In Progress artist since 1999. Programming Director at Asian Media Access and Independent Feature Filmmaker.
1. Considering all your experience with In Progress, what is one achievement that you personally are most proud of? Why is this achievement important to you? What does it represent?: I have been able to complete TWO feature length films because of In Progress. These two films represent the pivotal moment in my career whether or not to continue as a filmmaker or to pursue other endeavors. In Progress demonstrated to me that if I loved what I was doing, and I fought for it, there will be people who will fight alongside me; that I wasn't alone in my struggles as a filmmaker. This was important because I took that as a life lesson, to be resourceful and to find those who will support your dreams.
2. What did it take for us at In Progress to achieve this accomplishment? What strengths do we have that helped us succeed?: In Progress was the family support I NEEDED when my family did not support me. They opened their doors for me to come in anytime, night or day, and stay as long as I needed in order to finish my films. Film and video production is a very expensive media and coming from a poor family, I did not have the funds to purchase the equipment I needed, so In Progress lent me and many other artists the equipment, space and technology to create our artwork. In Progress's greatest strength, is truly simply love and support. When we are treated there with love and care, and are given support, we aren't afraid to shoot for the moon.
3. What do you think makes In Progress unique? What 2-3 things are at our very core that make us stand out from other arts programs or youth development programs?: I have worked with many youth development and arts programs... I have even headed many of these myself, but the one thing I cannot achieve that I received from In Progress was their ability to get their young people to commit and produce such beautiful personal work. Their students produce work that speaks from the heart and addresses the world. I just don't know how they teach their youth to do that.
4. As you think about In Progress, what do you value most? What keeps you engaged here?: I value the opportunities that In progress gave me to see the world outside of my neighborhood. When that happened, it allowed me to think bigger, dream bigger, understand that there is much more out there beyond my window than what I see in front of me... The trips to northern Minnesota and North Dakota, film festivals, Chicago, Grand Marais, Grand Portage, seeing the reflection of moon on Lake Superior and the pink sunset over Lake Michigan, being outside in the darkness of night without city lights for the first time and feeling the connection to the universe... Those are the things that I valued the most from In progress. If for some reason I can't be a filmmaker anymore, or produce art anymore, I would still value those memories because they instilled in me the essence of what it is to be an artist, they gave me the gift of the art of living and that is something I hope everyone gets to experience one day.