It is a well-known fact that movies, and this will also apply to documentary films, are not quite finished until we feel we’re done with the project, or we run out of money, whichever comes first. Seldom, we go into development, and start production on film that we don’t know will never get made. Personally, I can only recall a handful of such frustrating moments. One was a film about a writer in the jungles from which I was chase by mosquitos and red ants, another bared the work-in-progress title “The Village”.
“The Village” hoped to narrate two-hundred years since the creation of the Academic Village at the University of Virginia, a Thomas Jefferson’s major accomplishment, and perhaps one of which he was proud alongside the Declaration of Independence.
“The Village” never gather wind, nor financial support, and just before the project was about to drag me into serious financial hardship, I cowardly quieted to focus in more practical matters, and commissioned work, the sort of documentary films that I get hired to make. “The Village” soon became a closed chapter in my life as a producer, just another hard-drive and backup drive on a shelf. Today I mounted the disk on my computer and went surfing for some of the photos and footage harvested for “The Village” in the development phase. To my surprise I found pretty good stuff, images that made me think that, notwithstanding the difficulties, it was a good idea to begin with. Several images, taking on the same day, brought particularly good memories. In those pictures Lincoln appears next to his wife, the acclaimed writer Anne Beattie.
As part of my research, I met Lincoln Perry, the artist responsible for the mural at Old Cabell Hall which has been and remains the center of a ridiculous argument between the reasonable and the unreasonable. The mural, it seems, sparked the reaction of the PC Police which demanded, and still demands, the dismantling and destruction of the mural.
Fortunately for me, the mural still remains in place today. Whenever I get a chance, I come to Old Cabell Hall just to appreciate the stimulating representation of life at the University of Virginia by Lincoln Perry. I don’t believe I’ll go back to “The Village” anytime soon, but I do rejoice over the hundreds of hours film as part of the learning experience. The film, will always be somewhere in the back of my mind, alongside myself as I walk down The Lawn at the Academic Village.