UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: Guest post by filmmaker Danae Grandison

BIOGRAPHY

Born on the island of Jamaica, Danae Grandison grew up between two cities: Kingston and New York.  By the age 17, she was clear she wanted to be in the creative field and made her way to F.I.T. in New York to study Advertising and Graphic Design.  While she attended SVA for filmmaking, she made her first short film titled “Unconditional Love”. She discovered her new passion for Directing and creating motion art.

Photo courtesy of Danae Grandison

With a deep interest in the topic Love, she is currently preparing to direct a documentary on this topic. She wants to empower the world through Love. She says “if you let go, great things will happen in your absence” – namely love.

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I was encouraged by my pastor, Rev. George Anasis, to start researching schools for filmmaking last year. I never understood why until the class began. He knew this would be a new creative outlet I had to pursue! Filmmaking opened a new heartbeat within me; I suddenly felt alive again. I don’t know how to explain it.  Being from a creative background, already I have rediscovered surprises, uncertainty and freedom to create and then recreate, especially when editing. I hope to be one of the leading women in film and make real, impactful, universal, yet clear, conscious, thinking films like those made by women before me.  In order to get there, I continue on the learning curve.

"Unconditional Love" (Photo courtesy of Danae Grandison)

I opened this door to filmmaking knowing that I wanted to explore the concept of love on screen. I believe there is a deeper understanding to self loving in order to have a fulfilling life. I began with my first short film project which is titled “Unconditional Love,” a story that took a little deeper understanding to get to. I first believed Unconditional Love was only the love between two people. I began writing a love story between two people at first; I battled with “how can I be sure I can capture love between two strangers (actors) in a short space of time?”  I wanted to pour my own understanding of this feeling of love on the screen, so you can imagine in my thoughts I debated as to which two people as characters would translate this feeling best. Would the ideal pairing be two lovers, a mother and a child … what or whom? At some point I wrote a love story which began to reveal itself as a love affair, so I had to step back and really think about this message.  Then it all became clear to me that unconditional love is actually about the individual’s ability to first have unconditional love for oneself.  When one reaches that awareness they must be willing to move past an old identity, which is compact, with amazing yet painful memories. Let them go and embrace the evolution. It was such a liberating aha! moment, as I was going through the process of moving so I was truly emptying the bag ladies’ bags of past memories. Needless to say, it really helped with props and, of course, writing the unspoken language for a silent film.

"The Edge" (Photo courtesy of Danae Grandison)

The day of the shoot: We aimed to start at 9AM when the temperature reading would be at 86º before rising to an unbearable 100º+ by noon. I had a small crew and a talented actress by the name of Berrette Macaulay (now an aspiring photographer); I had her dig deep to a place she once reveled in — acting.  Needless to say, we had a late start, one too many retakes and people walking through the shots  I had one roll of 100ft film left with more to shoot. Panic!  I began editing on set as I visualised how I could make this work when you have the odds against you on a one-day shoot mixed with unbearable heat by midday. Thank goodness the short had to be from one to four minutes max.  We eventually wrapped up and walked away with a grace of hope. I made it to the editing room where I watched the story come together; I was excited despite it all. I found myself obsessed with this first film, playing it over and over and humbly sharing it with other viewers. When it’s all said and done, I believe there is still a clear message. I realised with the finish product in my hand that this was only the beginning. I want to do more, and go further with this possibility of learning more about love and addressing all the possible outcomes of experiencing love.

Follow me on vimeo to see how I continue to move forward with this topic. I am currently working on a new project – a documentary – which I am not yet ready to share details on, but stay tuned.

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To connect with the filmmaker and to learn more about her work, visit the following links:

Vimeo:  http://www.vimeo.com/kgn6

Twitter:  @kgn6

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