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Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #18: Rachel Leah Jones, “Gypsy Davy”

Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #18: Rachel Leah Jones, "Gypsy Davy"

“Gypsy Davy,” the first feature documentary from director Rachel Leah Jones, will be presented in Sundance’s World Dramatic Competition.

What’s it about? A white-boy with Alabama roots becomes a Flamenco guitarist in Andalucian boots and fathers five children to five different women along the way.

Director Rachel Leah Jones says: “I was born in Berkeley, CA and raised in Tel Aviv and my life has straddled the two places ever since. I wanted to be a lawyer, at heart I’m an activist, and I ended up a filmmaker. Go figure. I also wanted to be a photographer, but ended up adding so many words to the pictures, at first in captions and then inside the prints, that I segued into film (had I been a lawyer I’d probably be a maniacal exhibitor of evidence and artifact). Image, word, sound, music—they just go so nicely together, and putting them together can be so nice. And narratives and the politics of representation and… that’s what making movies is about for me: creating meaning and asserting it and getting people to think and feel; never film for film’s sake, always in the interest of an agenda, usually subjective, always collective.

“With every film, it’s more or less the same two challenges: Raising enough money to make it, without devoting every last bit of creative energy to fundraising instead of filmmaking, and letting the outtakes go. A producer-turned-friend once told me: “You’re not getting ready for a birth, you’re getting ready for a funeral. The finished film is the tombstone of rushes.”

“Some scenes, as much as you love them, just don’t serve the narrative. Sometimes you need to cut out something great and leave something mediocre because it helps the larger whole. Less is more. This is hard to accept, but hardest of all is the transition – and here the birth metaphor does fit – from the fantasy to the reality, which is the film it will be, as opposed to all the intangible yet perfect films running through your head.”

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