|YOU SEE ME|
|Crew: ||Producers: Linda J. Brown, Rebecca Louisell - Screenwriters: Linda J. Brown |
Filmmaker Linda Brown's father embodied 1960s masculinity. But when a devastating stroke leaves him vulnerable and dependent, Linda decides to confront the silence surrounding his troubled and violent past. Drawing on home movies, family photos and interviews, she reveals secrets, uncovers lies, and discovers a redeeming treasure in a lost family video. The result is an engrossing journey about the danger of carrying unresolved grief to our graves. You See Me is a brave, inspiring and empowering film that documents the essence of the human condition and seeks to face the past with courage in order to change the future.
Linda Brown is a recipient of a Kodak Vision Award for cinematography, a Kodak Education Award and a Fulbright Scholar. She studied filmmaking at Temple University and cinematography at AFI. Her credits include Lucky Bastard, Sexual Tension, Trust Dance and American Beauties: In Pursuit of Art, which she also produced. Brown shot Walking to Waldheim with Doris Roberts and episodes of Showtimeís Women: Stories of Passion, plus various documentaries and music videos throughout her long career. Her documentary, Your Favorite, detailing her relationship with her father, won recognition at Athens International Film Festival and the American Film Festival. Brownís latest documentary, You See Me, received a USC Humanities Research Grant and has screened at numerous festivals including Dances With Films, DocUtah, Ojai, Thin Line, Richmond International, DOCfeed, and the Womenís Rights Film Festival in Korea. Linda has taught at AFI, Maine Media Workshops, City University of Hong Kong, Temple University, the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts and Multi-Media University in Malaysia. She is presently an Associate Professor at USCís School of Cinematic Arts and Head of the Cinematography track.
I set out to make a portrait of my father. However, a much bigger story emerged. You See Me is about my family dealing with trauma, loss and grief, as well as my own journey to rehabilitate the memory of my father and connect with my mother in a new and unexpected way.
As a child I spent a lot of time with my dad. We were buddies, always doing things together and yet I canít say I ever really understood him. I had the feeling he truly wanted to be more connected and engaged but his mood swings, anger and erratic behavior seemed to consume him. I attempted in an earlier documentary Your Favorite to figure out the reason, the cause for this disconnect. But as a young, fledgling filmmaker I lacked the maturity and experience needed to ask the difficult questions that would help me delve into his complex and troubled past. The film was the beginning of a lifelong quest. But one I put on hold.
Twenty years later, at age seventy-nine, and in failing health my father, Stanley suffered a debilitating stroke. I knew if I was ever to make sense of his life and our relationship, now was the time. My plan was to return to those difficult questions about his past while I documented his recovery. But the next few years were a whirlwind of dramatic life-changing events: the rapid mental and physical deterioration of my father, the heartbreaking circumstances of his death, the uncovering of long hidden family secrets, the discovery of a treasure trove of revealing video tapes and the unexpected bond that developed between me and my mother
During this journey I began to see my parents differently, separate from me, with their own stories, virtues and flaws. They were products of their own histories and parents, wrestling with their own demons, just like me.
They were the same parentís I had known before I began shooting, but seemed different. Now when I asked my mom in the film why she put up with the abuse, I heard a thoughtful, reasoned answer, not a weak excuse. When I felt angry with my dad for endlessly trying to get his motherís love, I realized I had been doing the same thing with him. Once I saw my parents as equals, allies I was able to empathize with them, because I saw myself in them.
My hope with You See Me is that audiences see their own family stories and relationships in it and they see the power of love and forgiveness to turn trauma and loss into a potent catalyst for change. Even though the film deals with illness and death, itís really about beginnings, hope, and how opportune things can happen when least expected.