Below director Patrick Takaya Solomon shares a scene from his documentary “Finding Joe,” a film that delves into the studies of famed philosopher-mythologist Joseph Campbell. “Finding Joe” opens in limited release this Friday, September 30 through Balcony Releasing.
The clip here starts with Rev. Rebecca Armstrong making a very charged statement, especially if you’re father, which I am. Then we hear Tony Hawk describing how he came to discover his passion for skateboarding. It’s still odd to me that these two are in the same film and at the same time, it makes perfect sense. She is talking about the courage to stick to your own path, despite the expectations of those surrounding you. Tony, knowing nothing about Campbell, mythology or “the heroes journey”, is living proof that what she’s saying is true.
For me this film was about passing along what I had learned from reading Joseph Campbell’s work. Unfortunately that film was close to six hours long and after we cut it down to it’s current length of 80 minutes, we were left with the two most important ideas. Which are actually one: The Heroes Journey and “follow your bliss”. I wanted to show not only how those two things were related but I wanted to do it in a very personal way. It’s about you!
“Finding Joe” is also a reflection of my personal journey, both in the film making process and in life. I skate and I surf. Hence, Tony Hawk and Laird Hamilton. I don’t play golf so no Tiger Woods. The coolest thing about reading Campbell’s work was discovering that my life story is a reflection of every story ever told. If that’s true for me then it’s true for you.
The sequence of discovery, for me anyway, goes like this:
1. Reading Campbell is like getting a skeleton key to almost every story ever told.
2. What you discover is that they are all, more or less, telling the same story.
3. The stories being told are actually about you. They are the stories of your life! I know, crazy right?
Like a lot of people, I watched the Bill Moyers interview on PBS and was instantly hooked. However, as the years passed, and PBS played it every year, I kept thinking that the material was dated and nobody but us Campbell geeks would ever really care about it. So, one of the big goals I set for the film was to make it interesting even if you’ve never heard the name Joseph Campbell. I wanted to use symbols that anyone could understand even kids could understand. Also, I wanted to make the experience emotional. I wanted the audience to feel connected to every story ever told and every story that will ever be told.
If you allow for it, the power and magic in there will bring you to tears… good ones. The kind of tears you cry out of pure joy.