• Ngaio Simmons

Persistence

The phrase ‘time flies’ seems apt for this moment. It feels like only a few months ago we had our Reel Camps going at full speed ahead in Ka Waiwai, Church of the Crossroads, and La Pietra, one after the other. Writing, blocking, filming, editing, screening. Repeat. It was a whirlwind and then it all came to a halt as the season was over. Wrapped up our equipment and returned home to plan for the next series.

Then Omicron hit. While Delta was no joke, Omicron shocked the world, particularly the United States, back into the mindset it should have maintained this entire time: oh yeah, we’re in a pandemic. We were reminded once again of the brute strength of capitalism, greed, and western exceptionalism and how the powers that be and privilege will literally work people into a whole new virus variant. The most marginalized in our communities had to once again re-arrange and re-configure ways to be in community, co-create, and continue building a better world in the safest ways possible. It was already hard pre-pandemic and everyday since has continued on with the same energy, just with more restrictions and last minute changes.


We adapt though, don’t we? All of us who are committed to this work of imagination, world-building, dismantling, and decolonizing the mind. The only thing that is new in this is the attempt to understand and live despite this invisible enemy (COVID), but we have dealt with literal and societal viruses before. It is not easy work but we find ways to push through and keep the movement(s) flowing. We sanitize, wipe down the workstations and laptops, temperature check, PPE it up, and maintain social distancing. We do what we can to ensure creation never stops.


Our first in-person session of 2022. We are at Ka Waiwai again. It feels fitting to be here for our first in-person; in a space where ideas, images, and questions can actually circle around and flow the way they are supposed to after months of rigidity and the compression that is most peoples’ square, four wall houses.

The day moves swiftly this time around, however, and it feels as if the participants have been waiting for this day to come through for a little while now. I could be wrong. I sit in my little seat at my little desk doing my little owl perch and don’t always get to hear everything everyone is saying (that’s also because no one needs someone hovering as they brainstorm). So this could just be what I think is happening. But I did see everyone very excited when the time came around to start thinking about the beginnings of a story. The chatter in the air that sprang up during the camera and audio portion of the day was turned up to eleven once story brainstorm time came around. It seems like everyone came to the space with something on their minds, some image, sound, sentence, or experience that they feel needs to be shown on the big screen; a story they know needs to be told.


I can only imagine what awesome films we have brewing in this space and I can’t wait to see the progression.