Behold the preview for The Windmill Movie - a sort of hybrid documentary/feature portrait of a conflicted artist (is there any other variety?), pieced together by a man who is also sort of a hybrid: tie-maker/budding (now budded) filmmaker Alexander Olch (his name is linked to an interview with the Boston Globe).
The crux of the movie seems to be about telling "the story," and telling it successfully - without really having a clear vision of what "the story" is. It's a storyteller's perpetual conundrum: how do I tell "the story" the real story, when its form is vague and hazy and elusive. This can feel a daunting impossibility - though you have a haunting sense that "the story" is nonetheless there and tugging at your soul to do it justice.
As a TV news reporter, I was regularly ramrodded by impossible stories that wanted telling. I would arrive on the scene of some "newsy" event, and feel, quite certainly, that there was nothing particularly meaningful about the house fire or the flu outbreak, but rather, the "real stories" were sliding around the periphery like shadows in a gyroscope. Feature pieces too - those spotlights on humanitarian workers and dog carers - seemed a sham. What appeared heartwarmingly straightforward always coursed with a more beguiling message bubbling just underneath the obvious song-and-dance.
It was a constant struggle, since while it was simple enough to capture the cardboard scene, and to report back the rehearsed answers, what I wanted to do was hone in on the heartbeat - reveal whatever it was that animated everything else. The story of life, seemed to me, the tale that was screaming to be told.
My news days are long past now. I've become a free storytelling agent. So when stories beckon me with shadowy hands and say "do me justice," I have nobody to answer to but me. Hence, why I've posted a lot about documentaries lately. It's what's on the brain, you see. I look to others who have gone before and struggled and ask:
How did they do it?
How did they do it?
How can I do it?
Can I do it..?