“The thing is I am not used to winning at all”

July 13, 2014

What if Maikaru ended up on top?

by director Amanda Harryman

What would it mean to win the Audience Award for the 2014 Doc Challenge?

Let’s start this by unpacking this statement made by Rachel Stevens, director of the POV award winning film 20/Nothing about my contacting her since she was smart enough to remember her business cards and graciously gave me one: “When she emailed me a couple weeks later, asking me what questions I had, I kind of went blank. How do you ask someone, “How do I be like you?”?” Did I somehow give off the aura that I do this all the time? That I am used to being in the winners circle? WOW- how did I pull that off? Rachel, dear Rachel, I am not that person! The thing is I am not used to winning at all. Least of all popularity contests! So what has it felt like to win awards with Maikaru? It feels like it has nothing to do with me. It is because of Maikaru (My-kah-rue) being brave enough to tell his story with tenacity and grace. It is because of Luke Ware (producer) who put this team together and championed this story, and I assume cautiously, allowed me to pretend I was at the helm. It is because of Ruth Gregory (producer, editor) who made SO MANY fabulous contributions in this process. It is because of Yvonne Hill (DP, graphics) who also asked multiple questions during the interview of which answers are my favorite parts of the film. It is because of George Watt (editor) who found so many beautiful moments (many of them outtakes) to place in the timeline just so. It is because of the beautiful score Scott Bowen made for the film. It is because of the rest of the team who were amazing to work with and couldn’t have been done without (James Ward, Aaron Thomle, Matt Leschuck, Joe Andolina, Kuper Slechta, Victor Labarthe, and Tim Boyle).

What has it felt like to be in first place some of the time in the Audience Award voting process?

It feels surreal! To have people vote for something I helped create? WOW. But what is more amazing? The comments. To see that my wildest dreams about this film have come true- people learned something about human trafficking. Even though this is one person’s story- it has opened eyes to what happens everyday in your city, your town, your state, your country. Because it does. It happens. And it makes me sick. And it brings me to tears every time I see that I have helped teach one more person that it is happening.  It brings me to tears when someone says we told Maikaru’s story with grace and authenticity and so many other beautiful words. However, to actually have this contest be over and this film to end up on top? An honor beyond what I could ever imagine. And I would share it not only with Maikaru and the team, but with all my friends and family who have tirelessly championed that people watch (and vote) for it. You complete me! I humbly ask for your vote again, on this last day of the Audience Awards. http://theaudienceawards.com/competition/view/2014-doc-challenge9 

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