True
This is a film about relationships and disability starring Frank Moore, who has been disabled since birth with cerebral palsy. It is a humorous, yet realistic look at how to establish relationships by changing negative self image. 1981.
("Fairytales Can Come True") "stayed in my mind far more persistently than I first expected, at least based on what the film-makers with millions of dollars at their disposal call 'production values' and 'professional polish'. What most of these high-priced pieces lack, of course, is substance and a genuinely different -- and deeply challenging -- point of view. Something to shake up, shatter, shame, inspire, perspire, ponder and play with long after the cassette gets rewound. Your films did that for me: they are definitely not easy to absorb, follow, or even 'enjoy' in the ordinary pop-culture sense. But you don't forget watching them, ever."
Scott Lankford, Foothill College.
FAIRYTALES CAN COME TRUE is my first movie and most "normal." Saying "first movie" is misleading. I had been reading HOW TO [write scripts, direct, edit film, etc ] books along with books on radical theater [I read all kinds of stuff] when I was a teenager, and wrote scripts that always had a role for me. But I was mainly a political radical back then [among other things]. But in the early seventies I wormed [I am good at worming!] into an intensive in-depth film course in Santa Fe. It was mainly for anthropologists to learn how to make 16mm field films! I pop up in the strangest places! But after the five month, five days a week, six hour a day course, I didn't have money to make film [and couldn't cut film, had to wait until video!]. So I went into performance art.
In the late seventies in San Francisco I was doing THE OUTRAGEOUS BEAUTY REVUE for three years at The Mabuhay gardens, a punk club. An independent producer approached me and offered to do a feature film based on the O. B. R. which I would come up with, star in, and direct [my directing was my primary condition of doing the film]. So I wrote a treatment. We spent a year doing the Hollywood thing, working with screen writers, going to Los Angeles to cast it, flying the actress up to rehearse, etc. But when the producer came back from Florida with the backer's money, he informed me I couldn't direct! So I walked!
So I came up with a totally different story, when I was panhandling in San Francisco I found a guy with a super eight camera and did FAIRYTALES for about $300! Then I enrolled in the San Francisco art institute Master's program in large part to transfer the film on to video so I could edit it myself.
I thought I was making a rough draft to show backers to get money to make the real movie. But it was picked up by a special ed distributor because it was the first film about how to develop a full relationship....rather than a boring explicit how to sex film. it was sexy, funny, dealing with real issues that everybody deals with but many crips think are special crip issues…and it was made by a crip! Crips loved it. But the film wasn’t selling. It turned out that the people who buy those films weren’t crips…but hospital administrators and the like, and parents of crips, etc….people, with the best intentions, but also with vested interest in keeping crips not functional. They felt the movie gave people “false hopes” [an interesting concept]! It didn’t matter to them that most of the people in the cast were in such relationships. “Well, that is a fluke…not real life!”
Once there was a guy in a psychology class at which I was lecturing. After the class, he invited me to do something at the adult drama class he was doing at the C.P. Center [really a daycare warehouse]. He warned me that they rarely respond. So Linda and I went there to show fairytales. When we got there, most of them were sitting there in a fog, heads bent. But my being with Linda started a low-level buzz! Then during the 30-minute film, they went through an amazing transformation. They sat up and got excited. And after the film, they wanted to talk. THESE PEOPLE RARELY TALKED! But that day they were saying things like: “my sister does not want me to date. She doesn’t want me to get hurt. But I want to risk it!” The teacher was excited about the breakthrough. He actually thought he was hired to make breakthroughs! He wanted me to come back. But a few days later he called me and told me the director of the center had banned me from the center because the crips had been harder to control because they had a whiff of possible freedom…the whiff labeled “false hopes”!
I think this captures the true dynamics of such institutions…but also of our society as a whole. Breakthroughs to new possibilities, freedom, human connection, etc. are relatively easy [surprisingly] to induce by art, etc. But such breakthroughs are threatening to the control of the powers…and hence censorship of all forms! Btw, the director of the center was himself a crip…and had been in my community/theater group.
Posted by Michael LaBash at 5:15 PM
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