Q1 2020

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31 S P R I N G Q 1 I S S U E U N I O N M A D E M y father 's parents were Ho- l o c a u s t s u r v i v o r s a n d m y m o t h e r 's p a r e n t s e s c a p e d the Japanese invasion of China during the second Sino -Japanese war. Sur- vival for my family did not only refer to the idea of staying alive, but also to the survival of my family's stories. Hol- idays consisted of long meals with lots of food and stories of daring, fortitude, and mysticism. M y fat h e r 's fat h e r wo u l d te l l my brother and me about his life as a bach- elor in Latvia, how he met his wife in the Riga ghetto during World War II, and about Nura, the woman who hid him from the Nazis. My grandfather would transport us to this world gone by with much remembered detail and a deep well of emotion. My mother's mother, escaped via an arranged marriage in Trinidad, where she raised four children on her own after her husband passed away. Conse- quently, the Mother Goose of many kids' bedtime stories was replaced with West Indian folklore. I would stay up at night dreaming of voodoo and the skinless ghost, Obeah. My introduction to film as a story- telling medium was through my dad. Growing up in New York City, we were lucky enough to live less than a mile from an independent cinema. Therefore, not only would we go see the latest block- buster, but my dad would try "to give us some culture" by taking us to a well-reviewed indie or foreign film. I wasn't sure what I w a n t e d t o d o f o r a living. But I was raised to believe that no matter what your profession, it was your responsibility to help others. Working i n f i l m d i d n ' t s e e m realistic; consequently, w h e n I w e n t o f f t o college, even though my university had a great film program (Go Wesleyan!), I studied psychology. After graduation, while searching for a "real job," I found myself assisting a documentary photographer and realized that nonfiction could be my means to make the world a better place. Through a friend, I got a job at HBO Sports in their d o c u m e n t a r i e s d e - partment. One of my responsibilities was digitizing VHS cas - settes from archives a n d co l l e c to rs, a n d logging the media for the editor to use. This is where I first got to see an editor work. I found the editor's role in refining the film, cut by cut, similar to the way stories in my family had been refined and perfected over the years. Changes might have seemed small in the moment but the effect on the story could be monumental. In 2012, I packed From Obeah to 'Black Panther' HOW MY FAMILY'S STORIES MADE ME WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD WITH FILM By Steve Pristin SEE PAGE 67 Steve Pristin

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