As we gear up for the Oxford Film Festival 2011 to be held at the Malco Studio Theater on Feb. 10-13, 2011, we thought we might introduce you to some of the people behind the movies we can't wait to show you.
Meet Take 5 filmmaker, Rachel Julkowski, Director of "God's Square Mile," playing Friday, Feb. 11 at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 13 at 1:45 p.m.
Q. 1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone
should see it.
A: God’s Square Mile explores how the community of Ocean Grove, NJ works to preserve its Methodist heritage while embracing its LGBTQ members.
Q. 2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in
getting the film made?
A: I learned a great deal about myself in making God's Square Mile. When I first visited Ocean Grove, New Jersey over 10 years ago, I brought many assumptions. As a queer agnostic raised in the Jewish faith, I saw the large crosses on the beach and in the center of town as boundaries that shut me out. Meeting residents of Ocean Grove and delving into its rich history, it became clear that the crosses I once understood as divisive and unwelcoming were better understood as statements: deeply rooted convictions, but not boundaries. From this realization, God’s Square Mile emerged and in 2009, official production began. Through production, I've become deeply grateful for the choices that the Ocean Grove community has made in responding to conflict and disagreement with equally tempered conviction and compassion. I've learned that by putting assumptions and prejudices aside, one will find compelling stories and extraordinary individuals.
Q. 3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?
A: God's Square Mile is my directorial debut on the festival circuit though I work extensively as an independent filmmaker across mediums and genres. I had the privilege to work as Assistant Editor for the children’s program Sesame Street on Seasons 40 and 41. The 40th Season of Sesame Street was recognized with an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Camera Editing. Since 2008, I've traveled to sites in Europe and the U.S. as a Video Producer and Web 2.0 Specialist consulting for Bertelsmann Media Worldwide.
Q. 4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film?
A: It is my hope that God's Square Mile will be distributed to a large audience, specifically in an educational or community organization setting. With the tragic surge of recent suicides by young LGBTQ people, it is vital to take an active and open stand for civil rights with language and approaches that open our society to dialogue rather than violence. This is why I made God's Square Mile: to share a model of a community that is actively working to find value in diversity; to create a resource for communities, schools, and organizations to bridge gaps and reach out to those who feel marginalized; and to provide a tool for empowering and engaging individuals and communities.
Q. 5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?
A: I'm looking for a distributor for God's Square Mile and am hopeful to find the right fit for the film. In between freelance gigs, I am doing pre-production work on and about to begin raising funds for an experimental video project.