Andrew Rudd, in conjunction with Blind/Sighted: The Perceptions Project, made this film about Bea Shaheen McPherson and her life in Canton, Ohio.
Artist's Interview with Andrew Rudd
Why is this story important for our community?
Bea's story is a quintessentially American story. It's got a rags-to-riches theme, it includes a war story, a love story, a story about equal opportunity for someone of Arabic descent, a story about equal opportunity for a woman. It's a story about loss and recovery. But better than all of those tropes that we constantly consider in our national consciousness, Bea lived them out in her own particular ways right here in Canton, Ohio. I loved learning about the particular ways that a person made her way in the world *here* during most of this past century.
How did you choose your subject for the film?
Since Bea was a part of the Perceptions Project, I didn't choose her, but as with all of the folks involved with this proejct, I still had to settle on a way of seeing her and the stories that she told. The bit of her narrative that called to me right away was the part where she, very matter-of-factly and with great honesty, talked about the loneliness in her life. Given what a rich, full, active life she has led, I knew that the subject of the film was finding a way to connect to that tension embedded in the Golden Years: the richness and the disappearance of our memories.
What was the most challenging part of making this film?
Finding a way to do justice both to the VASTNESS of Bea's memories and stories *&* finding a way to include her wonderful archive of memories.
What was the most enjoyable part of making this film?
There are four things I love almost more than anything else in the world: listening to great storytellers, archiving memory and experience, collaborating with good people, and making art with others. Having the chance to spend so much time listening to Bea's experience and examining her vast archives was one thing I got to do with this film. The other very enjoyable thing that I got to do was collaborate with my friend Jack Ballard who scored and performed a score that not only made my visuals work much better, but also felt as it if it had been harvested directly from my subconscious.
Are you working on any future projects at the moment?
I always have seven different projects on the back burner. I've been developing a micro-documentary with my friend Mark for the last seven years, though and now we're actually in the production phase of it. I can't wait to see that piece come together. It will be coming to reelate eventually, too.