On behalf of homemade movies...
on August 5, 2017
Despite Eddie Murphy’s classic critique of the homemade hamburger (“That don’t look like no McDonald’s!”), “homemade” often refers to something that is not only made at home, but also made by hand, with love, especially for you. That spirit animates LOVE IS A SENSATION.
I loved Ms. L.V. She was devout and bawdy; funny and fun to be around. I was afraid of her when I was a child. People said she practiced voodoo.
But her home mesmerized me. It was a wonderland, crafted from discarded shoes, toys, and other items that she transformed using paint and glue from Walmart. Then, one day, she gave me and my cousins freeze pops, and my whole attitude toward her changed.
Once I reached adulthood, her unapologetic pursuit of her full creative powers inspired me as I made the transition from accountant to lawyer to screenwriter. In 2001, I learned that her health was failing. LOVE IS A SENSATION was borne of a simple impulse in that moment:
To record someone I cared about while she was still on this earth.
I grabbed my camcorder and traveled from California to Mississippi to film her. Fortunately, she survived seven more years. I recorded her off-and-on during that time, but I didn’t imagine that these recordings would be the primary footage for the film.
I thought I might create a traditional documentary at some point with better equipment. However, I noticed that recording by myself with my small and unimposing (if outdated) home video camera yielded a naturalness and intimacy that would not have been possible if I worked with a crew of outsiders, set up lights, or miked L.V. for sound. As a result, instead of an impersonal outside-in examination, I hope LOVE IS A SENSATION serves as an inside-out invitation. L.V. welcomes us all, allowing us to join her in her unique yet universal quest to love, be loved, and share her God-given talents with the world.
The questions that arise during her journey reflect the questions many of us face as we pursue a dream or attempt to share our talents: Am I talented enough? Will I be rejected? How do I cope with tragedies and dark days? Do I need validation from other people? How do I handle resistance from friends or family? Am I worthy of love, even if I fail?
Based on the uncompromising home that L.V. made, she did not let those questions stifle her spirit. She is no longer with us, but a homemade movie seems like a fitting way to continue sharing her spirit with the world.