Black Lives Matter – it is that simple. We could share a thousand stories and drawings and photos and videos. Please, listen to our black and brown friends and neighbors – please empathize. We offer our ears, our support and solidarity.
In these trying times, community is, as always, our foremost thought.
As I sit down for my fifth attempt to write to you, it is a positively beautiful Friday afternoon here in New York – clear, blue skies; birds orchestrating; flowers and buds emerging from slumber. You’d hardly think we were in the middle of a national emergency. And yet, here we are – quarantined for a fast-spreading pandemic that, this time at least, is receiving some government response. In fact, between this morning’s draft and this moment’s editing, I received notice that Congress has passed the CARES Act, offering real financial support for our colleagues, including unemployment insurance for the countless numbers of us who would not normally be eligible.
Here at Undiscovered Works, we are dedicated to keeping the stories going and staying connected with all of you. We’ve been busy navigating technology to bring you our monthly storytelling series and, this past week, we’ve been focused on… auditions! We managed to hold over 70 “live” auditions with actors who not only entertained us in these trying times, but who were an absolute inspiration in kindness. We would especially like to thank those who had to move things around based on their work in emergency rooms, paramedic teams, and other critical positions taking care of our neighbors.
I have stalled in sending this communication, in part, because I’ve been somewhat at a loss for what to say. We have had many conversations on our end about the importance of the arts to be a source of light and support, recalling what NYC’s entertainment industry was able to do for our collective spirit after the Sept. 11th attacks, but we find ourselves in a scenario more closely aligned with the days of The Plague as we’re wisely forced to socially distance ourselves.
We are watching our friends and colleagues, including some of Undiscovered Works own team members and presenting artists lose their livelihoods. Many of our non-profit partners and the city’s vibrant non-commercial theatres face uncertain futures. All of this is in the midst of people falling sick and even dying at alarming rates. We are humbled by our own sense of helplessness. BUT we must soldier on – that is what artists of every age have been asked to do and we are determined to do our part in continuing that tradition!
On Monday, April 11th, at 7:30pm (east coast), we will be virtually hosting our monthly event – details coming next week! This will, naturally, not be a paid-ticketed event, but we will share info. on how to support our friends and colleagues throughout the arts and hospitality industries.
Please know that you are in our thoughts – ’til we gather together once more, may you be healthy and well and able to lose yourself in stories of all kinds!
With much gratitude,
Leah and Team Undiscovered Works
March Films & Filmmakers
On March 10th, we gathered at Ryan’s Daughter for a pre-screening of Elan and Jonathan Bogarin’s 306 HOLLYWOOD, an official Sundance Selection now available on iTunes, along with Heather Pirnak’s animated short THE COLORS OF LIFE.
We followed the viewings with a discussion with Elan and Heather who both shared experiences of creating their films and answered thoughtful questions from our audience.
I was particularly struck by an inspiration shared by Heather Pirnak, the animator and director of the short film THE COLORS OF LIFE. She spoke about coming to New York as an artist and living on the lower east side and so she went to The Tenement Museum – one of my personal favorite places – and was inspired by what it must have been like to have come here during that time. The journey she created as a result is poetic and musical and perfectly captures the era and ever-changing city that sparked the film’s creation.
Elan shared a driving thought behind the evolution of 306 HOLLYWOOD that will always stay with me – she said they started from a place of the idea that the ordinary could be extraordinary, giving us a way to look at all of our histories. She also spoke of the inspiration of her Venezuelan roots, of magic being a part of the language and the culture – the same is absolutely true of this extraordinary film.
On Making Their Films:
It’s like driving at night with your lights on and you can only see just ahead of you where the lights shine and you just keep going knowing you’ll get there.Elan Bogarin
You take a chance – journey to a new place.Heather Pirnak