My directorial vision stems directly from my upbringing. Growing up biracial in small town East Salinas, CA taught me how to have thick skin at a young age. I grew up always being one of the only. By that I mean one of the only girls in my big family, one of the only black kids at school, and one of the only queer kids - and my community reminded me of these regularly. In addition, there was little to no representation on the screen to help me through my journey of adolescence. It was not until I left my hometown did I start fully exploring my identity and finding my voice. It was then that I knew that my mission in life was to help, however I can, the people growing up in similar worlds. My goal for this film is to create an experience for people who feel at times unheard or unseen. I want to create a project to connect to - to feel a part of a community. I want to make a film to show that we are not monolithic. Although connected through the shared black experience, we are extremely diverse as a people. I Can Do Anything: A Letter to Burning Man is a film that I wish I had when I was younger. A film that shows a fearless black body leading a movement of POCs to freely exist in "white spaces." A film that shows that we too have access to the privilege to just be. To exist without the burden of always being identified as "theother." A film that shows our strength & creativity. A film that I am honored to be a part of.
Smitty does such a great job with this letter. I was introduced to him early on before I even got to Burning Man. I got a chance to read his letter and it spoke to me — I loved how raw it was and how real he is inside and outside. His vibe, his voice, his personality was the perfect match to layer on top of the visuals. I wanted to not only show Black Burners and their experience at Burning Man, but show where they come from and why Burning Man is so important to them.
I chose to take an observational approach to the black experience at Burning Man. This means I took a step back and allowed the cast to be fully present in themselves. I aimed to capture the ups and downs - the true essence of what it means to be a Black Burner without interruption or too much explanation. With traces of poetic style filmmaking I weaved together rhythmic visuals and these different storylines in hopes to invoke a stronger emotional experience for the audience. I want the audience to feel like they are there with us.
I shot the event of Burning Man on Super 8mm film. This will not only give us the separation between the world of Burning Man & the default world, but it will also give us the space we need to recreate the nostalgic & magical feeling Burning Man gives off. Here we will practice nonverbal filmmaking. This portion will feel more like guided meditation.
Read my interview with Burning Man here: The Burning Man Journal Article