Sometimes something comes along which you never expect. Film Festivals have always been out there, as in I look at them from afar. The most famous one I know of is the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France. I also know the Toronto Film Festival mainly because living in Ontario you cannot avoid hearing about it. However never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be the subject of a short documentary film presented last week at the University of Windsor 2009 film Festival.
To make a long story short my niece Jocelyn Cuerden is just finishing up her fourth year studies in communication and film at the University Windsor. She is a wonderful young woman who has a passion for communications and film. She’s tremendously gifted at the wonderful things in life, which really matter. One of her greatest assets is her youth and her zest for life. So how she got mixed up with a crazy old fool like me I’ll never know.
Her film called “Advice Well Taken”, was entered in the documentary category at last week’s University of Windsor 2009 Film Festival. Your loyal scribe who at this time of year is always looking up in the heavens for raindrops, actually saw a few and that led me to the University of Windsor to be part of the film festival. However, when I traveled to Windsor I did not expect that Jocelyn’s documentary about me and my life would be part of the festival. I guess at this age I don’t quite catch everything.
Quite some time ago Jocelyn made mention to me that she may like to do a film with me regarding some of my accomplishments during my life. It’s interesting when you are involved in the game of life, working as hard as you can and focused like never before, somebody comes along and says they actually might be interested. Or in other words you are never looking for accolades, but when they come along it is kind of surprising and is very much appreciated. My life is no guiding light for anybody to copy, however I’ve always known there are 24 hours in a day and that means everybody starts at the same point. If you work hard in this society you can generally cover up the limitations you might have as a 100 m sprinter in the Olympic trials. In other words, there is never any substitute for excellence at any level. Working hard was always my answer every time I went around the corner in life.
I think Jocelyn found it interesting that this older guy seemed to try a lot of things and for whatever reason I wasn’t afraid of technology. Also too, I don’t think she had too many uncles who showed up in front of 10,000 people at the Parliament buildings to lead a protest or showed up at the University of Windsor to lecture fourth-year students on the vagaries of our geopolitical world. I suppose at times she looked at me as I was having too many pieces of cake at family gatherings and wondered at least for a few nanoseconds what I was really like. As a fourth-year film student the subject of a simple farmer in a complex world of fighting upstream and relying on a bedrock education to succeed held some interest. Needless to say over the period of the last few months Jocelyn and I have worked together bringing the film, “Advice Well Taken ” to reality.
This involved quite a bit of logistics between both of us. For instance Jocelyn found herself in the middle of my farmyard and out in the middle of my wheatfield during the last couple of months. I found myself back at the University of Windsor doing interviews about my life and the things that make it mildly interesting. Little did I know it would come together at the 2009 University of Windsor film Festival.
Clearly, I’m no Brad Pitt or Jamie Foxx. However, it is not everybody that gets to be the subject of a short documentary in a Film Festival in Canada. So as the audience sweltered in an early spring heat wave which in some way I thought was appropriate, kind of made out like we were on the French Riviera, yours truly was up on the silver screen.
The short documentary film, “Advice Well Taken” produced, directed and put together by my niece Jocelyn Cuerden is available on DVD and maybe even on YouTube in the future. It was a wonderful experience for me not only telling my life story but also seeing my niece put the finishing touches on her university career.
As the film festival drew to a close, Jocelyn who was master of ceremonies for the evening was inundated with family and friends congratulating her on a job well done. Off to the side I was approached by one of her professors who expressed deep gratitude to me for being part of this project. She went further and told me how intriguing she found the many different things that Jocelyn was able to feature in her documentary. She was quite thrilled and said something about the fact that I lead a fascinating life.
That was kind. You know I’m not quite Forrest Gump. Most everything that I have came the hard way. However I will say this about our friend Forrest. He said life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. The 2009 University of Windsor Film Festival found out last Friday night. That was another 15 minutes of fame for me. However for my niece Jocelyn, remember girl, it’s no time to stop now. Let the world be your stage.