#DirectedbyWomen has teamed up with Heartland Film Festival to screen filmmaker Kate Green’s documentary short Not a Stranger in Indianapolis, IN on First Friday during the #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party. We had a chance to catch up with Kate to talk about the film and the powerful transformation that arises when we choose to be present with people we’ve thought of as strangers.
DBW: Kate, I can’t wait to share your documentary short Not a Stranger at Heartland Film’s First Friday screening on September 2nd. When Heartland invited me to program this screening as part of the #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party, I was looking for a film that would resonate with #DirectedbyWomen’s intent to build a deep culture of appreciation and would invite participants to feel more connected. Not a Stranger is just PERFECT for that. Thanks for giving us your blessing to share it in this way. What do you think is at the heart of Not a Stranger and what inspired you to create it?
KG: Thank you. I’m excited to share Not a Stranger with your audience!
As a filmmaker and storyteller I am naturally a curious person. When Colin started doing The Stranger Project in 2014, I immediately felt that there was something really interesting here going on that spoke to the human condition and the need we have to connect with others. I knew I wanted to do a documentary on what he was doing, but hadn’t quite figured out the ‘hook’ or how to tell the story. Then one day Colin and I were speaking on the phone and he told me that he was feeling a little low that day, however, once he had gone out to speak with his ‘stranger’, he knew he would feel better. It was like a light bulb went off and the pieces fell into place. Not a Stranger was to be a story about Colin and HIS journey in living with depression. It was certainly not a ‘cure’ for it but this is Colin’s story and how he navigated through some dark days by connecting with strangers.
DBW: Not a Stranger screened at Heartland Film Festival last fall. Were you able to attend the festival in person? What’s it been like to share the film with audiences?
KG: Unfortunately, I was in production on another project at the time and unable to make the festival. The audience however, at Heartland was so generous and kind with their feedback. We had a few people reach out to us through our Not A Stranger Facebook page and to Colin directly. It made us feel like we were there and part of the Heartland family!
DBW: Since making Not A Stranger have you notice any shifts in the
way you relate to people as you move through the world?
KG: Absolutely! I find I’m constantly reminding myself that you never really know what’s going on for that stranger that may have cut you off in traffic, or the homeless person asking for change, or the co-worker who is a little grumpy. Everyone has a story and there’s always so much more going on underneath what we see on the outside. I try my best to have patience with people more and try not to judge. The other way I feel I’ve changed is that I try to put my phone down more. I believe that technology is a wonderful tool to help us connect. However, that sense of connection can be somewhat false and can actually keep us quite isolated. So when I’m at a coffee shop or on the train I catch myself putting my phone down and looking around. Making eye contact with people. Smiling. Maybe talking to a stranger.
DBW: What are you currently working on? What’s engaging your
KG: I’ve got a couple of projects on the go right now. I recently received a BRAVOFactual grant to do another short documentary called ‘Melting Stars’, about the massive Sea Star die off on the West Coast of North America. I am also working on a documentary series for Force Four Entertainment in Vancouver called ‘Keeping Canada Safe’ that will air in the Spring 2017 on CBC.
DBW: The #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party invites film lovers everywhere to expand their awareness of women film directors and their work. Can you share about a few of the women film directors whose work really speaks to you? I’d particularly love to hear about women directors whose work may not have reached the mainstream.
KG: It’s hard to narrow down because there are a lot of talented female directors out there. But, in the Doc world, someone who has really inspired me is Ann Shin with her short work ‘My Enemy, My Brother’ and also her work in interactive docs such as ‘The Defector: Escape from North Korea’. In the scripted world, Vancouver director, Kathleen Hepburn who did a dramatic short called ‘Never Steady, Never Still’ which I saw at the Vancouver Short Film Festival and was blown away and I believe she’s in production for the feature. I think she’s definitely ‘one to watch’.
DBW: Kate, it’s so good to connect with you. Thanks for being part of the celebration.
KG: Thank you for having me and ‘Not a Stranger’. I hope your audience will go and meet someone new tonight and make a great connection. #notastranger.
If you’re in Indianapolis stop by Heartland Film in Fountain Square on Friday September 2, 2016 between 7 – 10 pm. Not a Stranger will be screening throughout the evening. Join us for the film screening, refreshments, and an opportunity to turn strangers into friends.