Every summer for the past 4 summers now, I’ve participated in the Jubilee Project Fellowship – a two-week mentorship program for aspiring filmmakers. Once as a Fellow, once as a team leader, twice as the director. It’s a great chance to gain technical experience, to grow as a filmmaker, to find your voice, and to meet new people.
But this program has always been about people for me. Never about films. I love seeing people open themselves up to each other, learning to trust one another. I love the tear-jerking laughter and the soul-baring heart to heart talks. I love the triumphs, the failures, the learning experiences, the teachable moments. The high highs, and the low lows. I love seeing people’s true selves – the beautiful parts, the broken parts, and the messy parts, because it reminds me that we are all imperfect, and that we are all human.
And each year after this experience, after everyone in the program goes their separate ways and back to their respective realities, I feel the same – a sense of both heaviness and emptiness. I wrestle with feelings of intense joy and yet immense sadness. Spending 14 consecutive sleepless nights with people and then facing the question, “When will I see them again? Will I ever see them again?” It knocks the wind out of me every single year.
This emotional rollercoaster is just one reason why I sometimes have a hard time genuinely opening up to people and letting people in. It’s one reason that I’m much more comfortable trying to keep up my “perfect” persona than taking a risk to love and be loved. But each year, when I am forced to let people in during these two weeks, I come out knowing it was worth it.
So to everyone I’ve ever met and worked with because of this program – thank you. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me. Thank you for loving me in ways I often don’t feel I deserve. Thank you for your small (and big) acts of kindness. Thank you for all the things you’ve taught me, in both your words and your actions. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journeys. Thank you for the laughs, thank you for the hugs, thank you for all the memories. Thank you for showing me that daring to let people in is indeed, worth it.
Two weeks is all it takes for 12 strangers to become family. For lives to be changed. To see the world in a new way. To grow attached to people, to genuinely love people, to go through the fire and come out victorious with people. Before this, I didn’t know this was possible… it feels like the Fellowship program has some sort of secret magic.
But maybe the magic isn’t much of a secret at all – maybe it’s just love.
I love you all, thank you for everything!