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Showing posts from February, 2011

Behind the Chutes: Filmmaker Ann Lukacs On the Art of Storytelling

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I first met award-winning filmmaker Ann Lukacs in Gunnison, Colorado back in 2004 when I was speaking at a Writing the Rockies conference.  My topic, "Embracing Passion: In Our Stories and In Our Lives," seems to be a guiding motto for Ann, too. Last Tuesday, she was the keynote speaker at Dr. Ellie Greenberg's Feminist luncheon in Denver (Greenberg is the co-author of In Our Fifties: Men and Women Reinventing Their Lives and of A Time of Our Own: In Celebration of Women Over Sixty), where she shared with us her journey as a filmmaker, and her devotion to the story beneath the photos.

A few of Ann's professional credits as a cinematographer include Pirates of the Caribbean, The Bucket List, Honeysuckle Rose, Blues Brothers, and Coal Minor's Daughter.  Check out the New York Timesfor a list of movies featuring more of Ann's work behind the camera.

But the movie that seems closest to Ann's heart is the documentary Behind the Chutes.

"This is a projec…

The Moral Dilemma of My Mother's Mink: Earning Our Place in the World

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My mother’s mink stole and two fur collars, one sable, one white, have been hanging in the back of my closet since she died five years ago.  I remember how beautiful she looked to me as a child when she wore her mink—how the soft fur graced her bare sloping shoulders and showed off her own mother’s strand of pearls—how proud my father looked as he offered my mother his arm. The mink stole symbolized to my father his ability and desire to provide for my mother (not unlike what his grandfather must have felt when he dragged a deer back to his waiting wife). My grandmother never wore a mink stole, though.  She had been born in Indian Territory—the child of a laboring, mixed-blood family that logged for the railroad companies as they laid track from Arkansas and Kentucky and Oklahoma west to Washington.  Judging from old family photos, they ate a lot of deer meat—and rabbit.  Members of the weasel family, no doubt, provided food and fur and oil.  Families of old had far more intimate rela…