Screening on Sunday, September 15th from 1-2:15pm is the documentary ‘Three Women.’
The film is a compelling portrait of three creative, contemporary African-American women friends from the South Side of Chicago. ‘Three Women’ explores their current creative pursuits, interspersed with their perspectives on growing up in segregated communities and how racism affected their families.
We asked director Anthony Rizzo some questions about the film and his take on filmmaking in general. Below are his responses.
Director – Anthony Rizzo
What first drew you to pursue making this specific film project?
Linda Tate, the producer of Three Women, approached me to create a film detailing the artistic and personal legacies of herself and her two friends, Gail Parrish and Beth Watson. After recording their conversation together, deeper storylines revealed themselves that we didn’t expect to come out. This shaped our direction and motivation until the end of production.
What is your favorite part of the filmmaking process and why? Any examples or stories about this from your project screening at the 2019 MWFF?
I love finding spontaneous storytelling solutions, particularly in the directorial process. Examples from Three Women are the scenes where the women are walking along the streets of Chicago’s South Side together. The original plan was to end on the cupcake scene, which made a lot of sense on paper. However, after we shaped this story, which spanned multiple generations who experienced a variety of changes in the social and racial landscape of Chicago and the USA, I needed something that could tie all of that together. My idea was to record them walking together, with the backdrop of Chicago’s South Side and murals depicting African American history, as they spoke about the past, how things have changed, what hasn’t changed, and their hopes for the future. In my mind, this allowed me to finish the film.
What are some influences for you on this project and/or you as a filmmaker in general?
Cinéma Vérité and Direct Cinema have always been a driving force for me as in the films of John Cassavetes, Robert Gardner, the Maysles brothers, and the modern free-roaming camera style of Emmanuel Lubezki and Janusz Kamiński.
What is the best advice you ever received as a filmmaker or what would you like to tell a young filmmaker to help them?
My performance instructor, Mark Jeffrey, once told us, “People have already tried everything, but you haven’t.” To me, this meant that you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to simply be original and stand out, under the idea that everything has already been done and said. If you stay thoroughly true to yourself, you can tell or re-tell any story, and from your unique angle, it will be original by nature.
Let’s say you have a chance to screen one film (other than yours) for everyone in the world. What would it be and why?
The Shawshank Redemption. Transformation is one of the most important things to me, especially in storytelling. The transformative nature of this film is so deep, so complete that it is a gold standard for me, and I feel it every time I see the film. I want everyone to feel that, too.
You can see ‘Three Women’ on Sunday, September 15th at 1pm at the Nordlof Center. To attend, please visit our EventBrite ticket page.
TRT: 72 minutes