Directors Spotlight presented by waitress

Esther Robinson, A Walk Into the Sea

All about my uncle: Danny Williams, the subject of A Walk Into the Sea

By Jennifer Merin

JM: A Walk Into the Sea documents the disappearance of your uncle, Danny Williams, who’d been working with Warhol’s Factory. It seems intensely personal. Why did you wish to explore this subject?

ER: I wanted to find a way to tell Danny’s story and to show what he accomplished in his short life. And to explore how private and public history are told in such unbelievably irresponsible ways by so many writers. I wanted to show that history is made up of people, of human experiences. The way most experts tell it, it’s missing the human element -- even with famous people, it’s incredible the way they’re described.

JM: Was making the film a personal healing for you and your family?

ER: Yes, but not in the traditional way you’d think. I realized that the movie comes to an end, but life continues. You have to make peace with the fact that you can’t fill in all the blanks. We still don’t know everything, and that’s not such an easy place to end the movie. But we have to go on. I’m proud of my family for overcoming their reluctance to examine their role in what happened. It’s also been healing for some of the people in the film -- people from the Factory.

JM: For whom specifically?

ER: For Brigid, for example, who told me she‘s glad most people don’t remember the stories about what happened. Many of the Factory members feel that way -- things that happened weren’t things you could share with your family, especially because they were told in an untruthful way, as part of a fixed agenda. The people who participated in my film are happy it’s truthful.

JM: How did you feel about the other recent Warhol film, Factory

ER: I haven’t seen it. I’ve heard, though, that it got everyone riled up. According to The Post, Chuck Wein is suing -- but I haven’t actually asked him about that, so I’m not sure. But from my point of view, the more films made about this, the better.

JM: Is it important to you that the film is being presented at Tribeca Film Festival?

ER: Yes, it’s really magic to be able to tell Danny’s story in New York City. He moved to New York to make art, and to make a name for himself making art. I’m incredibly gifted that I’m able to give him that with this film. People respond to his story and to his work. Showing at Tribeca is the realization of Danny’s goals. It was very important to him to make collective art works. That‘s why he wanted to make films. A Walk Into the Sea was made by my collective film family, and that’s another way I’m realizing his dream. It’s very moving to me.

Posted at April 26, 2007 8:59 PM

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