Joedance Film Festival Featured On Spectrum News 1
Watch our Founder Diane Restaino on Spectrum News 1.
Watch our Founder Diane Restaino on Spectrum News 1.
Years ago, in another life, my twin boys had to do a family history project. More than anything, they were surprised how many people came before them and shared the same last name. That they were small leaves sprouting from a branch from a tree. To be fair, they were quite young at this point; their understanding of death was nebulous at best.
It is strange to think about family in that sense. A teether stretching back through time. Lives known only through stories and items passed over from parent to child again and again. Back further still, until the beginning. Until that first group of mankind turned away from each other to spread across the earth.
I think of what Joedance has built over the years. Our sponsors and donors and attendees. I think of how we started, a group of neighbors and classmates. Friends near and far. I think of how through the years the support never wavered. Each and every one of you gave us your time and whatever else you could, especially recently when the world so often seems to be falling apart.
I think, is that not family? Is it not someone to stand with during the difficult times and to celebrate the victories? I think of the past years when we were not able to meet in person and know without a doubt that we are family because we survived it together. I think of this summer, the first summer in years where we can meet and celebrate together in person, and I am filled with light.
As I got older, I realized that some of the greatest pleasures in life are derived from odd pairings. Like oil and vinegar to dip crusty bread into. Or sweet and salt, like chocolate covered pretzels. Or a rock and roll cover of a country song.
Joedance didn’t start out with an odd pairing in mind. The idea was to take something our family loved to do together and use it in our son’s memory to help fund pediatric cancer research.
Movies and cancer were two things that had occupied the better part of Joe’s short life. Two things that have gone on to define the past years of my family’s life. Two things that, before Joedance, I thought the only common ground between them and Joe were movies about cancer.
But when one gets involved in groups as insular as a local film industry and medical research, one quickly realizes they are more together than they are apart. One must really look closely.
Through the years, Joedance stood as a bridge between these seemingly disparate communities of pediatric oncology research and independent film. And as time has moved ever forward, I realized what Joe found so enthralling about both art and science was a universal truth these things both shared. Those who work in these fields tear atoms apart, peer back at life and predict the end of days. With a handful of equations or color and sound, these pioneers seek to understand the world as it truly is and seek a world that can be.
Joedance has stood as a bridge between these two communities, bringing them together and showing everyone what can one day be possible
August was seven months ago, but some days I feel like it was only last week.
This year has slipped by me. The past two years have slipped by me. A constant response to events that never seemed to slow down. A constant action and reaction and re-reaction to information and news and opinions and what-to-do-when-and-how. Even remembering is giving me whiplash.
I think of everyone and realize how close you all really are. Right here, next to me the whole time. And I think how lucky Joedance is that all of you are a part of it.
Entering Joedance’s thirteenth year, the third year on from the start of the pandemic, we continue to look back to move forward. We continue to reach for all of you in order to become better. In a resurrection of our own, we are thrilled to be hosting the festival in person again. I look forward to seeing all of you in August, when we can meet and celebrate another year together.
I have come to realize, with the infinite wisdom that hindsight grants, that time is subjective. At least, the measurement of time is subjective.
As a child, with the structures of school and holidays, we demarcate the year with our free time: summer break, Christmas, Spring Break that is neither warm nor long enough.
It shifted, for me, with my job out of college. No more designated breaks, but instead looming deadlines and scrapped together holiday plans and Thursday night drinks, Friday night drinks, Saturday night drinks.
With the birth of my sons, time shrunk and stretched thin. It came suddenly fast: their first steps and first words and first day of school and firsts and firsts and firsts. I started a calendar of swim meets and violin practice and diving competitions.
Then, a phone call, and time shifted again. Weeks in a hospital, longer weeks at home recovering. I measured time in boxsets of DVDs. We watched The Last of the Mohicans for two weeks straight.
Then, even that fell away. For a while, a long and indeterminate while, there was nothing that I could measure time by but a fixed point. With Joe and then, all too soon, Without Joe. I measured time by absence.
Of all the things Joedance has accomplished, the one I honestly never expected was how it broke down time for me again. It divided the year in half: the festival in the summer, the donation of our fundraising to the hospital in the dead of winter. Then again, in monthly board meetings and small promotional events scattered during the year. Over ten years I have measured time this way, and I am still surprised how fast it goes. How energetic and nostalgic the breaking of time makes me feel. Small steps, a few events, the mad rush to the festival, and then suddenly Christmas is upon us.
You never notice time passing unless it is being wasted: running late for an appointment or stuck in traffic. Giving time freely, to break it up and offer it to another, is an incredible act. This year, I want to take my time to thank all of you for giving Joedance a bit of yours, whether it is by participating in our yearly events or by becoming a G.E.M (Give Every Month) or attending our annual film festival. Your time is precious to us, and we are appreciative of every moment you offer us.
I now mark this time of the year by being grateful for each and every one of our supporters.