Jane Campion, the maker of films like The Piano, Holy Smoke, Sweetie, Portrait of a Lady, is the Jury Chairperson of the MAMI festival.
It makes me ECSTATIC because she is one of my top fav’ filmmakers! My post graduation entrance exam asked for an essay on a filmmaker’s work and I wrote about her film ‘The Piano’ 🙂
In 2006, at the International Film festival of India in Goa- she was screening Holy Smoke. Meeting her there is one moment I will always cherish. Dressed in a simple skirt with two pigtails and the warmest smile that reached out to you just like her films. I was in complete awe of her and just managed to mumble something like “I love your films!” As we spoke more, she asked me a question I will never forget.
At that stage I was beginning to make my first feature – and when I shared this with her she asked me “Have you prepared yourself?” Surprised that she was curious, I promptly rattled off that half the money was in place, the script was int he 8th draft, the casting was happening etc. Gently, she interrupted me and said – “no… I mean have you prepared yourself?” I stared at her not understanding what she meant.
She smiled, shook her head and put her hand on my shoulder. As we walked to her screening, she explained how I would be investing myself in this film more than anything else… and that I needed to prepare myself for that… to keep my energies strong and positive and creative in order to last the journey and make it a good one. She admitted that many, including herself, made the mistake of obsessing about the external things – and ignoring the internal things/themselves in the whole filmmaking process; when actually one is the most important instrument and so one should nurture and preserve one’s physical, emotional and mental being. She urged me to think about it and find the space and peace to think, to ideate and to create.
When she said “I find it takes atleast four hours of mindspace- of doing nothing- for a fresh idea to emerge”, I was intrigued and confused. But those were words of experience from someone who had lived through it. As I went through the experience I realised the value in her words. It is among the best advice I have ever received.
In those few moments, she taught me something I recall everyday. So for her films and for the wisdom she shared – I adore Jane Campion!
P.S.: Btw, MAMI has an all-woman Jury this time!