A Small World Moment

*snaps* Deep, man... deep *snaps*

*snaps* Deep, man… deep *snaps*

I arrived early for today’s screening of the fine cuts of our current film project.

Unlike dailies and earlier cuts of the film, which are screened for the entire class for maximum audience feedback, the fine cuts are typically screened in individual groups before select faculty and student assistants. On the plus side, this means that we only have to set aside thirty minutes for review and could spend the rest of the morning editing if we needed to. On the minus side, for someone like me who would rather arrive early than late, it means sitting outside the classroom waiting for our review time-slot to come.

Whilst sitting in the waiting area I couldn’t help but notice a large stack of programs left over from a Polish Film Festival that was evidently in the process of being discarded. The festival had already occurred in October of 2013. The cover showed a stork made out of film canisters. I found this faintly intriguing, as it reminded me of my study-abroad trip to the easternmost province of France (Alsace, in case your geography is rusty) where “cigognes” are considered the emblem of Strasbourg (the region’s capital city).

I resisted the urge to pick up the program for a long time. What did I know about Polish film? Nothing. But the stork thing seemed kind of clever. The time for our screening came and went with no indication that the group before us was finished. At last I gave in and picked up the program just to have something to keep my hands and eyes busy. The lists of Polish names made me nostalgic for Chicago: they reminded me of teachers in my schooling years, or friends from the suburbs, or clients from my years at the commercial art studio. They all looked like the names of people I might have known.

As a matter of fact, my eyes fell upon one name that did look familiar: Kacper Skowron. He was listed as a guest on one of the days of screenings towards the middle of the week. No other details were provided: I couldn’t tell what film he had worked on or why he was specially listed as a guest for that day.  But I recognized the name because it was the name of a gaffer who had helped me on my very first “official” film production back in 2007.

I wanted to take this discovery with a grain of salt. It had been years since I’d last heard from or spoken to the Kacper Skowron that I’d worked with. He was a cinematographer and, as far as I had seen, he did good work so it seemed likely that he might still be making films and that they might be getting into festivals.  But I didn’t want to assume either: perhaps Kacper Skowron was a common Polish name like “John Smith”.

Flipping through the program I scanned the pages for his name, hoping for a bio or a listing of credits to give me some indication of whether or not this was the Kacper Skowron that I’d worked with. Towards the end of the book I found a short bio and photo beneath a listing for a film called “Pill Girl”. Sure enough: a cinematographer from Chicago who had gone to Columbia College for film.

The odds that I would happen to pick up a program for a film festival that was over six months ago to discover a collaborator that I’d worked with six years ago seemed so remote as to be serendipitous. If nothing else it certainly served as emphasis about how small the world of filmmakers is and how important it is to build good relationships with everybody you work with, no matter how early it may be in your career. While you are out pursuing your dream other people are out pursuing theirs and you never know when you might find out how parallel your paths are.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 27, 2014.

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