Thank GOD this week is over. Somehow, I always learn these lessons about how much I can handle, but when the opportunities arise to avoid these situations, I still take on everything. It's a bad bad workaholic trait which I absolutely blame on my father and his side of the family. Cause, you know, genetics -- and it's easier.
So today is the last Gothamist interview that I have to worry about during the film festival. Our next week won't be until my second week of unemployment (shudder!). Today's interview was one of my favorite to do this week, but it was also the hardest. I found myself finishing it late last night -- let's put it this way, I didn't go to bed until after the start of the Pope's funeral!
My girlfriend works at a public high school in Manhattan, and a few months ago she became involved with something called "WET's Risk-Taker's Film Series," a screening and discussion series for adolescent girls from all over New York City. My girlfriend is one of the mentors who lead the smaller post-film group discussions, and she suggested to me a few months ago talking to the women who run the thing. WET is an acronym for "Women's Expressive Theater," a non-profit theater company started and run by Sasha Eden and Victoria Pettibone.
I had a great, long conversation with Sasha and Victoria last week, and found myself talking to two of the most enterprising and with it women I'd ever encountered. You know how sometimes people talk about this big plan or that great idea, the things they're going to do to rule their business or industries? Yet the whole time you just know they're blowing hot air? They sort of turn "ambitious" into a bad word. Well, that's not the case with Sasha and Victoria. Maybe it's because their ambitions come with a mission that goes beyond simply personal success. I don't know. The only thing I can say is that after hanging up the phone with them, I didn't feel like they were full of themselves: I just thought that these were two women who had some pretty major plans, and they had a good chance of succeeding at most of them.
In fact, our conversation went so long that at least half of it didn't make the posted interview. For example, all the plans I just mentioned above? Yeah, not in there. But it's actually somewhat remarkable. WET is a non-profit theater company dedicated to creating productions and working opportunities for women. But they also produce events and throw benefit parties. Plus they started this outreach program I meantioned, the "Risk-Takers Film Series" at which working members of the film industry come to speak about the film they show the teenage participants. (For example, Ally Sheedy came to a screening of High Art to talk about her experiences working (and not working) as an actress over the past two decades.) And then they're starting to develop projects for film and television with the goal of also having a full-fledged production company with multiple arms.
Anyway, the two of them are impressive. It's almost depressing how fucking impressive as I sit here complaining about my little film festival job and having to write some interviews at the same time for a web site. Big deal, right? Who needs more than four hours sleep in a day anyway? But then again, it's fun to play the martyr, and I guess that's part of my Jewish upbringing and family genetics as well.