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Utopian Filmmakers Unite: Kristina Goolsby Takes Tig on the Road with Film Forward
Utopian Filmmakers Unite: Kristina Goolsby Takes Tig on the Road with Film Forward
Utopian Filmmakers Unite: Kristina Goolsby Takes Tig on the Road with Film Forward

Utopian Filmmakers Unite: Kristina Goolsby Takes Tig on the Road with Film Forward

The documentary Tig came into being after two emails were sent. The first one was sent to my friend Tig, and that email was titled Crazy Thought. Being asked to be open to being the subject of a documentary, right after going through a series of devastating events that culminated in a cancer diagnosis, may not be appealing to everyone. Luckily, Tig Notaro is not everyone. I sent my second email to a very small, trusted and talented group of colleagues. That second email was titled Utopian Filmmakers Unite. I know, that sounds very melodramatic, but the sentiment was completely sincere. 

I was beyond inspired by Tig and how she was navigating her life in the midst of total loss and devastation. Here was a person on the precipice of great change, and the possibility of capturing her journey as she put her life together after an unfathomable series of events, in real time, was a chance to tell a powerful story that could illuminate the courage, compassion, and extraordinary strength of Tig. As docu-makers, this is the kind of story you get into the business to be able to tell. And so unite we did, and within days we were filming our documentary! It wasn’t without moments of incredible challenge, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. 

I have been honored to bring Tig on the road to Nebraska with Sundance Film Forward. I was beyond excited by the venues selected. We had the unique opportunity to share the film in a hospital, with students in a college queer film studies class, in a high school classroom and a comedy club. I was amazed and inspired by the present and future filmmakers, and film lovers I met.  At each screening people were so curious about the process of making the film, and excited at the opportunity to discuss the themes that were engaging to them. 

Working alongside the gracious team from Film Forward, Jacqueline Carlson and Meredith Lavitt was beyond a pleasure, and they helped facilitate amazing dialogue about filmmaking. I was also introduced to the incredible work being done by our partners on the ground, Film Streams Nebraska. Film Streams is a nonprofit cinema that works tirelessly to independent films to the citizens of Omaha. I also got to learn about a new program at Sundance called Ignite, and work with the amazing talent and an Ignite Fellow Courtney Jines. 

To top it all off, I had the honor of sharing this leg of the program with the stunning documentary film Speed Sisters by Amber Fares. I was so inspired personally and professionally during the trip. It was a valuable reminder of the power of story, and how it connects people, and how the transformative power of documentary can inspire and create change. 

I had one young man come up to me after a screening of Tig at a comedy club. He told me after the screening of the film, he felt empowered to explore his own brain cancer as material for his own act as a stand up comedian. Another young man sent me an email, and said he felt even more determination to follow his dream to be a voice for the queer community and to inspire others and educate about queer history and awareness. Making those connections and having the film make that kind of impact on people was as utopian as anything I could have ever imagined.
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