Friday, April 13 at 3:30 PM
Saturday, April 14 at 8:30 PM
Shorts Block: Acts of Vulnerability
Frazier Bostic | Columbia, SC | 5 min
Genre: Student Film
Gwendolyn Pride Bostic, the filmmaker’s grandmother, has an extensive personal archive in her home of Chester, South Carolina. After Gwendolyn is diagnosed with dementia, a visit becomes an occasion for Frazier to explore this vast trove of belongings.
We asked our filmmakers some questions about them and their work. For further questions, join us at the designated post-screening Q+A!
1. What is your connection to the South?
I was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. Every summer my brother and I would spend some time in Chester, South Carolina under the care of my grandmother, Gwendolyn Pride Bostic. My family is deeply rooted in the Carolinas and goes back many generations.
2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
I was first inspired by the access to memory. Film can serve as a direct access to memory. Passages of Pride recollects memories, specifically my grandmother’s, which she will never be able to access due to her dementia. This film serves as a way for her to access the memories I had of her. Before filming I had never seen her in the hospital. I had never interacted with her knowing that she was diagnosed with dementia. So many things were going on in my life at the time and in that moment everything paused. My grandmother played a significant role in understanding my culture, my identity as a woman, and my Southerness. All the memories and possessions of her land, house, and town would soon be missing. That feeling was terrible because I couldn’t do anything about that. I couldn’t stop it. On that day we visited her, I could only observe. I felt that documenting my observations and her possessions was the best way I could preserve that moment. In addition to access of memory, I was also inspired by nostalgia. While filming I learned death, illness, and loss commands us to act. We’re summoned to begin whatever comes next. For my father that was cleaning up my grandmother’s land, renovating her house, sorting out her possessions and determining how to move forward. It was, and still is, a very daunting process. I knew her house would be empty—of all the memories that made her— and soon grandmother would be empty too. Empty of her sound mind and her own identity. I’m a very sentimental person and I was trying to hold on to everything. It takes some time for me to put the past on a shelf. It was so difficult to see everything fade away and pile up, almost like what was happening to her mentally was also being reflected in cleaning her property and sorting her things. I knew I capture this on film. In Passages of Pride grandma Gwen is still here, the hoarding mess piles are still here, and I’m still here with her too.
3. How did you start making films?
Back in high school, I was in a jazz and rock band with my friend Chloe. We wanted our friend Nicolette to join us and play bass. We never got too far doing that, but we met up once at Chloe’s house to rehearse. I proposed we make a film about being a jazz band instead. At home I discovered the Sundance channel and also that I had access to Criterion. Soon after I became obsessed with indie films and filmmaking in general. I wanted so badly to start shooting. I already had some experience behind the camera as a photographer. Wherever I was, I was shooting on my mom’s old film camera, a Canon AE-1. I started to creating small worlds in the subjects I was shooting. I was inspired to change mediums and use the skills I learned in film photography in filmmaking. I magically found a film camera at my local Goodwill and the rest fell into place. Later on I assigned them characters and I made my first short film, The Collection. It was terribly impromptu and I had no clue what I was doing. After shooting The Collection, I realized that I truly enjoyed directing, editing, and creating stories. I decided that I wanted to be an actual filmmaker.
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
When sorting through someone’s possessions privacy diminishes. And when you’re trying to understand someone who can’t speak for themselves all that someone is or was becomes all that they leave behind. You begin to find personal things and peculiar ‘no one’s supposed to find these’ types of things. I was with my brother and we stumbled upon a pile of those things. Immediately we rushed to get my mother. I filmed this discovery but that moment didn’t make it into the film out of respect for my grandmother. Still, it was quite revealing.
5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
This is the first Indie Grits I’m attending! I’m looking forward to everything. I’m excited to see the films, meet filmmakers, attendees, and feel all the creative energy!
6. Why should someone see your film? When your loved one can’t remember your name or your face it’s like you’ve been transported to the Twilight Zone. Passages of Pride is a transportation. It’s an opportunity to see that moment unfold and to witness the emotion as it comes. This film confronts the notion of memory being a fundamental part of human identity. It’s also a chance to celebrate the beautiful memory of my grandmother and to see the remarkable collection of her things.
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