About two and a half years ago we had just arrived home from our ten day Icelandic adventure. I was sorting through a mountain of photos. I was pondering from a very unspectacular desk in the middle of my office in a concrete-locked city about how to top that vacation to the remotest heart of the world. And I was poking through the internet trying to grasp onto something to keep those memories strong just a little longer. A this same time I was still naively optimistic about Kickstarter… and rummaging through that site I came across a coincidence.
It was a film project that was seeking some crowdfunding: Bokeh, an independent feature film, a science fiction film, filmed entirely in Iceland just months prior to our visit there, and it was trying to get a bit of cash together to get it all edited and distributed.
I contributed my small bit and promptly forgot about it.
Well, I say I forgot, but in reality every couple of months a humble little update from the directors would drop into my email (and presumably the email of my 609 fellow Kickstarter backers, too.) Their estimated timelines, it seemed, fell into the category of “naively optimistic” as well.
“After nearly five months of staring at frame after frame after frame, we’ve finished editing Bokeh.”
or, “We recently held our first test screening of Bokeh in Philadelphia.”
or, “We are showing Bokeh to potential distributors at the end of the month.”
These mini-essay updates trickled to me over the last two and a half years. I didn’t complain that they never really included the downloadable movie that I had been promised as my backer “reward.” Film editing is not my world, but I’ll admit to having a tangential interest in it, so the updates were somehow just as good as getting a movie. For me, at least. In honesty, I paid my very small backing fee and was more than compensated by the meta-story that appeared in my inbox over the next two and a half years: the trial and tribulations of turning an independently filmed and edited movie into a feature release.
In the meantime two and a half years strolled by and Iceland had turned into this distant long-past vacation in the chambers of my memory. So, it was a wonderful, nostalgic reminder of an amazing trip when the download code for the film finally did appear in my email last Friday.
On Saturday, we downloaded and watched Bokeh after Claire went to bed.
It is a science fiction story about a couple who wake up one morning of their Icelandic vacation to discover that everyone but them has disappeared. A clever film. A film that speaks to it’s own kind of naive optimism versus the universe. A film that challenges raging hope against blind faith, pits fierce independence against following strict rules. A film about loneliness and isolation and the effects that can have on the mind and soul.
I enjoyed it, even if it took me a couple days of pondering to get it… if only enough to write this.
That said, I don’t think watching Bokeh changed my understanding of the world in any profound way, even though it was a beautiful and heartfelt attempt to do just that. It wasn’t great but it was ok… good, even and since I’m no film critic so take that for what it was worth.
On the other hand, contributing a few bucks two and a half years ago did change something in me, even if it was just a small tweak to something inside. I did so little yet gained so much more than my small donation. A glimpse into a process, a story about a story, and a reminder of a place that did leave a pretty big mark on my memory after all.
In the end I guess my naive optimism paid off.