A little over a year ago, my wife Kylie and I went for a walk in the neighborhood behind our apartment complex. During the short walk, we came across three different houses flying Confederate flags. We were both surprised and a bit confused (especially since we were in Illinois).
I began wondering what reasons people have for flying them, as well as how they affect different people who see them. Since that walk, I've noticed them here and there on a pretty regular basis.
Though I’ve said little about it until now, this became the seed for my most recent short film. I wanted to explore our understanding of symbols, patriotism/tradition, identity, and this flag in specific . I felt a lot of conflict over this, as I think choosing a controversial topic can become exploitative; while this was months before the events of Charlottesville, I didn't want to use something like race relations as a means to gain traction, and I don’t want to use the tragedies of the current climate to give me an edge. That said, I’m deeply unsettled and don’t fully know how to best engage. If nothing else, working on this film has helped me have tons of conversations with many different people (and allowed me to meet some awesome new ones). I tried my best to honor the subject matter and am overall encouraged by how it is coming along, and hope that it helps some positive conversations take place.
If you’re interested in following progress on the short film, I’ll be posting updates here: https://www.facebook.com/CivilShortFilm/