At NewFilmmakers LA earlier this month, I was honored to share the screen with director Ellie Wen's Single Mother Only Daughter, a lovingly-crafted portrait of her relationship with her mother. Stitching new connections between analog memories culled from her collection of home movies, diaries and childhood photographs, Wen traces the synchronous orbits of two lives circling closer together with age. As the film navigates through a collage of VHS footage chronicling birthday parties, ballet recitals and impromptu Mother/Daughter karaoke performances, their bond is strengthened by the film’s aural foundation; A recorded phone conversation between the two. Auspiciously, Wen's husband, Greg Katz began filming her end of the line one evening, capturing her moments of realization & revelation with their shared past that would’ve otherwise remained in the dark.
Naturally, I find a kinship with Wen's work, as much of my directorial efforts are traced along similar lines of connecting the past with the present, and the web of dreams/memories that form between its many points. Both my latest film, The Duel and Single Mother Only Daughter attempt to reconcile childhood mysteries with a waking adult life that refuses to shake them free, perhaps motivated by a duty to forgive or better understand their parents. Film is one of the rare art forms in that respect, as it grants the artist the tools to fold time in on itself to form new strength in re-examining the power of memories and the role they continue to play in shaping their lives. For Wen, Single Mother Only Daughter is a beautiful effort in striving for that new understanding.