Self-Exploration and Expression: Director Kristina Goolsby Reflects on the Role of Arts
Recently I had the great honor to be a part of Sundance Film Forward: London. When I got the call letting me know the film Tig was being invited to participate, I jumped up and down with excitement!
I am originally from a small town in Kentucky and grew up in a house on a dirt road. I could not have imagined a life where someday I would have the great opportunity to travel abroad with my first feature documentary.
Not only did I get to screen Tig and hold Q&As at a variety of venues, I also got to participate in feedback sessions with aspiring film makers whose ages ranged from 14-24. One group I met with were in a program geared towards helping students who were struggling for various reasons and difficult circumstances to stay in school. A big theme in Tig is how she used her art to overcome very difficult circumstances in her life. I saw this theme played out in the films of some of the students I (and the staff of Film Forward) met with. The films we saw conveyed profound and personal stories and we were brought into the hearts of these students as they expressed their unique experiences and perspectives through film. It was so rewarding to converse with them about their process, the meanings of their films, and have the opportunity to talk about how personal stories can touch and inspire audiences.
I also had the opportunity to meet teachers who were fighting hard to keep arts programs alive in their schools. In the UK, as in the US, funding is being cut in schools and the arts programs are the first to go. It is my belief that for some students, the arts programs are the only safe place in schools, as it is in the arts where students can experience an environment that encourages self-exploration and expression, as well as an opportunity to become exposed to the world around us. This can be a game changer, and an inspiration to stay in school.
I am also inspired by the Sundance Institute and the tireless work they do to bring independent cinema to a global community, and to inspire the next generation of filmmakers. I look forward to a future where more diversity and experiences are being brought to the screen, as more individuals become empowered to share their stories with the world.